There are strong indications that President Muhammadu Buhari is not happy with the Senate over its delay in the confirmation of the appointment of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
Punch not Thenigerialawyer gathered that the President felt that some powerful Nigerians, who were being investigated and prosecuted by the EFCC, were using the Senate to thwart the confirmation of Magu’s appointment.
It was learnt that Buhari had repeatedly expressed concerns about the non-confirmation of Magu’s appointment five months after his name was submitted to the Senate, to his aides.
Many believe that the delay in confirming Magu’s appointment is a fallout of the perceived poor relationship between the Senate and the Presidency.
The letter for Magu’s confirmation was dated June 17, 2016, and signed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was then the acting President, while Buhari was in the United Kingdom on a 10-day medical vacation.
The letter, which was received at the Senate on June 22 as indicated by the official stamp on it, was not read by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, until July 14.
In the letter, Buhari also sought the confirmation of Messrs Nasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.
A Presidency source, who confided in our reporter, said, “I can tell you that the President is not happy that Magu’s appointment has not been confirmed. He is aware that some powerful forces, who are against the anti-graft war, are behind the delay.”
At least nine senators are facing criminal investigations, while the Senate President’s wife, Toyin, had also been questioned by the EFCC.
Another Presidency source told one of our correspondents that the President might have brought up the issue of Magu’s confirmation during his closed-door meeting with Saraki on Friday.
Efforts to get the Chairman, Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-corruption, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, failed on Saturday night as he did not pick repeated calls made to his mobile telephone line. He also did not reply a text message sent to him.
Also, efforts to get the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who is the spokesperson for the chamber, to explain why the lawmakers had delayed Magu’s confirmation proved abortive. When calls were made to his mobile telephone lines on Saturday night, the service providers indicated that they were not available.
But a senator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the recent meetings between Buhari and Saraki were part of efforts to begin a cordial relationship between the Senate and the Presidency.
He stated, “I can assure you that Magu’s appointment will soon be confirmed. We have nothing against him.”
When asked to comment on the delay and what the President would do about it, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the Presidency had respected the principle of separation of powers by forwarding the name of the EFCC chairman to the Senate for confirmation and it was up to the Senate to play its part.
He said, “The President has sent the name to the Senate and it is up to them to confirm him.
“We respect the Senate and we cannot interfere in its affairs. The constitution has spelt out the role of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.”