President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and other anti-graft agencies to probe any of his children or members of his family implicated in corrupt practices.
The president vowed not to forgive the anti-graft agencies if they fail to probe any allegation of corruption against his children and family members.
President Buhari’s tough anti-corruption mindset and plans were contained in a book, “Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria”, which is authored by Prof. John Paden.
The book also reveals how Buhari inspired the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu as a school boy to develop anti-graft traits.
It adds: “Buhari’s attitude is to let the chips fall where they may in particular cases, although reform of the judiciary is one of his larger goals.
“Buhari has often said that if any of his own children were accused of corruption, and the authorities did not investigate, he would never forgive the authorities”.
It was also learnt that the president has shrugged off pressure to save his allies in the All Progressives Congress (APC) from being arrested or prosecuted by anti-graft agencies.
“On numerous occasions, Buhari has urged public officials to do their duty without fear or favour. He has also tried to inspire younger generations to regard public service as an honest calling.
“For example, the current acting head of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu was a schoolboy in Borno when Buhari was military governor in 1975. Buhari gave a talk to a group of boys that included Magu and urged them to do their best.
“Magu was inspired and became a professional policeman.
“In 2015, Buhari asked Magu to head the EFCC, a dangerous job if done well. By mid-May 2016, Magu had secured 143 convictions of corrupt officials”.
It also unfolded Buhari’s vision for a set of specialized anti-corruption tribunals to fast-track the war against corruption.
The book adds: “The EFCC has been functioning since the administration of President Obasanjo, when it was under the direction of Nuhu Ribadu, a policeman and lawyer who initially was effective before political pressures began to intrude.
“Under President Jonathan, the EFCC was directed by Ibrahim Lamorde and seemed, from the outside, to be functioning well. Inside, however, rumours of corruption among EFCC officials abounded.
“Under President Buhari, the acting chair of EFCC has been Ibrahim Magu, who seems to have taken his lead from Buhari’s determined fight against corruption.
“The widespread investigations conducted by the EFCC and the number of referrals to prosecutors have been unprecedented in EFCC’s history.
“In addition, Buhari discussed his anti-corruption efforts with the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Mohammed Mahmud, who agreed to establish a set of specialised anti-corruption tribunals.
“These tribunals would cover both military and civilian cases. Creating such tribunals, however, requires special authorization from the National Assembly, which has been slow in coming.
“Although a number of senior officials have been tried for corruption prior to the Buhari presidency, the extent of current corruption court cases in Nigeria is unprecedented.
“That does not mean that every case will lead to a guilty verdict.
“All of the accused are entitled to their day in court, and are likely to have high-quality legal representation; and there will surely be appeals and possible plea bargains.
“Cases may drag on for years. But the fact remains: the law is takings its course.
“Importantly, in none of these cases (apart from certain military procurement scandals that impacted National Assembly) has the prosecution been sponsored or encouraged by President Buhari.
“He has kept his hands off the judiciary, despite enormous pressure for him to come to the aid of APC allies.
“The question will arise when criminal cases are concluded as to whether the Nigerian judiciary is up to the task of being even-handed in such high-level cases”.