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On 8th July, 2020, a news website posted a report headlined “HOW MAGU EMBEZZLED N39BILLION, GAVE OSINBAJO N4BILLION, BEGS FOR SOFT LANDING”, where it alleged that suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu embezzled N39 billion and gave N4 billion to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“Embattled former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, allegedly embezzled over N39billion and gave Vice President Yemi Osinabjo N4billion, after the VP gave instructions to him to release some of the recovered loots, Sources within the panel investigating the former EFCC boss told Pointblanknews.com”
The report has caused stir on social media platforms with many users questioning the integrity of Osinbajo. The report has generated thhousands of likes and retweets on twitter. A twitter user with the handle @von_Bismack alluding to the report on pointblanknews said Osinbajo got N4 billion from recovered loot “relooted” by Magu. He went ahead to call the the vice president a “guyman pastor”. As at 1:22 pm, the tweet has attracted one thousand likes and 490 retweets.
Another handle, PDP 2023 tweeted thus “Ibrahim Magu confessed that out of the N39Billion he stole, he gave N4Billion to Yemi Osinbajo the very day President Buhari travelled to the UK for his last medial trip. FAKE PASTOR”. The user did not attribute his claim to a source. The tweed got 318 likes and 142 retweets.
We cannot say the report is entirely false and fabricated, but we can assert that the headline of the story was sensationalised to swing undue attention to the Vice President. The body of the story does not explain “HOW Magu ezbezzled N39 billion” as hinted in the headline.
The report calimed that the VP “gave instructions” to Magu to give him some of the recorverd funds, however, the Vice President does not have the power to give such “instruction” to the EFCC boss, unless he is acting in the position of the President.
The sensationalized report has since been interpreted on social media that Osinbajo is an accomplice to the suspended helmsman of the anti-graft agency. This allegation is not only baseless but also defamatory.
According to credible news platforms, including PUNCH and Premium Times, the Presidency has yet to issue a formal statement on Magu’s probe. Also, the presidential panel investigating Magu has not concluded its investigations, so it has not even been established that Magu embezzled N39 billion of recorvered funds.
Oluwatobi Odeyinka is an award winning writer and journalist, with interests in community development, politics, Human Right violations and social inequalities. As a journalist, he specializes in feature writing, investigative reporting, and fact-based general news reports.
Oluwatobi reports for Platform Times and also writes as a freelancer for Nigerian Tribune and The Nation newspaper.