Senate’s Rejection Of Magu In Right Order – Court

Mr Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of EFCC

A Federal High Court in Abuja has backed the Senate’s rejection of Mr Ibrahim Magu as substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC).

A concerned Nigerian, Mr Oluwatosin Ojaomo had filed a suit at a Federal High Court, Abuja challenging the Senate’s decision to reject the nomination of Magu by the President as substantive Chairman of the EFCC.

The litigant in the suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/59/2017, which had the Senate President and the Attorney-General of the Federation as co-defendants, prayed the court to nullify the decision of the Senate

According to him, the upper legislative chamber has no power to confirm Magu in the first place let alone, rejecting his nomination.

The plantiff, who cited section 2 (1) (a) (i) (ii) (iii) and 2 (3) of EFCC ( Establishment ) Act, 2004, said the statutory powers of such appointment and confirmation lie with the President in line with the extant laws of the Commission.

But the presiding Judge, Justice John Tsoho in his judgement dated Jan. 15, 2018 and released on Thursday in Abuja, ruled that the Senate, as constitutionally empowered, has power to confirm or reject any presidential nominee forwarded to it at anytime .

Magu’s rejection according to the Judge was in right order since intendment of the laws as it regards the Senate was not to serve as a rubber stamp of the President .

He said the plaintiff had no locus standi to sue the Senate on the issue and that the affidavit deposed by the plaintiff, “did not disclose sufficient stake or peculiar interest of the plaintiff above others, that entitles him to institute this action”.

The judge said the use of the word “shall” in Section 2 (1) & (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 conferred the Senate the power to approve or reject the appointment of the Chairman of the anti corruption body.

“Therefore, while the plaintiff recognises the use of the word ‘shall’ as conferring mandatory and unqualified powers on the President to appoint the Chairman of the EFCC, sight must not be lost that the same word is used in respect of confirmation by the Senate of such appointment.

“Therefore, interpretation of the word ‘shall’ should logically have the same effect regarding both situations.”

On the second prayer of the plaintiff Justice Tsoho said Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, empowered the Senate to confirm an appointee to the office of the Chairman of EFCC by the President.

“The Senate is conferred with authority to ensure the choice of only suitable and credible persons for appointment to that office.

“The point must be made that it is trite in law generally, that where a plaintiff’s claim is unchallenged and uncontroverted, the court will accept the available evidence and act on it.

“There is, however, an exception to this, where the court finds that the plaintiff’s action is not maintainable, despite being unchallenged.

“This, I humbly hold to be the position in the instant suit, as I regard as doubtful the plaintiff’s capacity or competence to maintain the action. Consequently, this suit is struck out.”

Reacting to the judgement, the Senate spokesman, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger) said the ruling has vindicated the Senate’s position.

“President Buhari should look beyond Magu as far as the chairmanship of EFCC was concerned.

“We are pleased with this judgement and salute the judiciary for rising up to the occasion .

“With this, the Senate expects the executive to be guided by the court’s decision and do the needful by forwarding name of any credible Nigerian for the EFCC office.

“There is nothing personal in the whole thing. The court had ruled and all parties concerned, must obey, ” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.