Magu’s nomination, rejection not transparent ― SERAP

Following Ibrahim Magu’s rejection by the Senate as the substantive head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a rights group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has questioned the constitutional validity of the nomination and confirmation processes leading to Magu’s rejection for the second time.

According to SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement on Thursday, the rejection of Magu as Chairman of the EFCC by the Senate of Nigeria on the pretext of conflicting and inconsistent reports on him by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, is a slap in the face of Nigerians who are victims of grand corruption.

Mr. Magu’s confirmation was first rejected on December 15, 2016 on basically the same grounds.

“The entire process for the submission of Magu’s name for confirmation by the Senate, and the purported confirmation hearing by the Senate is utterly unsatisfactory.”

“While it is true that the Senate has the right to either reject or accept the nomination of Magu as the Chairman of the EFCC, it has a constitutional duty to act reasonably, logically, and rationally. The Senate ought to have critically engaged with the two reports by the Department of State Services (DSS) and provided Magu with meaningful opportunity to be heard,” Mumuni said.

“Rather than working together to promote and enhance the independence, integrity and effectiveness of the EFCC, both the presidency and the Senate would seem to have failed to pursue this legitimate governmental purpose and international requirement, and implicitly, constitutional measure.”

“SERAP therefore urges President Buhari to demonstrate genuine political will to fight corruption by urgently resolving the contradictions and inconsistencies in his presentation of Magu for confirmation by the Senate, and to then take rational and reasonable measures to re-nominate him for confirmation.”

“We also urge the Senate to carry out its duty to confirm Magu in line with constitutional and international requirements and without any political or ulterior considerations whatsoever.”

“The Senate must come clean and explain to Nigerians why it failed to invite the DSS to clarify its two reports or invite someone from the presidency to explain why Magu was re-nominated, and in fact to justify why it sent two reports in the first place. It is in the interests of justice and public engagement that Nigerians hear those explanations from the Senate as to why it chose the least favourable report to reject Magu,” the statement reads in part.

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