The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has sought active participation of Nigerians in the ongoing war against corruption, saying it is a collective responsibility.
He gave the charge in Lagos during an interactive session organised by Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa, PAACA, on August 20, 2019 with the theme: “Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption”.
Magu, who was represented by Ayo Oyewole, Head, Public Affairs, EFCC Lagos Zonal office, also decried the apathy towards the war against corruption and economic and financial crimes by some Nigerians.
According to him, “Everybody is important to our efforts to sanitize the country.
“What you are doing is to stimulate a conversation towards deepening the citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption.
“We can’t do it alone and we are not pretending that we can do it alone.
“That is the reason we have always collaborated with relevant organizations and critical stakeholders, including the Nigeria Orientation Agency, NOA, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, religious bodies, youth groups, Non-governmental Organisations, NGOs, among others, in the country.”
He further described as untrue the perception in some quarters that the Commission engages in selective investigation or witch-hunt, saying that such misconceptions had been peddled only by the corrupt members of the society.
He said: “Everybody who has been accused of one form of infraction or another cannot be said to have not committed any of act of corruption.
“Though it is not possible for us to see or know all issues of corruption all over the country, there has not been any case that was reported to us and we did not take up.
“Every petition received by the EFCC is given equal treatment.
“In other words, we treat each petition strictly on merit to forestall the possibility of anyone using the EFCC to settle a score.”
Explaining the modus operandi of the Commission, especially with regard to any petition received, he added that “We engage in preliminary investigation for due diligence to ascertain the merit of the facts as alleged in the petitions.
“Then, if we establish that the allegations are on merit, we will go after the accused.
“So, it is wrong to say or even think that the EFCC is selective of cases it handles. We work within the ambit of the Law.”
He also used the opportunity to encourage Nigerians to embrace the whistle-blower policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying anyone who comes forward with information for EFCC will be adequately protected.
He, however, warned Nigerians against giving the Commission false information.
He said: “But I urge you to be discreet with your information; do your due diligence; be sure that what you are bringing to us is nothing but the truth.
“When you come to any of our offices, don’t give such information to any officer, but ensure you meet with a very senior officer.
“More importantly, don’t be too careless about whom you share such information with; otherwise, the efforts will be counter-productive.”
Earlier in his address, Ezenwa Nwagu, Executive Director, PAACA, said there must be concerted efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption through the promotion of the culture of accountability.