SERAP Drags Senate To UN Over Magu’s Rejection

The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability (SERAP), has dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

SERAP is petitioning the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

A statement signed by the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said:

“The Senate of Nigeria has flagrantly violated Ibrahim Magu’s right to a fair hearing, and is implicitly working to weaken, intimidate, harass and ultimately undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC in its efforts to combat high-profile official corruption”.

The Senate, explaining the reason behind the decision, said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu was not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), also said the non-confirmation, based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) was appalling and ridiculous.

SERAP on the other hand says it has reviewed the security report, which primarily alleged that sensitive and unauthorised EFCC official documents were found in Mr Magu’s home.

“SERAP is aware that this allegation was part of the conspiracy to harass Mr Magu and frustrate his anti-corruption work, as he was unjustly detained for three weeks.

“Following investigation by the police authorities in 2008, Mr Magu was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, and in fact promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“The report also incorrectly stated Mr Magu currently occupies a residence rented for 40 million Naira at 20 million per annum and paid for by allegedly corrupt person. But SERAP’s finding shows that the property was in fact paid for by the Federal Capital Development Administration.

“SERAP thus believes that the purported rejection by the Senate of Nigeria of Magu’s appointment as the chairman of EFCC is politically motivated and in bad faith and part of a persistent move by the National Assembly of Nigeria including the Senate and the House of Representatives and other agencies of government apparently working with them to undermine the ongoing fight against corruption which Mr Magu is leading, and invariably, the independence and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies including the EFCC.

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“SERAP considers Mr Magu to be a human rights defender within the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1998 (UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders).”

“SERAP therefore urges you to urgently assert your mandates to put pressure on the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government apparently working with them to end continuing harassment and intimidation of Mr Magu by immediately withdrawing any politically motivated allegations against him.

“We also urge you to send a strong message to the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government that the campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights and anti-corruption campaigners is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” the statement read.

 

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