19 March 2017
Based on extant Senate rules, the upper legislative chamber will not reconsider Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should he be re-nominated.
Citing Senate Rules, Order 131, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) said President Muhammadu Buhari could not validly re-nominate Magu for the job again as the provision would not allow members consider his nomination, having been rejected at a senate session.
Order 131 of the Senate Rules states that, ”nominations neither confirmed nor rejected during the session or within 21 working days in the case of ministerial nominees shall be returned by the Clerk to the National Assembly to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and shall not again be made to the Senate by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Magu was rejected by the Senate after he was screened on Wednesday – exactly three months after the parliament first rejected him at its December 15, 2016 closed-door session, citing damning corruption allegations against him by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Buhari had on January 24, 2017, represented Magu for confirmation, noting he had been cleared of the allegations of corruption leveled against him.
Magu was however considered for screening the second time because he had not been rejected at an open session. His rejection of December 15, 2016 was done at an executive session, a move which generated criticisms and apparently prompted Senate’s decision to accept his nomination the second time.
Following divergent views on the rejection of Magu by the Senate and strident calls in some quarters on the President to re-nominate him or continue to keep him in acting capacity, Melaye, in a statement issued Saturday, urged the President to consider nominating a fresh candidate with the qualifications, experience, integrity, knowledge and temperament to head the EFCC.
“Those suggesting to the President that after failing to scale the confirmation process twice, the President should leave Magu to be acting, are only recommending violation of the law, disrespect for due process and perpetration of illegality. All these will only undermine democracy and constitutionalism in our country,” he said.
“Those drafters of the law who made the provision that the Senate should confirm the nomination of the EFCC chairman did not make any mistake and nobody should observe the law in the breach by getting a person into that office who has not been confirmed. Magu is not greater than the law creating EFCC.
“Magu is not the last messiah. He can’t be the only competent person for the job out of 170 million Nigerians. Should he voluntarily decline the appointment today, will EFCC fold up?”, Melaye queried.