Guardian pulls down controversial story announcing Magu’s sack

EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

Days after Nigeria’s The Guardian newspaper broke a story announcing the sack of Ibrahim Magu as the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the newspaper has pulled down the story from its website.

Quoting an unnamed source on New Year’s eve, the newspaper had reported that Mr. Magu had been redeployed to the Nigerian Police Force to enable a fresh nominee to be forwarded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Senate.

It also reported that Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, had already issued a redeployment letter to Mr. Magu directing him to hand over to the Director of Operations in the Commission.

The report was to settle Mr. Magu’s fate after weeks of intense power play following the Senate’s rejection of his nomination as EFCC chairman. But the story was false.

The Presidency was the first to issue a disclaimer after it was contacted by PREMIUM TIMES.

“It is not true,” Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said on Saturday.

Mr. Adesina followed up his response with a tweet: “No truth in the story making the rounds that Magu has been removed as EFCC boss. The AGF is yet to submit his probe report to the President.”

Another Presidency spokesperson, Garba Shehu, dismissed The Guardian’s article as untrue.

“We are reading reports that the @officialEFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been sacked,” Mr. Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President,” also tweeted on Saturday.

“No report has been made available to the Presidency by the Attorney General of the Federation over the matter. The report of his sack is therefore speculative and preemptive.”

On its official Twitter handle @officialEFCC, the Commission tweeted “Guardian Newspaper Lied. Magu Not Sacked!”

The AGF’s office also described the story as untrue.

The newspaper came under intense criticism, with critics questioning its lack of professionalism, failing to contact either the EFCC or the AGF’s office before running a story sourced from an anonymous contact.

By Monday, PREMIUM TIMES noticed that the controversial story had been pulled from The Guardian newspaper’s official website.

When contacted on Tuesday, Abraham Ogbodo, Editor of The Guardian, said the newspaper had already explained on its hard copy editions of Sunday and Monday the reason for pulling down the story.

Mr. Ogbodo admitted it was an error on the part of the newspaper, and “recklessness” of its online arm.

“We did not explain online, we explained in our hard copy, yesterday and day before yesterday,” Mr. Ogbodo told PREMIUM TIMES.

“The explanation is very simple. No official confirmation and nothing and…. since they are making issues, the Presidency has denied. 

“The Presidency is in a place to say this man is no longer the acting chairman, so if they say it’s not true and the man is still in office, what are we supposed to do? To insist that it is true? We can’t do that. So we’ll wait. If it is false, we will know, if it is not false…one way or the other the man will be relieved of his duty.”

Appointed as EFCC’s acting chairman by the president on November 15, 2015, Mr. Magu’s nomination was rejected by the Senate on December 15 last year.

The Senate said it acted based on security reports forwarded to it by the State Security Service accusing Mr. Magu, among other allegations, of benefitting from the proceeds of fraud from an individual being prosecuted by the secret police.

A fact-check of the allegations by this newspaper showed the allegations were largely untrue.

The SSS had sent two separate security reports on the same day signed by its official, Folashade Bello, to the lawmakers.

While one commended him on his exceptional performance, the other said he would be a liability to Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts.


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  • sammyctu ode

    The guardian has transformed from a first class paper to a tenth rated paper which has lost its relevance. With jeun jeun people like abati the paper is dead and waiting to be buried forever.

  • serubawon70

    The source of the fake sack report may not be far away from the source of the fake security report

    • Baba B

      Very true

  • Bayo Ola

    The Guardian newspaper used to be one of the most professional and well sought after newspaper in Nigeria. I recall reading it every day when my Dad bought it, and as a student. Lately, all the major print newspapers in Nigeria, including the Guardian, have sunk to a new low in ways they violate ethical and professional conducts. I have strong feelings that Guardian newspaper editor/journalist that published the salacious news against Magu must have collected bribes from one of the corrupt individuals facing Magu’s scrutiny. Their collective efforts are to pull Magu’s down by all means possible. If Guardian newspaper is not guilty or in the knowhow of this plot, the first thing it ought to have done is to fire the editor that approved the story for publication as well as retract its story and apologise not only to Magu but to Nigerians. Since this seems to be intentional, it is unlikely the Guardian would apologise. The witch that is bewitching Nigerian elite is out of this universe. All you sore losers elite, clueless masses and other agents of corrupt individuals, I hope you know you are creating a future that will make Nigeria inhabitable for you, in particular when you are at your most vulnerable point in your miserable life: physically and in many other ways. As we the Yorubas will say “Epa npa ara e, oni owun pa aja”

  • Man_Enough

    Very disappointing. It used to be “the guardian” and others. The newspaper management should sanction the officer responsible for this tardiness.

  • thusspokez

    “We did not explain online, we explained in our hard copy, yesterday and day before yesterday,” Mr. Ogbodo told PREMIUM TIMES.

    Even though more people read the online version than the hard copy.

    “The Presidency is in a place to say this man is no longer the acting chairman, so if they say it’s not true and the man is still in office, what are we supposed to do? To insist that it is true? We can’t do that. So we’ll wait. If it is false, we will know, if it is not false…one way or the other the man will be relieved of his duty.”

    This Guardian spokesperson seems to be blaming Buhari for not firing Magu, to make their story true, after the paper had publish the lie.

  • Mufu Ola

    Since the exit about 15yrs ago of this Igbo guy who was d editor & later become the MD (can’t remember his name) Guardian has deteriorated badly. His days & those b4 him like Femi Kusa,Mitchel Obi etc were the glorious days when u can quote the paper anytime,anywhere. Now a days it has become one of those papers who just gossip & write stories, editorials without even visiting the site of their stories.

    • serubawon70

      I dont know if you are refering to Stanley Macebuh. You cannot compare such principled and upright professionals like him with what we have today

      • Mufu Ola

        No.He’s far below Macebuh

        • Baba B

          If you are referring to Andy Akporugo, then he is from Delta Urhobo to be exact and not Ibo

          • Mufu Ola

            Not Andy Akporugo.This man has a clear Igbo name.

    • Baba B

      Stanley Machebu