UPDATED: Senate suspends confirmation of RECs to protest Buhari’s refusal to sack Magu

Nigerian Senate Chambers
Nigerian Senate Chamber used to illustrate the story.

The Senate on Tuesday suspended the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees for Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, after expressing concerns with the continued stay of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The lawmakers had twice rejected Mr. Magu’s nomination as EFCC chairman, basing their decisions on a report compiled by the State Security Service, SSS, accusing the acting EFCC chairman of corruption.

The Senators also accused some appointees of the president of disrespecting the National Assembly. The Senate therefore resolved to suspend the confirmation of REC nominees, in protest.

Mr. Buhari had last week nominated 27 persons for appointment as Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC.

Earlier Tuesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki said senators had at a closed-door meeting resolved to defend the integrity of the Senate. The decision to suspend the confirmation process was taken at that meeting, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

After the closed-door session, as the Senate’s proceedings progressed to Mr. Buhari’s confirmation request for the state electoral officials, RECs, Peter Nwaoboshi, Delta-PDP, moved a motion that the process be suspended, saying that appointees of the president had shown disregard for the Senate.

He was supported by Matthew Urhoghide, who specifically cited Mr. Magu’s continued leadership role at the EFCC despite being rejected twice by the Senate.

Other Senators, including Samuel Anyanwu, PDP-Imo, Francis Alimikhena, APC-Edo and Ike Ekweremadu, PDP-Enugu, backed the call for the suspension of the confirmation process.

Mr. Alimikhena said Mr. Magu is “terrorising us, because we disqualified him.”

In his contribution, Mr. Ekweremadu, the deputy Senate President, suggested that Mr. Saraki should convey the displeasure of the Senate to Mr. Buhari.

In its resolution, the Senate resolved to suspend the confirmation process for two weeks.

In the previous weeks, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, had sparred with the Senate over the now suspended policy on vehicle duty payment and the lawmaker’s insistence that he wears uniform to appear before them.

When Mr. Ali was scheduled to appear before the Senate again last week, after he was driven away for not wearing Customs.

Later, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, wrote the lawmakers, informing that they should not expect the Customs boss in view of a lawsuit on the matter.

The AGF’s letter was rejected by the Senate.

Another appointee of the President, the Secretary-General of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has also been not been having it smooth with lawmakers who accused him of contract fraud.

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