Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) does not need the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to arrest anybody.
He dismissed reports that there is a discord within the security agencies, saying the president gives the security agencies a free hand to work without interference.
In an interview made available to State House correspondents yesterday, Osinbajo said, “That’s not true. Let me put it this way; first let’s take the Magu example. One of the things that the President decided to do is to ensure that every agency does its work without direct interference from the President.
“So, the President does not call the EFCC, and say, ‘go and arrest Mr Ekpeyong’. No; and that’s one of the most important things about the style of this government, and we want the agencies to do their work. No one has showed up and called Magu and say, ‘look, go and arrest’. That’s what it is.
“While you will find, for example, that the DG SSS, upon the request by the Senate, wrote a security report and sent it, it is up to the president to decide whether he is going to present this candidate. Interfering with the process of a security report is not leadership. That’s obstructing.
“He is not supposed to interfere. If you say, ‘Send your report’, whatever report you want to send, the man defends himself, and we still believe he is the right person for the job. That is the position that we took when he was presented the second time”.
Noting that the Senate is entitled to reject the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman, Osinbajo stated that the president believes Magu is the right man for the job.
“The Senate has had their own say on that and they are entitled to take some of the positions they are taking, but the president believes that this is the right man for the job. So, he presented him the second time”, he stated.
On the arrest of the DG of NIA by the EFCC, Osinbajo maintained that the anti-graft agency has the right to arrest anybody.
He explained: “With respect to the arrest of DG NIA, and some of what took place, I think the fair thing to say is that the President has said that the EFCC has the absolute right to go ahead and do whatever it needs to do to ensure that anybody who has committed a crime, or who is suspected to having committed a crime, is brought to justice, and that’s the position that the EFCC has taken.
“You know the EFCC has issued a notice for the DG, NIA, and SGF to attend interview with the EFCC; but we are sure that that process would be followed to a logical conclusion to ensure that you allow government agencies do their business. That’s very important; that’s institution building.
“Look at what is happening in the US today; the President is sometimes angry with the FBI because the FBI is doing its independent work, and that’s what we hope to achieve”.