The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has warned the public against the fraudulent activities of name-droppers and influence peddlers in the country, saying as far as the anti-graft war was concerned, he has no friends.
This was as the EFCC disclosed that three suspects had been arrested “for falsely parading themselves as staff of the commission and dropping staff names (including Magu’s) for illicit material gains from unsuspecting members of the public”.
Magu handed down the warning yesterday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, during a meeting with officers and men of the anti-graft agency.
The Acting Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, who made the disclosure in a statement, quoted the commission’s chairman as insisting that he was nobody’s friend.
“There are people who have been going about, telling people that they are my friends and officials of the commission, they go about collecting money from suspects, with a promise to influence their cases here, let me make this very clear, I am nobody’s friend.
“When it comes to the job, which is the fight against corruption, I am no one’s friend. We are working hard to make sure such people are arrested, properly prosecuted and punished accordingly,” Magu was quoted as saying.
He expressed worries over the rising cases of name-dropping as well as impersonation of officials of the commission.
Already, three persons – Samson Sani, Chinaza Ike and one Kenneth Osita – are in the custody of the commission over their alleged involvement in name dropping “for illicit material gains from unsuspecting members of the public”.
While explaining their alleged involvement in the offences, Orilade said: “Sani, 38, a member of Chartered Institute of Forensic and Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN), paraded himself as a Course 8 official of the EFCC and as well as the Head of Forensic Unit of the Commission, a pretence he used to approach members of the public who have issues in the commission with promise of assisting them get out of trouble and obtain money from them in the process.
“Luck ran out on Sani when, sometime in 2019, he collected N5 million from one Henry Agbo with a promise to influence the outcome of a criminal matter that concerned him in the commission and to secure the release of a suspect of interest to him in the custody of the Lagos office of the EFCC.
“According to the complainant, Sani collected the money and neither delivered on his promise nor refunded the money he paid him, prompting him to report the matter to the EFCC, after a long and fruitless wait.
“Upon arrest, Sani was caught with a forged identity card that bore features associated with the EFCC, with which he deceives people into believing that he was a bona-fide EFCC detective,” Orilade said.
He stated that 44-year-old Ike, who is into real estate business and Osita, were apprehended by the commission for name dropping.
The commission vowed to charge the suspects to court, as soon as investigations were concluded.