On Wednesday, March 15, the Nigerian Senate rejected the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The senate based its decision on reports of breach of trust and lack of integrity against Magu by the Department of State Service (DSS).
While Magu's rejection by the Senate has caused controversy within the Nigerian polity, a civil society organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described it as invalid.
SERAP in a statement by its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni also called on the federal government to take necessary action towards renominating Magu again despite being rejected twice.
“We also urge the Senate to carry out its duty to confirm Magu in line with constitutional and international requirements and without any political or ulterior considerations whatsoever,” Mumuni said.
The group in its reaction gave reasons why the rejected EFCC scribe must be renominated by the presidency.
Below are the reasons by SERAP:
1. Senate's failure to invite DSS over its conflicting reports against Magu
SERAP said Magu's rejection over DSS report is a slap on Nigerians who are the victims of corruption.
The group question Senate's inability to invite the DSS to clarify its conflicting reports against Magu.
“The Senate must come clean and explain to Nigerians why it failed to invite the DSS to clarify its two reports or invite someone from the presidency to explain why Magu was re-nominated, and in fact to justify why it sent two reports in the first place,” SERAP said.
2. Unsatisfactory Senate confirmation hearing
SERAP said the process of submission of Magu's name and his confirmation is unsatisfactory.
“The entire process for the submission of Magu’s name for confirmation by the Senate, and the purported confirmation hearing by the Senate is utterly unsatisfactory," Mumuni said.
3. Senate's rejection unreasonable
SERAP in its statement said the Senate's action on Wednesday, March 16, was unreasonable.
The group said: “While it is true that the Senate has the right to either reject or accept the nomination of Magu as the Chairman of the EFCC, it has a constitutional duty to act reasonably, logically, and rationally.”
4. Magu never had the opportunity to be heard
SERAP said that Nigerian Senate should have critically engaged with the two reports by the DSS and provide Magu with a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
“Rather than working together to promote and enhance the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the EFCC, both the presidency and the Senate would seem to have failed to pursue this legitimate governmental purpose and international requirement, and implicitly, constitutional measure," SERAP said.
The group further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate a political will to fight corruption.
The group said such act will help in resolving the contradictions and inconsistencies in his presentation of Magu for confirmation by the Senate.