The Senate has expressed stiff opposition to the bid by the Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, to impose the confirmation of the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on them.
The Senate on Tuesday insisted that Magu’s rejection “stands rejected,” a report by Thisday revealed; citing the strong evidence produced by the Department of State Services’ (DSS) security report as the albatross that disqualified his candidacy as the substantive chairman of the EFCC.
In a report, the Senate Majority leader tried to convince journalists while answering questions fielded during his visit to the Presidential Villa that it was the media that conjured up the reports on Magu’s rejection as well as the indictment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal’s alleged financial misappropriation of Internally Displaced person’s (IDPs) funds.
Thisday reported that the Senate got wind of the deception by their colleague and reacted to his submissions through its spokesman, Sabi Abdullahi who maintained that the position of both Magu and Lawal remained unchanged.
Senator Abdullahi said: “The call to national duty is crucial. So, I am here based on a series of calls and text messages from you about what youthought were conflicting messages.
“It has become critical for the Senate to clarify issues. The Eight Senate Believes in its integrity. We uphold and promote the rule of law, which is the basic thing about our democracy.
“We are committed to doing things differently to stabilise the polity in the collective interest of Nigerian. I would like to make the following clarifications:
“I am holding the votes and proceedings of Thursday. We had two votes and proceedings because we had to go into aa joint session to receive President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Our votes and proceedings are the official records of what transpired in the chamber. I brief you on Thursday to the effect that the Senate announced that in view of the security reports we were unable to confirm Magu.
“We then rejected and returned the nomination toBuhari for further action. But media reports emerging especially from interview granted by the Senator Ndume meant we have to clarify issues.
“For the reords, I am the official spokesman of the Senate and I intend to discharge this with honour and integrity because the sanctity of the institution is crucial to the sustenance of democracy.
“To clarify, I have only one point of reference, which is the votes and proceedings.
“The Senate also deliberated on EFFC with regards to the security report available but referred the other nominees for screening since nothing much was found on them.
“This is the only official position of the Senate. What I say, I say on behalf of the Senate. Nigerians should be guided. There is no ambiguity in what we said.
“The Senate is an institution and we are working with the constitution and whatever rules we use, our powers are drawn from the constitution.
“We also want the media to be guided in the matter because of some misleading news in the public domain.
“Even with respect to SGF, you as journalists can do your proper investigations. The genesis was the motion raised by Senators Kaka Garbai and Ndume, and the Senate decided to take a look at the abuses and the SGF was found to be part of the abuses,” Abdullahi said.
Abdullahi also rejected claims that two contradictory reports were sent to the Senate on Magu by the DSS, arguing that the Senate only received one report through its clerk.
The report further mentioned he said the Senate was not aware of any other report allegedly sent to the Presidency’s Liaison Officer, Senator Ita Enang.
Abdullahi also refuted claims that action was taken to reject Magu based on Senates decision; saying the upper chamber would not have taken a decision of that magnitude based on an unsigned report.
He said contrary to perceptions of division in the Senate; there was no crack among the members.
Thisday reports that the Senator’s spokesman said there was nothing to suggest a crack in the Senate, pointing out that what he had said remained the Senate’s official position.
“Truth is sacrosanct. For every line of command, there is a line of communication. For the record, the leader that I know is Saraki and the administrative leader is the clerk to the Senate.
“As a rule, when you have a nominee, a security report should be sent to the Senate. The report we are talking about was sent to the acting clerk of the Senate.
“If you talk about two reports, which one is the second one? I heard that a report was sent to Senator Ita Enang, but I am not holding brief for him. He is a liaison officer and if there is any communication, Senator Saraki or the clerk are in charge.
“It will be unfortunate for anyone to say that the Senate will be subjected to a report sent to the liaison office. This does not undermine his office. He is one of the highest ranking officers. So let us not bring Ita Enang into the line of crossfire.
“It is the prerogative of the Senate and they have exercised that prerogative and we are all guided by processes. If President Buhari is going to resubmit the name for re-nomination, he must come with the necessary reports, either negative or positive.
“As for the report we got, it was signed. The Senate can’t just get a document from anywhere and work with it. Even petitions are signed, let alone a serious matter like this.
“The Senate leader is the Senate leader but I am the spokesman. He can’t do my job and I can’t do his job. He is my leader but we have different responsibilities.
“If occasioned by what he said, people are reading meanings from it, I am here to clarify the issues.
“Moreover, Nigerians are looking to all of us to take them out of the recession, so the media should also be guided to create a conducive environment for the leadership to avoid tensions,” Abdullahi added.