The Senate yesterday rejected the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman.
After a long closed session, the Senate drafted the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, to address reporters and announce the rejection of Magu’s nomination.
Abdullahi said the Senate’s decision not to confirm Magu was due to unfavourable security reports against his nomination. He did not say what the security reports were.
Abdullahi said: “This is an official statement from the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“It is a statement on confirmation of the nomination of Chairman and members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that based on security reports available to the Senate, the Senate cannot proceed and confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu Mustapha as the Executive Chairman of EFCC.
“Accordingly, the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and has returned the said nomination to Mr. President for further action.”
Asked if there was any confusion, especially when the screening of Magu and others was listed in the Order Paper, Abdullahi said: ”There is no confusion here. We have said it is based on security reports. Please, all of us public officers go for security screening, everybody. And we are saying based on security reports, we cannot proceed and confirm and we are rejecting it and returning it back to Mr. President for further actions; that is just the statement. It is as simple as that. That is exactly what the Senate has said and I don’t have any other explanation more than this.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki also announced that the Senate rejected Magu’s nomination and referred the nomination of four other members of the commission to the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption for screening.
The Senate had listed the “confirmation of nomination” in its Order Paper for yesterday’s legislative business.
The names listed as nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari are Magu (Chairman), Nda Sule Moses, Lawal Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu – nominated as members of the EFCC.
Buhari nominated Magu about six months ago as EFCC chairman and sent his name to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
High wired politics within and outside the Senate trailed the nomination forcing the Senate to keep the nomination in the limbo.
The closed session yesterday was said to have been heated as those in support of the screening and confirmation of Magu and others opposed to that were said to have been locked in a row.
At the end of the session, it was said that the upper chamber resolved to follow the security reports.
The Senate based its decision on security reports from the Department of State Services (DSS), it was learnt, but this could not be immediately confirmed.
The reports, it was learnt, catalogued what a source described as “the sins of Magu”.
It was also learnt that the Senate was reminded that Magu’s nomination was signed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when President Buhari was away.
Some highly placed Presidency officials were also said to have been uncomfortable with Magu and elected to ensure that the nomination did not sail through.
A highly placed Presidency official is said to be the arrowhead of the campaign to abort Magu’s nomination.
Magu and some EFCC personnel were already in the National Assembly complex yesterday when the news of the rejection of his nomination broke.
Magu was invited briefly into the Senate chamber. It was not however clear what transpired while he was in the chamber.