Panic reigns at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headquarters as staff have become agitated since the acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) without subjecting himself to a two-week self-isolation.
Magu, HumAngle gathered, travelled to Dubai shortly after attending the wedding of the Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu’s son, which took place on Saturday, March 14.
At the wedding, he had contact with Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, who tested positive for the virus on Monday. This was Magu’s first exposure to the virus, putting everyone who came in contact with him at risk. The exposure was reinforced on his Dubai trip.
Although it is unclear what Magu’s recent trip to Dubai was for, in 2019, the EFCC boss was there to gather intelligence and trace stolen assets.
While the UAE is not among the 13 countries placed on a travel ban by the Federal Government on March 18, it has recorded up to 248 cases and two deaths as a result of the coronavirus.
Employees of EFCC told HumAngle that Magu returned to Nigeria over the weekend and was at the office on Monday, March 23.
“All EFCC workers were grumbling. Those who were supposed to treat files at his office deliberately avoided the place. Only some sycophants went to welcome and congratulate him,” one source said.
It was further alleged that though he was not at the office on Tuesday, he has been to various places within the Federal Capital Territory. However, his aides and driver, who had contact with him, have returned to the office thereby exposing other staff to the virus.
Personal staff of coronavirus carriers have been known to spread the exposure if safety measures, like isolation, are not adhered to. HumAngle reports that at least three persons working in the office of Kyari, Nigeria’s Chief of Staff, have tested positive to Coronavirus. This news and the return of Magu’s aides to the office, has increased panic at the Commission.
Magu’s actions violate recommendations from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which has repeatedly instructed “all returning travellers to Nigeria” as well as anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days.
In other words, they should stay “at home or [any other] identified accommodation, away from situations where you mix with family members or the general public”.
HumAngle reports that it is not only the acting EFCC chairman who has disregarded the government’s directive and the safety of the public.
Kyari, who is currently being treated for the virus, was in Munich, Germany on March 7 to meet with officials of Siemens and returned exactly seven days later. He also did not immediately isolate himself and attended various public functions after arriving in Nigeria.
The Minister of power, Sale Mamman, who was with Kyari in Munich, likewise did not stay indoors for the required two weeks. On Tuesday, he disclosed that U.S. ambassador Mary Beth Leonard was at his office “to discuss areas of mutual collaboration between the Nigerian government and the United States Government in the Nigerian Power Sector”.
Other prominent individuals who reportedly travelled abroad recently but have refused to seclude themselves include Bassey Albert, Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream Resources, and Dolapo Badmus, Zone 2 Police Public relations Officer, who both returned from the United Kingdom.
On Monday, the presidency observed that some federal lawmakers who recently returned from foreign trips refused to be screened at the airports and directed them to report at the nearest NCDC test centres to confirm if they are infected.
Many of the lawmakers kept attending plenary sessions at the National Assembly, which only adjourned activities on Tuesday, thereby putting their aides and close contacts at risk of getting infected.
Nigeria has confirmed up to 46 cases of coronavirus infection, with the victims including Mohammed Atiku, son of Atiku Abubakar; Bauchi state governor Bala Mohammed; Kyari; and Sulaiman Achimugu, former Managing Director of Petroleum Products Marketing Company who passed away on Sunday.