The National House of Assembly, disclosed the house displeasure over the retention of continuous acting chairman capacity elongation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) despite the house rejection of Mr. Magu twice as the substantial chairman of EFCC twice.
At the House Assembly plenary session on Tuesday 29 March 2017, voiced out against the consideration of a letter from the Executive arm of government from the Presidency requesting legislative approval for the nomination of 27 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Some of the senator argued that the confirmation of the RECs process be stepped outside pending the total removal of Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The house assembly argued that the house decision over Mr. Ibrahim Magu be effected by the Executive otherwise the National House of Assembly will not confirm any appointees from the Executive through the presidency.
Senator Peter Nwabaoshi said that “Here are we again today, now being given a list to confirm and we ‘merely confirm.’ Look at the list here, we have eight of them here out of 27 for reappointment, which means they are acting already; they are already working and they are still in position.
Senator Matthew Uroghide also said apart from being a constitutional requirement that the National House of Assembly had to confirm nominations by the executive arm of government from the presidency, the act establishing agencies of government also specified the role of the National House of Assembly in the appointment of their heads.
Senator Matthew further urges the follow senators that, “But, it must be that the Senate too must be properly informed on what has happened after a confirmation process, either the one that has been upheld or the one that has been turned down by the Senate. We deserve the right to know.
“We cannot keep confirming names or turning down names of nominees of Mr. President, particularly the one that happened recently, we don’t know what has happened. These persons cannot keep acting even when we have turned them down because, as it is now, they are acting and their names have been sent in for confirmation and we don’t know what has happened in the case of the EFCC.”
One of the Senator opposite the argument raised by the Senator Mattthew was Senator Adamu Aliero opposed Matthew Uroghide on the grounds that there was an impression that INEC was not prepared for the 2019 polls.
He said That “The election is very crucial to us, and part of the preparations for the conduct of the 2019 elections is the submission of RECs to the Senate for screening and approval,”
The house of assembly senator frankly expresses their diverse view about the scenarios, also Senator Francis Alimikhena opposed Senator Adamu Aliero further reiterated that “It is better to do something and do it well.”
That “The EFCC chairman that we disqualified in this hall, is he acting? Magu is terrorising us because we disqualified him, and we cannot hide it.
“We disqualified Magu and he is terrorising our people because we disqualified him. And he is still acting and they (Presidency) are still bringing in nominations for us to confirm. If they know they can do it alone, let them do it.”
In his submission, the Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Bala Na’Allah, described the debate as “a defining moment in our journey to nationhood.”
The President of the National House of Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, presided over the plenary session, in his calmness without favouritism suggested that the request for confirmation be suspended for one week but the other senators, opposed such order of the house and chorused their disagreement with the order of suspension of the RECs confirmation.
Also the Deputy President of the National House of Assembly, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, submitted and urged the house members to suspend the consideration of the request by two weeks, which he said was enough to precise message to the executive arm of government, the Presidency.
That “The Senate, in a closed session on the various attacks on the National Assembly, especially on the Senate, for performing its constitutional duties, resolved to defend the integrity of the Senate against such attacks and will not be intimidated from carrying out our constitutional duties at all times.”
The Executive arm of government frowned against the pendency of the confirmation of the RECs nominees sent to the House of Assembly due to Mr. Ibrahim Magu’s case.
While addressing the public, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said that the National House of Assembly’s action, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu in two weeks, as childish and irresponsible.
Prof. Sagay said that the Hon. Members of the National House of Assembly was filled and occupied with people of questionable character, who put their personal interest ahead of that of the nation interest.
Prof. Sagay said, “That action is childish and irresponsible. Do they think Buhari is a man that can easily be threatened? My God! How can people of such character occupy the highest legislative office in the country? Nigeria is finished.
“It is a great mistake and they will regret it.”
“Prof. Itse Sagay will cite, again, Section 171 of the Constitution. You can imagine the kind of advice that this kind of persons are giving to Mr. President. They are telling Mr. President to disregard and disrespect the institution of the legislature.
“Let us not set such precedent. This country does not belong to them; this country belongs to the Nigerian people. The Nigerian people have elected us; they have given the power to look into those names sent to us for confirmation; to look into their credentials.”
Sagay added, “Where the Senate is required to approve a person for a particular position and they refuse to do it, the person could continue to act depending on the nature of the appointment.
“However, if the nominee is coming from another sector, just like in the case of the RECs, it means they cannot act. However, people below that rank in INEC can continue to act as RECs all over the country as it has been done.”
He added, “What this action means is that the Senate is being occupied by the most unserious set of Nigerians in history. Nigeria is currently at its lowest level because we have people who have no sense of responsibility, who have no feeling and are there for just vanity and are ready to bring down the country in order to feel important, it is the worst case of abuse ever.
“Let them do what they want, they will regret it.”
Senate’s action childish and irresponsible
The National House of Assembly had, on March 15, 2017, rejected Magu’s nomination based on a report on him by the Director of State Security (DSS).