The Nigerian Senate is reportedly set to stop funding of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should the agency’s acting chairman Ibrahim Magu stay on in office after being rejected by the upper house of legislature.
New Telegraph reports that its investigations revealed that the Senate has resolved to give zero allocation to the anti-graft agency in the 2017 budget if the Presidency tried to leave Magu in the position in acting capacity.
The report quotes a source in the Senate as saying that the upper house had started planning for zero allocation for EFCC when it suspected that President Muhammadu Buhari might decide to resubmit Magu’s name for confirmation or quietly allow him to continue in acting capacity.
Already, EFCC’s 2017 budget proposal had been reduced by the Budget Office from N18.8 billion in 2016 to N17 billion, representing 8.5 per cent slash, which Magu had decried.
“The Senate is waiting for the Presidency to take the next decision on Magu and then it will unfold its next plan to checkmate the excesses and dictatorial tendencies already evident in the present administration, especially within the Presidency.
“If Magu’s name is resubmitted for confirmation, I can tell you that it is dead on arrival. But if the President wants to play a fast one on the Senate, by tactically allowing him to remain in acting capacity indefinitely, then we as the representatives of the people will have no option than to apply our constitutional powers in order to defend the people.
“I can assure you, EFCC will receive zero allocation; and if they go ahead to fund the agency without the National Assembly approving such funds, then that will amount to obvious breach of the constitution, and I am sure you know the implication of that,” the source said.
The newspaper also reports that senators have warned that Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign would be in serious jeopardy if Magu is allowed to continue in office as the acting chairman after being rejected twice by the Senate.
“It won’t be proper for the President to leave him to continue in acting capacity when security report says he (Magu) is corrupt and would be a liability to his anti-corruption fight. I believe that no President of a nation is expected to discountenance security report.
“We as a Senate and the representatives of the people cannot force Buhari to remove Magu, but you know that leaving him there raises a lot of questions on the sincerity and credibility of his anti-corruption war,” Senator Sonni Ogbuoji said.
Spokesman for the Senate Aliyu Sabi also agrees.
He said: “Are we saying that the DSS is incompetent? I need an answer from whoever may be advising the President not to remove Magu or to resend his name to the Senate.
“Are we saying that the DSS should now be rubbished and made object of ridicule? I insist that doing anything to rubbish the DSS would amount to rubbishing Nigerians. Doing so would also amount to rubbishing the institution. But I think the President knows better.”
On his part, Senator representing Kogi West Dino Melaye has warned President Buhari against any attempt at renominating Magu as boss of the EFCC.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said that following the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the EFCC twice, the president cannot validly re-nominate the same candidate again.