Africa Nigeria Politics Press Release 


Press Statement
By. Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., Convener,
Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and
Advocates, COPA.
Never in the history of the Economic &
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
have the anti-graft agency been led by a
recalcitrant head whose sworn mission,
it clearly seems, is to go beyond all
boundaries of professionalism and due
process in proving his misplaced loyalty
to his political godfathers or benefactors
by deploying tax-payers labour and state
manpower in prosecuting a war of
attrition against a political enemy whose
sole crime is being in the wrong books
of those in power owing to his biting
criticisms of the failures of government.
Senator Shehu Sani’s illegal detention
and media trial has once again
spotlighted the depth of unprofessionali
sm, rot and bureaucratic decay that has
become the lot of the EFCC and it is
truly alarming that a chairman whose
tenure remains unconfirmed and has
long elapsed is allowed to plunge the
agency into new and unbelievable lows.
The allegations against Senator Shehu
Sani seemed straightforward enough
until the desperation to hang the man by
all means took a turn into follyville. First,
he was accused of obtaining a bribe of
$10,000 to exert influence on the EFCC
Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to protect an
associate, Alhaji Sani Dauda, from
prosecution on a matter. When the
public pointed out how stupid and ill-
thought out such an accusation was
especially because Senator Shehu Sani
enjoys no cordial relationship with the
EFCC nor its Chairman to be in a
position to exert any form of influence
on him, the accuser, egged on by the
EFCC no doubt, changed his facts and
alleged anew that the bribe money was
$20,000 and it was collected by Senator
Senator Sani to prevail on the Chief
Justice, Ibrahim Tanko, to favor the
accuser in a matter before the court.
The CJN denied any such transaction,
and once again, the narrative was
switched as if being fetched from a
senile mind bent on achieving a set
For an anti-graft agency with sufficient
manpower and investigative tools, it
defies logic why the agency simply can’t
reduce its accusation against Senator
Shehu Sani into a coherent charge upon
which he ought to be arraigned for the
adjudicatory determination of his guilt or
innocence. Indeed, the only reason
Senator Sani remains detained without
being charged to court is because his
arrest and detention are not based on
ascertainable facts but on trumped up
charges that gives the EFCC an official
excuse to shop for offences against
Much against due process, Senator
Shehu Sani’s privacy has been severally
abused. His house has been ransacked
and his phone accessed as the
desperation for a crime to hang him is
driving the frenzy of the EFCC beyond
permissible practice in law and practice.
Of what relevance is searching his
home, offices and phone to the
allegations that he received bribe? The
bribe was allegedly conveyed via a bank
cheque and as such his bank account
ought to be under forensic examination
and not his private and family life. The
unauthorized ransacking of Senator
Sani’s phones- which went as far as
snooping around his WhatsApp group &
personal messages, the illegal raid of his
home and offices all point to a badly
playing out script to find ANY minute
reasons to prosecute the man as
hitherto accusations are falling flat from
want of evidence.
These searches and raids on his
personal life are violations of his
Fundamental rights as a citizen of
Nigeria and points to a personal
vendetta against the man that has no
bearing on any provable crime against
him. Senator Sani is a prisoner of
conscience and a pawn in the schemes
of an agency head abusing his powers
to curry political favour and relevance
that he is losing by the day.
The task before the EFCC is simple and
straightforward- did Senator Shehu Sani
receive a bribe? Is this provable? Does
the EFCC operate by placing the cart
before the horse? Why is the man being
detained over allegations that are shaky
and that keeps changing by the day?
What business has the allegations of
obtaining bribe by Senator Sani got to
do with the EFCC directives that he
declares his assets? Is he a public
officer mandated by law to do so? Did
he not declare his assets as a serving
senator and is this record not a public
document that can be easily accessed
by the EFCC where it finds it needful to
do so?
The whole word continues to look on
and laugh at us as we grapple as a
nation with the arduous task of
protecting state institutions from the
ineptitude of egoistic power-jobbers
whose constant preoccupation is the
lobbying of goodwill from the corridors
of power rather than the prosecution of
the demands of their office by law.
Ibrahim Magu has failed his primary
duties as the head of Nigeria’s foremost
anti-graft agency and any delay in his
removal would simply deepen the rot his
chairmanship is bringing upon the
It is clear that the embattled EFCC
Chairman whose gimmicks and
ineptitude has tired even his circle of
supporters is hoping to score a political
point to put him back in the graces of
his political benefactors by illegally
detaining and deploying state resources
to oppress a marked critic of
government. His antics are thinly veiled
and evil, and they bring nothing but
reproach and shame on the agency he
leads and the government that continues
to implicitly ratify his actions by keeping
him in office even well beyond the
expiration of his tenure.
Officers and Agency Heads like Ibrahim
Magu typify the sort of men who we
must be rid of as a nation before their
sycophancy strangles state institutions.
Before it is too late, even as the sun
continues to set on the professionalism
of the EFCC as a state agency under
Officer Ibrahim Magu, immediate action
must be taken against his continued
stay as head of the EFCC. Nothing short
of stripping him of the powers to deploy
the EFCC to his selfish enterprise of self-
preservation can create the opportunity
to set a new course for the EFCC.
On Senator Shehu Sani, I reiterate my
warnings that his trials are politically
motivated. He has been subjected to
ridicule and opprobrium for running the
gauntlet of acerbic criticism against a
government enamoured of power but
oblivious of how to use same to
improve the country and lives of those it
leads. Our demand is simple- let him be
taken to court without delay. His guilt or
innocence can only be established
thereof unless his continued detention is
simply a state-sponsored or backed
punitive action for his criticisms of the
government and its retrogressive state
We have struggled and come too far as
a nation to surrender the sanity of our
democratic institutions to the whims of
a frightened chairman who dreads the
days outside office when his
inadequacies are no longer covered by
state power. Enough is Enough. Senator
Shehu Sani should be let go or duly
prosecuted but equally urgent, Officer
Ibrahim Magu MUST GO. The
sanitization of state agencies is no
respecter of persons and the removal of
Officer Ibrahim Magu would go a long
way in shoring up the dwindling public
trust and goodwill available to the
President Buhari administration.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a Legal
Practitioner and Convener at Coalition of
Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates,



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