The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has said that the media has a strategic role to play in the fight against corruption, saying the media can either make or mar.
He however described as very pathetic and shameful the role played by a section of the media as he said a section of the Fourth Estate of the Realm has allowed itself to be used as a tool by the corrupt public officers to fight back.
Magu who was represented by the Acting Spokesperson of the Commission, Tony Orilade, made this known on Thursday, December 13, 2018, while delivering a speech titled, “Anti-Corruption Strategy and Media Engagement: The EFCC Experience”, during a High Level Strategy Session on Role of Media In Anti-corruption Campaign, which took place at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja.
While expressing his displeasure over the development, Magu said that in spite of the cordial relationship, which the Commission has built over the years with the Media, a section has invested so much time in maligning the efforts of the EFCC, through write-ups, courtesy of the corrupt elements in the society.
“As an anti-graft agency, we have observed in recent times that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back, and often it does so through the media. In spite of the cordial relationship, which we have over the years strived to cultivate with the media, we have seen unfortunate instances, where a section of the media have decidedly chosen to be ready tools in the hands of the corrupt, manifested in malicious, opinion articles and paid advertorials designed to malign the good intentions of the EFCC”, he said.
While reiterating the Commission’s readiness in eradicating corruption, economic and financial crimes, the anti-graft czar called on bloggers and journalists to be united with the EFCC in the cause.
“It should be noted that Journalists and bloggers, are not only the writers of history, they are expected to be partners in progress with the EFCC. No one is an island of knowledge or sole repository of the know-how of fighting corruption. We must be united in this fight against corruption.
“I am, therefore, using this opportunity to implore you as media professionals, to support the anti-corruption drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, because like I have said in recent times, we do not have the monopoly of knowledge, skill and understanding. The EFCC as an anti-graft agency may be tasked with driving this necessary crusade, but we cannot do it all alone. As members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, and indeed, patriots, I call on you to join hands with us by partnering with the EFCC in its preventive measures to ensure that the war against corruption is won”, he added.
He thereafter gave assurance that vote-buying is a thing of the past and that the country will experience a free and fair election, as the EFCC has put in place the necessary machineries to that effect.
“As we approach the election season, it is necessary to once again stress that the EFCC will remain impartial and unbiased in the discharge of our duties. In view of this, let me restate our commitment that we shall play our role effectively to ensure a free and fair election. We have put in place necessary machineries to make sure that vote-buying becomes a thing of the past”, Magu said.
Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, while welcoming the network of journalist and donor agencies, spoke on the need for active participation of the media for increased public awareness.
The panellist anchored by Alabi Williams, had Lanre Arogundade who spoke on “Media and Anti-Corruption Reporting in Nigeria: Focus, Success, Challenges and Opportunities” and Emmanuel Akomaye, former Secretary, EFCC who spoke on “High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria: What Role for The Media?”
The programme also had in attendance Honourable Kayode Oladele, Chairman House Committee on Financial Crimes; Mr. Vaclav Prusa, Program Manager, Anti-corruption and Promotion of Transparency in Public Finance Management; Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC amongst others.