The senate majority leader, Ali Ndume has denied reports that the upper chamber of the national assembly rejected Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Addressing state house correspondents on Monday, Ndume said even if Magu will be rejected, it would not come from the red chamber. He explained that Magu’s confirmation was put on hold because of a security report from the Department of State Services (DSS).
Ndume said the senate was awaiting the advice of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
“Let me say categorically that the senate did not reject Ibrahim Magu. What happened was that when we selected his confirmation for Thursday, we had an issue or a letter from the Department of State Security (DSS) that could not allow us to continue with the confirmation without further clarifications,” he said.
“So, we now concluded that since we had a letter that we could not ignore. So, it was not that we sat down to take a decision that we had rejected Magu. So, I want that to come out clearly.
“We specifically asked the chairman on media to issue a statement. What we said was that on that Thursday the senate could not go ahead with the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu and that we are in possession of a letter from the Department of State Service which requires clarification from Mr. President, who is the head of the government. That was what happened.
“Even if the rejection is going to come, it is not going to come from the senate because we have not done anything anyway.”
Back then, Aliyu Abdullahi, spokesman of the senate, had categorically said the nomination of the anti-graft czar was rejected.
“The nomination of Ibrahim Magu is hereby rejected and has been returned to the President for further action,” he had said.
Reminded of this, Ndume said: “I hope we are not arguing. I listened and I still listened because of this controversy that can come out.
“I’m part of the persons that wrote the short press statement which stated that the senate could not continue with the confirmation. It is different from saying that the senate rejected him. In fact, we have referred the other four to the committee.”
On the demand for Babchir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), to step down and face prosecution, Ndume said the senate said the lawmakers only made a recommendation and did not issue an order.
While deliberating on the report of an ad hoc committee set up to look into the plight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north-east, the senate indicted Lawal for allegedly abusing his office by misappropriating funds.
But Ndume said since there had been reports that Lawal was not given fair hearing, the senate would give him the opportunity to clear himself.
“The senate resolution is a recommendation, it’s not a law. What the senate considered is work in progress because it was an interim report,” he said.
“The public is interested in knowing what we as a senate had done about those allegations. The committee issued an interim report and the interim report seemed to indict the SGF, the consequences of that indictment are what they recommended, but we are not there yet because the report itself is interim. Ok, we take the interim report, we give the public until the whole investigation is concluded.
“I hear, coming from the SGF that he has not been given a fair hearing, so the hearing has not finished. We can give him an ample of time to go before the committee and clear himself.”