Ibrahim Magu released after nine days in detention

The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ibrahim Magu has been released after nine days in detention.

Magu was released on Wednesday evening, nine days after he was arrested on July 6.

In a letter dated July 14, the Nigerian Police said they were not detaining Magu, adding that he was being detained by the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel investigating the activities of EFCC under Magu’s stewardship.

Nigerian Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu made the startling clarification in a letter to Magu’s lawyer.

Magu was suspended by the presidency on July 7, a day after he was arrested, interrogated and detained by the police in Abuja.

Mr. Magu was arrested by security agents and taken to the presidential palace and made to face a presidential panel probing allegations of financial fraud against him.

Local newspapers said allegations of insubordination and embezzlement of recovered funds were levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, but the government has not officially commented on his arrest, interrogation and detention.

Earlier reports had suggested that Mr. Magu was arrested by the Department of State Services, but the DSS in a statement denied arresting him, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Magu was only invited for questioning.

But a night in police detention, after hours of questioning in the presence of an EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo do not seem to portrait a simple invitation for questioning narrative, especially because Magu was sent to Area 10 Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police where he spent the night.

Magu was appointed to lead the fight against corruption in Nigeria in 2015 by President Muhammad Buhari after he defeated Goodluck Jonathan vowing to “kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria.”

But Magu was rejected by the Senate twice after a report by the DSS concluded that he lacked integrity and was linked with corrupt individuals or the proceeds of corruption. Twice also, President Buhari stood by him and retained him despite those allegations.

It was, therefore, not clear why the presidency has decided to move against Magu now when allegations of corruption against him have persisted for years, or even why the government has decided to play his arrest, interrogation and detention in the public domain before removing him.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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