Presidency lobbies Senate for Magu’s confirmation

…alleges extortion of agencies, boards by lawmakers

Buhari orders security agencies to crush bandits

There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari will re-nominate Ibrahim Magu to be confirmed as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was even as the Presidency accused the members of the National Assembly of making monetary demands from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government in the course of carrying out their oversight functions.

The Presidency, therefore, called on the leadership of the Senate to call to order, some of its standing committees allegedly involved in these indecorous extortions.

President Buhari had, during the 8th Senate, nominated Magu at two different times between 2016 and 2017 for confirmation in that capacity, but rejected by the Senate on account of unfavourable security report.

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), made the request for Magu’s confirmation if re-nominated during a courtesy visit on the Senate leadership.

Sagay said that the country needed Magu in substantive capacity as EFCC chairman in the ongoing war against corruption.

According to him, Magu has performed creditably well as acting chairman of the anti-graft agency based on records on ground within the last four years and should be considered for substantive capacity.

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He said: “In sustaining the ongoing war against corruption in the country, we wish to appeal to the Senate to consider the speedy confirmation of the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, who has done magnificent work so far in the years of being in that position and who will be a good companion to the legislature in achieving the aims of anti-corruption in this country.”

He also called for the passage of certain anti-corruption bills like the Special Criminal Court, and other similar bills, which would help the anti-corruption war and ensure that the fight was successfully done with speed and energy.

The PACAC Chairman, however, shocked the lawmakers during the visit when he confronted them that some standing committees of the Senate were extorting government agencies under the guise of oversight functions.

“We also want to bring before the Senate, some of the criticisms of the public in the area of oversight. There is this constant complain that members of committees demand some form of gratifications before they would visit a place or write anything favourable about the MDAs.

“We appeal to the leadership to look into it and ensure that the oversight work of the Senate does not involve anything that will be described as extortion,” he said.

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He also cautioned the Senate leadership, and by extension, the National Assembly, to look into the issue of constituency projects in saving their image.

His words: “This issue of constituency projects has been a controversial one. I don’t want to express any opinion. All I want to plead is that you look into it and ensure that it is something of benefit to the constituents and constituencies of this country and not a subject of controversy anymore.”

In his response, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said that as far as confirmation of Magu was concerned, a re-nomination would have to be done by the Presidency in line with the rules of the National Assembly.

According to him, the same rules and procedures also apply to anti-corruption bills being requested to be considered and passed as they will have to be re- presented for that purpose.

“You have talked about passage of anti-corruption bills, you have come to the right place, but you will also do your work.

“This is a new Senate. Going by our rules and I believe that goes for the House of Representatives too, any issue that was not concluded in the last National Assembly, will have to start all over again.

“So, as far as we are concerned, those bills will have to come again and start to go through the process from the very beginning. We are ready, in fact, we are in a haste if those bills are ready for us to start working on them.

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“On the confirmation of acting chairman of EFCC, there is no request before this Senate now for such confirmation. This is a new Senate and therefore, until there is a request to this Senate, there is nothing the Senate can do.

“And I want to assure you that any request that comes from Mr. President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place in terms of appointments or legislation and the Senate will act expeditiously to ensure that we play our part in the confirmation or passing of legislation appropriately.

“As for oversight, as far as I know, I am not a receipt of any complaint and I have been in this National Assembly for 21 years. But Mr. Chairman, if any committee asks for anything from any MDA, that is not appropriate, the law is there to take its full course.

“We believe that no committee or member of the National Assembly will go out of his way to ask for anything before undertaking an oversight,” he said.

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