Presidency speaks on Senate’s demand for Magu’s removal as EFCC boss

The Nigerian Senate is an arm of government that must
be respected in any decision it takes in the course of
exercising its powers as an independent institution, the
presidency said Tuesday.

The comment came in reaction to the decision of the
upper legislative chamber to suspend consideration of
his nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners in
protest against Ibrahim Magu’s continued stay in office
as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission.

The senators had declined to confirm Mr. Magu as
substantive chairman of the anti-graft office after two
requests by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president sent a list of 27 nominees to the Senate
last week.

The senators also protested alleged disrespect of the
National Assembly by appointees of the president.

The Senate has been locked in prolonged supremacy
battle with the Secretary to the Government of the
Federation, Babachir Lawal, and Comptroller-General of
Customs, Hameed Ali.

Mr. Lawal and Mr. Ali declined separate summons of the
Senate last week, over issues bordering on alleged
corruption and non-compliance official dress code,
respectively.

But speaking in response to the lawmakers, President
Buhari’s Senate liaison officer, Ita Enang, said the
administration will respect the decision of the
lawmakers and pursue dialogue with them.

“We will not question the power of the senators to take
decision on how they want to conduct nomination
hearings,” Mr. Enang told newsmen by telephone
Tuesday afternoon. “We will not go fighting with them”.

Instead, “we will listen to their grievances and reason
along with them,” Mr. Enang said shortly after the
Senate took the decision to protest Mr. Magu’s
continued stay in office.

He declined to say if the president will now ask Mr.
Magu to step aside, saying he will “not go into
specifics.”

Shortly after rejecting Mr. Magu penultimate
Wednesday, the senators urged the president to relieve
the EFCC chief of his job and name a temporary
replacement pending fresh nomination of a substantive
chairman.

Today’s development marked the second time in recent
months that the Senate would move to force the hands
of the executive on national issues.

In November 2016, the senators threatened to boycott
plenary to protest a prolonged delay in conducting re-run
elections in Rivers State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission swiftly
announced dates for the elections, which held the
following month.

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