A former Attorney-General of Ebonyi, Benjamin Igwenyi, says the Presidency is undermining the principle of checks and balances by insisting that Ibrahim Magu must be the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mr. Igwenyi, a constitutional lawyer, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
He said the statement credited to the presidency on the issue violated the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly to confirm nominees.
The presidency had on Thursday said that Mr. Magu would remain the EFCC boss even with the refusal of the Senate to confirm his appointment.
Speaking through Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State at the inauguration of EFCC zonal office in Kaduna, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo said Mr. Magu would remain in office for the tenure of the present administration.
According to Mr. Igwenyi, the presidency’s statement was in the wrong direction because it undermined the practice of checks and balance, the foundation of every progressive democracy.
“He should have been more polite in saying what he wanted to say.
“The law was made that the chairman of the EFCC should be cleared by the Senate.
“The law made provisions for the appointment of the chairman and that law was affirmed by the president in accordance with the Constitution.
“Somebody’s name was submitted pursuant to that law; he was rejected the first time by the people. The second time, he was also rejected by the people, which by implication means that Nigerians have rejected the man.
“And, the president in his personal wisdom feels that that man must be there. Why must it be Magu? Don’t we have other officers who can serve? There are so many of them.
“The three arms of government should have respect for themselves because in law, nobody is bigger.
“The national assembly has the power of confirmation.
“If a public officer has been turned down twice during screening, even if the person is in acting capacity, it means you need to bring a replacement for that individual.
“I think what the acting president should concern himself with is posterity, because whatever you do, are for the upcoming generation to come and see.
“We should avoid laying precedence that will have capability of consuming us as a nation,’’ Mr. Igwenyi said.