The Senate has denied reports that it is planning to delay the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, four members of the commission and the 47 career Foreign Service officers submitted for consideration as ambassadors by President Muhammadu Buhari for eight weeks.
A national daily had reported that senators were mulling this option as retaliation for the Executive’s decision to go ahead with the arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu for alleged forgery of the Senate Rules.
The report said already, the senators, who have drawn the battle line with the Executive, have delayed the screening of Magu and four other members of the anti-corruption agency for three weeks after a letter sent by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo when he was acting president, was received on June 22 by the office of the Senate president but was only just read last Thursday during plenary.
Similarly, President Buhari on June 9th, sent the list of the nominees to the Senate for confirmation as Ambassadors but the senators on June 22 summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to explain why the list did not reflect federal character.
Normally, Executive correspondences are treated with dispatch by the National Assembly but sources in the Senate confirmed that the delay in reading of the letter was part of the plot to frustrate the confirmation of Magu.
Confirming the plot to delay the screening and confirmation of the president’s nominees, a senator, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Daily Trust on Sunday, said “This Thursday, we are going on our annual recess which will last for eight weeks. If we proceed without the confirmation, it means they will have to wait till we return.
“Magu has a better chance of being screened and confirmed this week if those who are nursing grudges against him sheathe their swords but for the ambassadorial nominees, they will have to wait till we resume”, he said.
The senator stressed that “our colleagues who have cases at the EFCC see this as opportunity to hit back at Magu. So, we are afraid that if he appears for confirmation this week, he may not scale through”.
He, however, pointed out that a delay may turn out to be a blessing for the EFCC boss because it would enable him to personally reach out and lobby for his confirmation.
When contacted, the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Babajide Christopher Omoworare (APC, Osun East) denied the existence of any plot to delay the screening and confirmation of the president’s nominees, saying the confirmation of Magu and four other members of the EFCC, would be listed for deliberation on Tuesday.
“Since the letter of Mr. President has been read, it will be listed on the order on Tuesday. For the ambassadorial nominees, I hope the report of the Foreign Affairs committee would be ready on Monday (tomorrow), if it is, it will be listed on Tuesday”, he said.
The Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC, Kebbi South), was emphatic in his reaction to the allegation that they are plotting to delay the confirmation, saying “It is not true and please you should avoid spreading falsehood”.