CLO Flays Buhari For Renominating Magu, Falana, Others Hail Move
Although an air of uncertainty hangs over the reported renomination of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Ibrahim Magu, different reactions have elicited the report.
Several reports indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari has written a letter to the senate resubmitting Magu’s name for confirmation, but Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr Ita Enang, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), he was not aware of such letter.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organisation, Mr. Ibuchukwu Ezike, however, flayed the President for re-presenting Magu to the Senate, saying it showed that the government was not sincere with its anti-corruption fight.
“Representing Magu to the Senate for confirmation shows that the APC government is not fighting corruption, and that it is deceiving Nigerians that it is fighting corruption.
“Is Magu the only Nigerian that has the capacity to head the EFCC? How many heads of the EFCC have come and gone; has that place collapsed? So, if the Senate, in its wisdom, after assessing Magu, says he is not qualified, why is the President imposing him?
“If the Senate says Magu is not qualified, the executive can give him any position it wants, but not that the President will continue to impose Magu.
“It shows that there is a conspiracy between the Presidency and Magu. There are over one million Nigerians that are qualified to head the EFCC.”
In his reaction, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the renomination of Magu was in order because the EFCC boss was not treated fairly the last time as he was not allowed to defend the allegations levelled against him.
Falana said, “With respect, the Senate did not consider the nomination the first time. The Senate is required to conduct a confirmation hearing whereby the nominee is afforded an opportunity to react to allegations made against him or her. That was the procedure adopted in the screening of all ministerial nominees. I am sure that the Senate will adopt the same procedure in the case of Magu.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said the President was right to send Magu’s name back to the Senate for confirmation.
Sagay said the report implicating Magu had been investigated and found not to be true and therefore, of no consequence.
The senior advocate added, “I am in support of this move. That is the best choice and I am happy about it. He was victimised because he was doing his job very well. People were afraid because he was excellent at that job and they felt threatened.”
Asked if he was confident of Magu’s confirmation this time round, Sagay said, “Their reasons for rejecting him was that a report was written against him and that report has been proved to be totally untrue and unsubstantiated; so, what other reason do they have to reject him?”
On his part, Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, described the controversy surrounding the confirmation of Magu as an unnecessary distraction.
According to him, both the President and the Senate could have saved the nation’s precious time if they had done their homework right from the beginning.
He said the drama surrounding the whole affair exposed the level of “incompetence” which exists at the highest levels of government.
Mohammed said, “As far as I am concerned, the controversy about the rejection of Ibrahim Magu’s name was unnecessary and uncalled for. It was badly handled by the Executive branch.
“First, before his name was submitted there should have been a very thorough security check; once that has been done, other security agencies and other arms of government should be in the know.
“As far as I am concerned, Magu is still a policeman and the police that I know keep very meticulous records about their personnel especially an officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
“There was absolutely no reason for this fracas which was caused by the mediocrity, incompetence and irresponsibility of those who are charged with handling such matters for Mr. President.”
He accused the DSS of wanting to eat its cake and have it by writing separate reports on the same person and changing it to save face following a backlash.
Mohammed also accused Senators of behaving like amateurs in their its handling of the Magu’s initial confirmation hearing by not giving him a chance to defend himself if indeed there was an adverse report about his professional conduct.
He stated, “Clearly, some people in the cabal have found it necessary to align with Senators who are anti- Magu and anti-EFCC. This initial plan of the Senate backfired because of the massive pressure from the public and the international community.
“In backfiring, it has exposed the ineptitude and mediocrity of the Presidency and the executive branch.
“I hope the EFCC will save us from further embarrassment. I hope the Senate will this time live up to the occasion and confirm Magu to continue with his job.”
The Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr. Debo Adeniran, hailed the President for re-nominating Magu as the EFCC’s chairman to the Senate.
Describing Magu as the best man for the job, Adeniran said he had shown the courage and tenacity against corruption which corrupt Nigerians detested.
He said, “That was what we recommended to the President. Magu has the courage to look at corrupt leaders in the eye. He is courageous and determined and that is what corrupt persons in the country do not want.
“This was why we urged the President not to nominate anybody else. If we allow Magu to be disgraced out of office, nobody would be willing to take up the position and exhibit the zeal needed to perform as chairman of the commission.”