The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has expressed concerns over the arrest of acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
SERAP said that Magu might have been arrested due to a “power-play at the highest levels of government”.
The EFCC boss is still being detained in police custody on the orders of a presidential panel probing alleged infractions against him.
On Tuesday, SERAP’s Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “The reported statement by a member of PACAC seems to suggest that Magu’s arrest may be politically motivated and aims to undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC”.
The body check said if true, it would make a mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari’s often-repeated commitment to fight grand corruption and the impunity of perpetrators.
SERAP urged the authorities to afford Magu his constitutionally and internationally guaranteed fair trial rights.
It stated that Magu must either be charged with a recognizable criminal offence or released immediately and allowed to do his job without fear of reprisals.
The body said Nigerian authorities cannot continue to keep Magu in detention under suspicious circumstances without bringing any legitimate charges against him in violation of national and international law.
It added that they must support the independence and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies and institutions if they are to be able to genuinely fight grand corruption.
“Nigerian authorities should focus on addressing the impact of corruption such as political violence, and denial of access for millions of Nigerians to even the most basic health and education services, as well as other patterns of human rights violations.”
SERAP insisted that improving the independence of anti-corruption agencies and institutions is the most promising way to make tangible progress in the fight against corruption now and in the near future.
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