Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said the Commission will soon beam its searchlight on lawyers, in its effort to rid the country of corruption.
Though he called on legal practitioners to join hands with the Commission in the bid to free Nigeria of corruption, he said EFCC will soon go after lawyers irrespective of their status.
“Whether you are SAN or whatever, sooner or later, we will start going after people who buy properties with stolen funds as well as people who help others to escape justice”, Magu declared.
He spoke Tuesday at a one-day workshop themed “Anti-Corruption, Ethics of the Legal Profession and Justice Sector”, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACC) at the Rockview Hotel, Abuja.
According to him, the EFCC cannot stamp out corruption in the country without the support of all stakeholders.
“We consider everybody a stakeholder, as the EFCC does not have monopoly of knowledge to defeat all shades of graft”, he said.
Hde urged legal practitioners to always play by the rule and avoid being used by those he described as “corrupt elements” to pervert justice adding that, “what is important is the interest of the nation which should be placed above any other interest”.
Magu, who commended however the bar for being good partners in the fight against graft, also decried the attitudes of some lawyers who compromise on their jobs for suspects to escape justice.
He said lawyers have a greater stake in the war than any other class of professionals.
Reiterating his commitment towards fighting money laundering, the EFCC boss warned that, “we will not stop going after people who are involved in laundering money. It doesn’t matter who you are, the law is a respecter of nobody especially those who commit crime”.
In his address at the event, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, urged members of the bar to examine themselves with a view to develop workable ways to curb corruption.
Justice Mohammed who spoke through Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun charged lawyers to look inward as individuals in the system, and collectively as a body to improve the legal system.
“You have a role to play as an individual and it is when we all change our attitude that we can see it reflected in the society. No doubt, the legal profession is crucial in the maintenance of a high quality of justice delivery within the justice system and such success or failure of our fight against corruption will depend on our willingness to take the right ethical path”, the CJN charged.