The Senate President, Mr. Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday at a forum hosted by the News Agency of Nigeria, explained that he has no personal issue with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as Mr. Magu “stood up for what was right”.
He said this making reference to a protest meeting himself and some of his colleagues at the Senate had with Mr. Magu at the EFCC during President Goodluck Jonathan. The Senators were then received by Mr. Magu who gave them the needed assurance that the EFCC will not allow itself to be use for politics.
President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently appointed Mr. Ibrahim Magu to head the EFCC but the Senate, now headed by Mr. Bukola Saraki, refused to confirm his appointment on two occasions. First was on the 15th of December, 2016 and the second time on the 14th of March, 2017. This led to insinuations that the Senate was against Mr. Magu because the EFCC was currently prosecuting some Senators in court while some others were under investigation.
But Mr. Saraki at the media forum insisted that the Senate had no ulterior motive for refusing to confirm Mr. Magu. He stated that the screening was fixed on Wednesday when plenaries were covered live to ensure transparency of the process.
The Senate President stressed further that the decision to reject Mr. Magu was the result of a process which does not start and end at the Senate. He mentioned the Central Bank, Lottery Commission and Electricity Regulatory Commission as some of the agencies involved in the process. He added that one of such agencies, the DSS, gave the Senate a report that suggested that Magu must not be confirmed. Mr. Saraki argued that Mr. Magu failed the test he was subjected to.
“This is about an institution; let us say you are screening the governor of Central Bank and EFCC reports that the man lacks integrity and that he is not honest, will you just discard that?”
“The days I confirm, I don’t commit a crime, but the day I don’t confirm, all hell will break loose,”
“Today we have an honest transparent president, tomorrow we could have a corrupt and dishonest president, who brings his best man to be the governor of Central Bank and together they want to connive and steal money. When the name is taken to senate and senate rejects it, the president will say, ‘my friend, continue. So it is about systems and processes. Whether you like Saraki or you don’t like Ekweremadu, it is not about us. By the end of our tenures, we will go. It is about the institution.”
Reminder of Mr. Magu’s Defence of himself