EFCC: Magu will remain the Chairman

EFCC: Magu will remain the Chairman

Mr. Ibrahim Magu will remain chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, so long as the Muhammadu Buhari presidency subsists, Acting President Yemi Osinabjo, declared yesterday in firm rebuttal of the Senate’s rejection of his appointment. Magu and Osinbajo Osinbajo said his stance was essentially because Magu remained a nightmare to corrupt persons in the country. He spoke as Magu called for the establishment of a prison for corrupt persons in Sambisa Forest. The Senate, however, drew back from further engagements on the issue, saying it had made its point clear on Magu. The development, however, drew strong comments from some politicians, including two leading Second Republic political actors, Dr. Junaid Mohammed and Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who claimed that Nigeria was falling into a constitutional crisis. Osinbajo spoke in Kaduna at the commissioning of the Zonal Office of the EFCC, where he maintained that he and President Buhari had confidence in Magu. “He will remain the EFCC chairman as long as I remain the Acting President and as well as Muhammadu Buhari remains the President,” Osinbajo said in an address presented on his behalf by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State. “We have every confidence in Magu to fight corruption to a standstill. He will remain the EFCC chairman as long as I remain the Acting President and as well as Muhammadu Buhari remains the President. “It is our belief that Magu will continue to remain a nightmare for corrupt people for years to come,” he added. Earlier in his welcome address, Governor El-Rufai disclosed that he had recovered over N500 million quietly from corrupt past government officials and contractors without anybody knowing. He, however, vowed that those corrupt officials would be handed over to the EFCC in due course for prosecution. He said he encouraged the establishment of EFCC Zonal Office in Kaduna because the State had zero tolerance for bad financial behaviour. “The commission can continue to count on us for our support for EFCC. We have set aside a land in Kaduna for your training school,” El-Rufai added. Magu wants special prison in Sambisa Forest Magu on the occasion, called for the establishment of a special prison for corrupt Nigerians in the heart of Sambisa Forest, the base of the Boko Haram insurgents. The EFCC boss, however, noted that for the prison to become a reality, the judiciary should cooperate with the commission. He warned that if concerted efforts were not made to rid the country of corruption, the monster would destroy Nigerians. “We want to call for the establishment of a prison in Sambisa forest to keep away corrupt people from our midst. “In this case, the judiciary has direct influence to help in the fight against corruption. “But concerted efforts are being made by some big Nigerians to neutralise the fight against corruption. “We must change the narrative by fighting back those that do not want the fight to succeed. “I remain committed to the fight against corruption, and I commend the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai for encouraging EFCC to establish a zonal office in Kaduna. “We must, therefore, join hands together to kill corruption, before corruption kills us,” he said. We have spoken — Senate The Senate was, however, not miffed by the assertions of the Acting President, saying it would not change its position. Senate spokesman, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi, said the Senate stood by its rejection of Magu as the substantive chairman of the anti- graft agency. “There is no problem, the Senate has made its point, we have already taken a position on Ibrahim Magu, the Senate has rejected his nomination, and we have said that he should be removed. These are the issues that we have raised for now, and we stand by our position. “The Senate has made its position known; we are not in a position to respond because someone made his statements. Osinbajo is entitled to his opinion.” Reactions on the deepening faceoff between the presidency and the National Assembly was mixed yesterday. Among those that backed the Acting President were the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-backed Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; chairman of the administration’s anti-corruption panel, Prof. Itse Sagay; leading Second Republic political gladiators, Dr. Junaid Mohammed and Chief Ebenezer Babatope and second vice-president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani. Buhari, Osinbajo’ll stand by Magu to the end — Sagay Affirming that Magu will continue to get the full support of President Buhari and Acting President Osinbajo, Sagay said: “Since the passage of our first leaders, like Awolowo, Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, we have not been lucky enough to have had highly principled, consistent, committed men of great integrity and honour like President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo. Perhaps, the only other previous administration close to the present one was the Murtala Mohammed/Obasanjo administration. “Having been victimized, brutalized, looted, marginalized and contemptuously treated by past administrations, particularly the 12-year torture and brigandry of the PDP, Nigerians are extremely lucky that Buhari and Osinbajo have come on a rescue mission to bring us back from the brink of destruction. We now have leaders who are in office to serve Nigeria and who stand on integrity and high principles. “By the statement released by the Acting President, we are re-assured that if you are committed to your duties and exhibit integrity, an intrepidity and indomitable spirit in your work, no power on earth can shake you. All evil powers who are holding Nigeria hostage by their unbridled corruption, arrogance, vanity, and vindictiveness will be defeated.” No time frame for Magu to act — Sheriff-led PDP The Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in its reaction, backed the Acting President, saying there was no duration under the law where someone could act in a position. “There is no time frame for Magu to act just like there is no time frame for the vice-president to stay as acting president,” the spokesman of the faction, Mr. Bernard Mikko told Vanguard on the phone yesterday. He urged the legislative body to seek political option to the issue. Osinbajo could be impeached for misconduct — Ozekhome On his part, constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, warned Professor Osinbajo of possible impeachment over his stand on Magu, stressing that his continued retention as acting chairman of the EFCC constituted “gross misconduct” as spelt out in the laws of the land. He said: “It is an impeachable offence for the Acting President to continue to retain Magu in office as Acting Chairman, as it amounts to “gross misconduct” as defined by section 143 of the 1999 Constitution. This is because of a deliberate breach of the Constitution, or violation of extant laws, is an impeachable offence.” Explaining further, he said: “The provisions of section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 are all too very clear and straightforward to admit of any ambiguity. They simply provide that the President shall appoint the EFCC chairman subject to confirmation by the Senate. “This simply means the EFCC chairman cannot act in office without approval by the Senate. It becomes patently illegal and unconstitutional for Magu to continue to be brazenly retained in office, in spite of the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances provided for in sections 4, 5, 6 of the 1999 Constitution Nigeria in constitutional crisis — Mohammed, Babatope Two major Second Republic political actors, Dr. Mohammed and Chief Babatope, expressed concern over the import of the crisis on the nation’s democracy. Mohammed said the face-off between the Senate and the Acting President had put Nigeria in a constitutional crisis as he alleged that the Senate was not acting on principles. He called on the Acting President not to descend so low into “roforofo” fight. “What is happening is unfortunate for the country and our nascent democracy, and this has caused a serious constitutional crisis. It is unbelievable that the Senate could think they can just pass an irresponsible resolution; while the Acting President, Osinbajo and President Buhari with people working with them have their agenda. We are really in a very bad situation. “I believe there are ways gentlemen settle their fight if this issue is well handled. To me, this fight is unnecessary, and they must put an end to this whole saga because it is very embarrassing to us as a nation. Instead of all these fights, I think both sides need to approach the court since it’s a constitutional matter.” In his reaction, former Minister of Transportation, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said what was happening between the Acting President and Senate was a very bad situation for Nigeria. On AGF Malami Meanwhile, Prof. Sagay has bemoaned the position taken by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami on the standoff between Prof. Osinbajo and the Senate. Sagay described the AGF’s position as wrong, misleading and totally unconstitutional. “I sincerely believe that the Attorney-General has been misquoted about making such an outlandish statement. The Constitution is clear on whom the executive powers of the Federation are vested. By Section 5(1) of the Constitution, the executive powers of the Federation shall be vested in the President, not in the Executive Council of the Federation. By Section 148(1) of the Constitution, “The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation, responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation. “Then by Section 148(2)(c), the Vice President and all the Ministers of the Government of the Federation are conferred the role of advising the President generally in the discharge of his Executive functions other than those functions with respect to which he is required by the Constitution to seek the advice or act on the recommendation of any other person. “What all these provisions go to establish, is that the President or Acting President, when that situation arises, is the Sole Executive Authority of Nigeria. Ministers and the Executive Council of the Federation have no executive authority outside what is granted them by the President or Acting President. “There can be no separate Federal Executive Council opinion or views or policy outside what the President or Acting President expresses. With minor exceptions, as in Section 144, (permanent incapacity of the President and Vice President), the Executive Council of the Federation only has legal status when presided over by the President or Acting President. “The Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) cannot have views that are separate or different from those of the President, or where applicable, the Acting President; otherwise, that will constitute gross insubordination and misconduct that can lead to dismissal. It is the President and Vice President who are elected to exercise executive power. Ministers are mere unelected appointees of the President who assist him as he wishes, to carry out his responsibilities. They cannot legally exist outside the President, their appointer. “Therefore, the slant being giving to the statement of the Attorney-General of the Federation, namely; that the Executive Council of the Federation is entitled to meet in order to express an opinion or views on a matter on which the President or Acting President has already expressed his views or opinions is wrong, misleading and totally unconstitutional.” Also speaking, Second Vice President of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Monday Ubani, said: “I do not get it, since when did the opinion of a president become personal opinion? “What the Acting President said about Magu represents the position of the government. And at the moment, the head of the government is the Acting President, whose position is not different from the position the President had earlier taken on Magu. “The AGF, who disowned the Acting President’s position, may have done so for reasons known to him. Maybe that was said to appease the senators.” It’s action in futility — Falana Reacting, Femi Falana, SAN, said: “Mr. Ibrahim Magu was appointed as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in November 1999 by President Mohammadu Buhari. After he had acted in that capacity for over a year the Senate refused to confirm his appointment as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC. As President Buhari was satisfied with the performance of Mr. Magu, he decided to retain him as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC. A couple of days ago, the Senate revisited the matter and passed a resolution directing the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to remove Mr. Magu from the post of the Acting Chairman of the EFCC forthwith. The decision of the Senate was purportedly anchored on section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act which provides as follows: “Before passing its resolution the Senate ought to have known from the clear and unambiguous provision of section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act that the Senate has not been vested with the power to confirm or approve any person appointed by the President to hold office in an acting capacity. To that extent, the resolution of the Senate constitutes an affront to section 171 (1) of the Constitution. “It is further submitted that Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act to justify the confirmation of the Chairman of the EFCC is inconsistent with section 171 (2) of the Constitution which has empowered the President to appoint the Head of Service, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of extra ministerial departments of the Government. Since the EFCC is an extra ministerial department of the Federal Government the appointment of its Chairman does not require the confirmation of the Senate. In other words, section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act is inconsistent with section 171 (2) of the Constitution. To that extent, the Senate resolution based on the EFCC Act is an exercise in futility.” Magu: Nigerian Senate now ‘diminished’ — Obong Attah Former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah has weighed in on the renewed altercation between the senate and acting president Yemi Osinbajo on the former’s insistence on having the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, eased out. Attah in an interview with Vanguard, yesterday, in Abuja said the senate is now a “diminished” lawmaking organ, advising the president to continue to re-nominate Mr Magu, describing him as the best man for the job. According to him, the very reason that the senate is rejecting Mr Magu is the best credentials to have him confirmed as substantive head of the anti-graft body. “Added to that is the fact that even the governors now want to come and join these senators because they believe that if he continues with his investigation of the use or abuse of the Paris Club refund, they will tell their senators not to approve his nomination…so, really, you want somebody that is not expected to do the job of the chairman of the EFCC. For that alone, Magu should be appointed because that is really the best recognition that they can give. “ Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/07/reactions-trail-osinbajos-assertion-magu/

Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/07/reactions-trail-osinbajos-assertion-magu/