DSS/Senate Vs Magu: Case Of Cockroach In Fowl’s Court By Ofonime Honesty
As far as the Senate’s serial rejection of the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is concerned, I have come to the end of a painful yet convincing conclusion that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Anchoring their decision on a purportedly fresh “security report” sent to the Senate on the late hours of Tuesday, March14, 2017, by the Department of State Security (DSS), the Senators, on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, for the second time running, rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman. Their decision comes despite Magu’s exoneration from any wrongdoing by a probe panel headed by the Attorney General of the Federation.
The timing of the submission of the report by the DSS and the characters involved make the puzzle more complicated.
We don’t need Nostradamus to tell us that the Senate/DSS and EFCC are embroiled in a cold war.
To start with the DSS, the frosty relationship with EFCC came to the fore at the outset of the arrest of allegedly corrupt judges in Nigeria. The case falls under the jurisdiction of the EFCC but the DSS refused to tackle the matter in collaboration with the anti-graft agency.
Appearing before the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the invasion of properties and arrest of the judges by the DSS, Magu, in November 2016, stated unequivocally that the issue under investigation falls under financial crimes, not internal security, adding that DSS has no business raiding and arresting judges.
Magu further revealed that his agency was in the process of investigating some of the judges when the DSS hijacked and went solo with the operation.
The ensuing dust raised by the DSS versus EFCC fisticuff did not settle when President Buhari sent Magu’s name to the Senate for screening as substantive EFCC Chairman.
As highlighted in the second paragraph of this piece, after the first rejection by the Senate, a panel headed by the Attorney General of the Federation exonerated Magu of any wrong doing. Mr. President resubmitted his name to the Senate for screening. Again, DSS sent another unfavourable ‘security report’ which prompted the latest rejection.
Methinks any report indicting enough to prevent Magu’s clearance by the Senate should also be weighty enough to threaten his status as a free citizen. The only punishment should not be the seemingly desperate attempt to prevent him from becoming EFCC Chairman. Magu should be given the chance to defend himself at a proper court. The DSS and Senate should not act as Plaintiffs and Judge in this matter. Why has the DSS not deemed it appropriate to forward same “security report” to the presidency?
Also, a cursory analysis of the Senate which rejected his nomination raises more questions than answers.
Prior to Wednesday’s screening, common sense, parliamentary rules and legal principles mandated that, to avoid conflict of interest, any Senator who has a subsisting case with EFCC, should be rightly exempted from the screening of Magu. It is glaring that in the discharge of his duties as the Acting Chairman of the anti-corruption body, Magu has invariably stepped on toes. Now, the ‘toes’ are kicking his backside. And the ‘toes’ are all out for him even if it warrants committing a legal offense termed CONTEMPT OF COURT.
Human Rights Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, while lending his voice to the foregoing, screamed his lungs out, calling for the exemption of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio; and eight other senators, from participating in the exercise. The Lawyer made reference to a legal suit to that effect.
Barr. Effiong however warned that “Senator Bukola Saraki and his colleagues…should uphold the Rule of Law and stay action on the screening and confirmation hearing of Magu or recuse themselves from same pending the hearing and determination of the suit, which will be coming up on 3 April for further mention, adding that, “doing otherwise will not only be contemptuous of the court but will constitute an attack on the judicial process.”
The foregoing warning fell on deaf ears as Saraki, on Wednesday, presided over plenary wherein Magu’s nomination was again rejected.
Nigeria is where public officials violate the Law without worrying about the consequences. I must say without equivocation that Nigeria’s Senators lack the moral right to disqualify Magu. Mr. Saraki, inspite of weighty evidences of corruption against him, has been rebuffing rife calls for his resignation as Senate President. Same is applicable to roughly 80% of Senators at the Red Chambers. In the real sense, what we have there are ambassadors of impunity, not Senators.
To further drive home my position, Magu narrated his ordeal in the hands of his antagonists. He had this to say on the floor of the Senate: “I was locked longer than necessary. For over ten weeks, I was detained by Police with armed robbers at Area 10…”
Yes, a subterfuge script is being acted. Hypocrisy is the name of the movie. The dramatis personae are taking us for granted. They feel that they can hoodwink us successfully. They are basking in the euphoria of punishing an ambassador of anti-corruption. Of a truth, corruption is fighting back.
These self-acclaimed virgins with prolific history of abortion should watch their back. We are tired of their culture of impunity. Deep within them, they know that Magu is a sheep that pays a visit to a lion’s den.
Dear readers, when fowl is a judge in a case involving another fowl versus a cockroach, only one verdict is feasible. But must we continue like this?
(Ofonime Honesty is an Uyo based journalist. email@example.com 08025286082)