President Muhammadu Buhari is weighing two options on the fate of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presidency sources have confirmed to Vanguard.
The two options limited to either forwarding his name again to the Senate or appointing a fresh nominee for the position, Vanguard learned, would be based on the legal advice of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
Meanwhile, senators fuming over the continued retention of Magu as acting chairman of the EFCC, are set to erode the president’s power to appoint persons to act endlessly in positions requiring Senate confirmation. The proposal now in the works, according to Vanguard sources, has bipartisan support in the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, dominated Senate. Vanguard gathered at the weekend that the Senate report on the screening and rejection of Magu as chairman of the EFCC has been received by the president who is studying the report and is also forwarding it to the vice-president and the AGF. “I can tell you that the president has received the resolution on the matter of Magu and has forwarded the matter to the vice-president, who as you know, is a senior lawyer and also to the attorney general for advice,” presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu told Vanguard, yesterday. He said the president would follow the two options open to him to either nominate him again or send another name, based on his consideration of the advice received from the duo of Osinbajo and Malami. He, however, said the president would not act until he received the appropriate advice from the Vice-President and the AGF. Shehu refused to be dragged into the issue of Magu continuing to act as chairman of the anti-graft agency. Magu, who was first appointed as acting chairman of the EFCC in November, 2015, was first nominated to occupy the office in a substantive position in a letter to the Senate dated June 17, 2016 by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, while President Buhari was on medical vacation out of the country. His screening was, however, delayed and did not come up for consideration until December when the Senate turned down the issue upon the unflattering report on the nominee by the DSS. Following the president’s submission to the Senate to reconsider Magu for the position, the Senate penultimate Wednesday, screened him but rejected him and followed up with a report to the president to forward another person for the position. However, Magu has continued to act as chairman of the agency drawing divided opinion from Nigerians. “There is claim that the interpretation act has given the president the right to appoint someone in acting position for offices that he is constitutionally empowered to make appointments. “But our dispute is, for how long can such persons act and should such persons continue to act even when they have been rejected by the Senate,” the ranking senator said. “We have now resolved on how to move the issue forward and it would be through a bill to limit the duration that persons who act in such positions can stay in acting capacity,” the senior lawmaker said. It was learned that, while the bill in the works is said to have proposed six months, it is likely to be cut down to three months at the end of Senate consideration. The proposal, which is to come before the Senate in days, is expected to get expedited passage through the Senate on account of its endorsement by the Senate leadership.