Reactions have been pouring in as regards the Senate’s rejection of the Presidency’s nomination of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday.
The upper legislative chamber cited “security reports” by the Department of State Services, DSS as the reason for the rejection.
Briefing journalists at the National Assembly, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi said that based on security reports, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm the acting EFCC Chairman.
“Based on security reports available to the Senate, the Senate cannot proceed to confirm Mr Magu, consequently, the Senate rejects the nomination and returns the nomination to President Buhari,” he said.
Although no official information was given by the Senate about the contents of the said security reports, findings reveal that the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Malam Lawal Daura had in October 2016 sent a report named “Status Report” to the Senate president detailing the alleged crimes of Magu.
A Senate source said “the report is terrifying as it contained series of corruption allegations involving ownership of property, violation of financial rules and regulations and colluding with corrupt people, including those who are well known.”
Reacting to the rejection of Magu on Thursday, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay berated the Senate for refusing to confirm the acting EFCC chairman.
He said, “The Senate doesn’t appoint a chairman of the EFCC; what it does is to confirm an appointment. If it doesn’t confirm, then, he will remain acting, he doesn’t become substantive but the powers of acting or substantive chairman are the same; it is just a difference in nomenclature.
“So, any act of bad faith to slow down the corruption war is misplaced and it won’t work. It is sad that people will go to that extent of rejecting what is good for the country for their selfish reasons because they think it is not convenient for them. So this is preference for self-preservation at the expense of the nation and the people of the country.”
“They must show that they are interested and affected by the misery and poverty that have been caused by looting. They must come out and fight and join in the struggle; otherwise, they will wake up one day and realise that there is no country again.”
Also, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), believed the Senate had not rejected Magu officially.
He said, “What the law says is that the Senate shall confirm an EFCC chairman; not an executive session, not a committee and the Senate has not done this.
“So, the Senate has not rejected him and if you look at what has been done, they are saying they received a security report for which reason they are not considering his nomination.”
Also, a group of lawyers, under the aegis of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, demanded the disclosure of the nature and content of the “security report”, which the Senate relied on to reject the nomination of Magu.
In a statement on Thursday by its President, Mr. Luke Aghanenu, NADL said it was curious that the Senate would reject Magu in spite of the good performance of the EFCC under his watch as acting chairman.”
Meanwhile Femi Fani Kayode applauded the Senate’s decision. In an Instagram post, he wrote; “#fightingfit. The bible says ” Touch not my annointed and do my prophets no harm” . Events at the Nigerian senate today have proved that scripture to be true. One down many more to go. Our God is mighty in battle. #kudostothenigeriansenate”
A member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, described the Senate’s rejection of the nomination of Magu as a blow to democracy.
Mohammed said, “I find the whole development rather curious. I do not accept that in a democracy, the legislature should presume and deliberately delay the confirmation of such an important position in the government, and now, belatedly, advance some funny reasons such as adverse security report.
“My suspicion is that some members of the cabal around the President and their friends in the Senate, who are determined to make sure that Magu does not get confirmed, are responsible for this situation.
“Secondly, since Magu has served in this capacity for six months and has not been found wanting, the normal routine is to confirm his appointment. The government of the day, in conjunction with Senators, has refused to confirm him. I feel this is a blow to democracy.”
Oby Esekwesili reacting to Magu rejection by the Senate in a series of tweets said the upper legislative house has to make the contents of the “security report” known to the public because “Transparency is the BEST ANTIDOTE”.
Nigerians on social media have equally been reacting to the decision by the Senate. Below are a few reactions;
Magu took charge of the EFCC in acting capacity following the expiration of the tenure of his former boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, in November 2015.