By Chika Otuchikere
A coalition of civil society groups has called on the leadership and members of the Justice Ayo Salami Panel to remain focused on their investigation of the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CIVAC) a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), released a statement signed for the coalition by Abdulrazaq Alkali of the Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN) and Princewill Okori of the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA)
The coalition accused the defendant’s team of the plotting to derail the direction of the investigation through smear campaign and media blackmail.
“The Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CIVAC) a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), wish to make ourselves clear that we are strongly in support of this investigation and we call on the Federal Government to provide the Justice Salami panel all the necessary support and resources needed to see this investigation to a logical conclusion.
“If the defendant’s team (Ibrahim Magu’s team) are not pleased with the procedure or do not believe in the legality of the investigation panel they are free to seek redress in a court of justice. We will like to call on Justice Salami and his panel members to stay focused and not be distracted by the noise of those who are vehemently opposed to the anti-corruption crusade,” the group stated.
The group continued: “The entire saga shows the true character of Justice Salami as an anti-corruption champion and somebody that will not be pushed around to the bidding of anybody or be blackmailed to get something out of him.
“Unfortunately, the defendant’s team are crying wolf and trying hard to derail the direction of this investigation, and have resorted to smear campaign and media blackmail using proxy groups against people involved in this investigation.
“These smear campaigns were first targeted towards the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, simply because he is exposing alleged corrupt practices and abuse of office by the suspended EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu, to the president and the investigation panel.
The coalition urged the panel to ensure that culprits are brought to book; “We are calling on Nigerians to disregard the baseless allegations and campaign of calumny against Justice Salami and other panel members working hard to investigate these corrupt acts and abuse of office and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice. We also call on the authorities to ensure the security of Justice Salami and other panel members”.