By Danjuma Aliyu
The Nigerian Senate is not to rubber stamp all of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointees, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled.
In a landmark case instituted by Oluwatosin Ojaomo, Justice John Tsoho ruled in favour of the Senate over it’s decision to reject the appointment of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu, as the fourth Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
On March 15, 2017, lawmakers in the upper chamber who received an indicting report from the secret police, rejected Mr Magu’s nomination.
The Senate had also refused to confirm Mr Magu on December 16, 2016.
The Department of State Services stated in a report sent to the Senate in October, 2016, that Mr Magu, a “perennial offender” was a liability to the corruption fight.
DENISAURUS News, the first to publish extracts from the DSS report against Mr Magu, has remained in support of EFCC workers who raised questions over their boss’s integrity over the past one year.
Despite, the rejection of the Senate, Mr Magu has remained “illegally” in office, with the backing of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
But in his ruling on January 15, 2018, Justice Tsoho said: “The Plaintiff raised two issues in the written address for determination, to wit: whether or not the 1st defendant can reject a valid statutory appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in accordance with the provisions of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
“Whether or not the 1st defendant is bound by the provisions of the EFCC Act, 2004 with respect to the confirmation of any appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Office of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“The submission of the plaintiff however gives the impression that the senate only exists to rubber stamp the President’s appointment of a chairman. Such view runs counter to the proper intendment of section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act 2004 and is misconceived.”
Justice Tsoho also ruled that the Senate could reject a statutory appointment of a chairman of the EFCC made by the president, “if there is a good basis for doing so.”
The judgement states further that “the Senate is thus conferred with the authority to ensure the choice of only suitable and credible persons for appointment to that office.”
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who made a copy of the ruling – (See copy of FHC/ABJ/CS/59/2017 below), has once again called on the Executive to send a replacement name.