Not many Nigerians (including this writer) were surprised when the Senate decided to reject the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as substantive chief of the country’s number one anti-corruption agency.
The upper legislative chamber claimed it could not approve the presidency’s request to confirm Mr. Magu based on a security report forwarded to it by the State Security Service, DSS.
“The Senate wishes to inform the public that based on available security report, the Senate cannot proceed with the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” the spokesperson for the Senate, Aliyu Abdullahi, said in a statement read to journalists.
“The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” Mr. Abdullahi said.
But many on social media have suggested that the Senate is worried that it would soon fall into the net of Magu’s EFCC, hence why it is trying to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.
Many of the Senators on whom the confirmation of Magu depends are themselves currently being investigated by the EFCC. Why should I help my enemy to beat me by providing him with ammunition?
There are some who echo an earlier sentiment of President Muhammdu Buhari by saying the decision is a clear indication that corruption is fighting back against the anti-graft war.
There are however many on the other side of the fence who believe that Magu deserved what he got because his anti-corruption war at the EFCC has been one-sided. If not, they wondered, why have those that have been accused of corruption in the president’s cabinet not been arrested?
There are many eminent Nigerians on Magus’s side though. For example, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, said Magu’s appointment will be renewed whether he is confirmed or not.
A bullish Sagay in an interview published in the current edition of The Interview, said, “whether they like it or not, he (Magu) will be there. His chairmanship will keep on being renewed.
“Since Nuhu Ribadu left, we have not had a man with such sterling qualities as Ibrahim Magu and whether they like it or not, Magu will be there until he completes his term under the law.”
Meanwhile, some other Nigerians have demanded to see the security report upon which the senate based its rejection of Magu. Although unconfirmed reports say one of the allegations against Magu is that he currently occupies a residence rented for N40 million at N20 million per annum. This accommodation, it was alleged, was not paid [for] from the commission’s (EFCC) finances, but by one Umar Mohammed, air commodore retired.
According to a Premium Times report however, this claim is not true. The report said evidence has been obtained showing the property in question was paid for by the Federal Capital Development Administration, and not Mr. Umar.
The E-Payment schedule, dated March 31, was said to have been issued to the branch controller of Central Bank, Abuja, in favour of M/S Valcour SA Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC chairman has a four-year tenure. From the EFCC Act, non-confirmation does not impair his duties. It remains to be seen in the coming days how the Senate would justify its stand on the non-confirmation of Magu after leaving the matter pending for five months.