Allegations and counter-allegations in the media have become the daily experience of the suspended EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu and AGF Abubakar Malami, and the duo have no one else to thank for their ordeal except the Justice Ayo Salami panel.
The panel President Muhammadu Buhari set up to investigate the 22 allegations against Magu has been operating in secrecy, going as far as interrogating and detaining the suspect without formality.
And with the vacuum so created, the media, especially social media, has gone to work, filling in the blanks with what they called facts, insider scoops, rumors, and speculations.
Magu, getting the short end of the stick, has been screaming through his lawyers, clarifying the stories in the media—the only source he has been receiving the allegations the presidential panel is probing him for.
“Our client undertakes to cooperate fully with the Salami panel by making available to the panel formal response to the allegations against him in the social media platforms and newspapers since,’ his lawyer Shittu said on the weekend, adding he is yet to be formally served with copies of the allegations against him by the panel.
He’s not spitting fire against the media.
But such zeal to defend is wanting in the reaction of Malami, the chief petitioner and antagonist in the Buhari epic war on corruption which the main opposition PDP describes as a farce.
If anything, the AGF is taking things personally.
According to him, it’s been a gut-wrenching experience watching the media feast of counter-allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and wealth many believe he cannot account for —or which he is been pressured to account for.
“The publications have subjected him considerable distress, psychological trauma, anxiety and greatly injured his character and reputation,” his media office said during the week.
He considers his own share of the media angst, largely stimulated by the blind investigation of Magu, “a seeming coordinated internet/social media attack on him on [since] July 10, 11 and 12, 2020.
Sahara Reporters, among other media platforms, has been dishing out stories and pictures of landed properties in Kano, Kebbi, Abuja it claims belong to the AGF and his family—just within five years of becoming justice minister.
He was equally alleged to have released illegal oil bunkering vessels the EFCC impounded while the case was still in court.
But Malami insisted that the articles were defamatory, with intention to ridicule him before the world.
“He still receives several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, his
friends and associates from all over the world,” his lawyer Ibrahim Ameh wrote in a petition to IGP Ibrahim Adamu.
He urged the IGP to probe the defamatory and libelous publications.
But critics of the administration will want him to respond to the allegation. They even want Buhari to probe him too, rather than concentrate on Magu and the EFCC alone.
No fewer than 12 directors of the agency have been forced into suspension. They too had no idea why. But Malami, as directed by Buhari, announced the suspension as part of the on-going effort to purge the agency.