Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has refuted claims that the anti-graft agency was clamping down on artists.
“The EFCC does not go after any innocent person,” EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu said during an interactive session with artists, comedians and On-Air-Personalities (OAP) at the EFCC Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja.
“Our mandate is to rid Nigeria of any form of economic and financial crimes, and internet fraud is not excluded”
Making reference to the recent prosecution of popular musician, Afeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, for charges bordering on internet fraud, Magu, in an EFCC statement noted that the EFCC was not “chasing” musicians.
The anti-agency boss said the arrest of Naira Marley followed a proper procedure.
“There is always intelligence report that our officers get and investigate before effecting a warrant of arrest, and we don’t arrest innocent people,” he said.
Naira Marley was arrested on Friday, May 10 due to his recent statements advocating activities of internet fraudsters, popularly called Yahoo boys.
In an Instagram live session, Naira Marley urged Nigerians to pray for Yahoo boys saying internet fraudsters are the reason money circulates to the common man.
“All you guys, all the money in your pockets, all the money you spend, you think it’s the government that is making the money go round?” Marley said.
Asides Marley, EFCC also arrested another music star Zlatan Ibile with real name Temidayo Raphael in connection with internet fraud.
The duo was arrested on Friday alongside Tiamiu Abdulrahman Kayode, Adewunmi Adeyanju Moses and Abubakar Musa in connection with an alleged case of internet fraud and money laundering.
However, Magu, who lamented at increasing cases of internet fraud, said EFCC earlier in 2019 constituted a task team to drastically reduce the activities of internet fraudsters.
He charged Nigerian artistes and comedians to join the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly internet fraud, and to lend their voices to the ongoing anti-corruption fight.
“You have a very wide reach, so lend us your voices, please let your works propagate and promote integrity and the right values,” Magu said.
“I have always stressed that we cannot claim to have the monopoly of knowledge of how to fight corruption at the EFCC.”