Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC Chairman

Buhari Re-nominates Ibrahim Magu As EFCC ChairmanPresident Muhammadu Buhari appears to have re-nominated Ibrahim Magu to be confirmed by the Senate as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

It was gathered that the President’s letter to that effect has been received by the Senate and may be read on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday.

The federal lawmakers had in 2016 turned down the President’s request for the confirmation of Mr. Magu who is currently the acting chairman of the anti-corruption body.

They cited security report by the Department of Security Services (DSS) which the Senate claimed indicted Mr Magu.

The decision by the Senate had been a subject of controversy as former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, had insisted that Mr Magu was not rejected by the lawmakers but his confirmation was only stepped down for further consultation with the Presidency.

The position was swiftly countered by Senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, who insisted that the acting EFCC boss had been rejected.

He insisted that the official position of the Senate remained that the lawmakers cannot confirm Mr Magu because of security reports which showed that he was not fit to be EFCC Chairman.

In July 2016, the Senate received the letter from the Presidency for the confirmation of the appointment of Magu.

The letter also sought the confirmation of Mr Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.

Consequently, the Upper House sent back the nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on December 15, refusing to confirm Mr Magu’s appointment.

Mr Magu has been acting as the chairman of the anti-graft agency since November 2015, after President Buhari removed Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

Senate Insists Magu Cannot Be EFCC Chairman

Ibrahim Magu, EFCC Chairman, SenateThe Nigerian Senate has maintained its position that it has rejected the confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu, as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The spokesman for the Upper House, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, made the disclosure to reporters on Tuesday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Abdullahi said Nigerians should disregard comments made by any Senator or member of the public to the contrary.

He insisted that the official position of the Senate remained that the lawmakers cannot confirm Mr Magu because of security reports which showed that he was not fit to be EFCC Chairman.

In July 2016, the Senate had received the letter from the Presidency for the confirmation of the appointment of Magu.

The letter also sought the confirmation of Mr Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Imam, and Adeleke Rafiu as members of the commission.

Consequently, the Upper House sent back the nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on December 15, refusing to confirm Mr Magu’s appointment.

Mr Magu has been acting as the chairman of the anti-graft agency since November 2015, after President Buhari removed Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government Officials

Buhari Orders Probe Of Top Government OfficialsThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the probe of some of his top appointees following allegations of corruption.

The President’s Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu announced this in a statement on Sunday.

“The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to a number of reports in the media, in which various accusations of corruption have been levelled against some top officials in the administration.

“In that regard, President Buhari has instructed the Attorney General of the Federation to investigate the involvement of any top government officials accused of any wrong-doing.

“If any of them are liable they will not escape prosecution,” the statement reads.

Although the statement does not specify the identities of those marked for probe, the move might not be unconnected to allegations of corruption against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal.

cabal, presidency, SGF, Babachir LawalThe Senate on Wednesday, December 14, demanded the resignation of the SGF
over his alleged involvement in a 223-million-naira contract meant for the humanitarian crisis management in the north east.

The Senate also refused to grant confirmation to the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) saying ‘security report’ available to it showed that Mr Magu is not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the SGF has denied the allegations against him, his comments have not gone down well with the Senate, who have expressed displeasure at his choice of words.

Mr Magu is yet to react to his non-confirmation by the Senate but a number of civil society organisations have condemned the decision.

Apparently Manufactured

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, described the Senate’s non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) as appalling and ridiculous.

In a statement by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, the group believes that the Senate knows Magu’s salts and the fact that he is worth it and are only trying to stop him from leading the anti-corruption fight.

Magu's Confirmation: Conspiracy Between DSS And Senate Is Appalling - CACOLCACOL stated: “The truth is, if mischief was not involved, why would the DSS submit the so-called damning report to the Senate, rather than begin where they should have begun?

“For crying out loud, the head of the DSS sits on the Board of the Commission of EFCC as constitutionally required by the Act that established the agency i.e. EFCC Establishment Act 2004.

“Again, why would such a sensitive report on someone who has occupied such a sensitive position for about one year be delayed till this time? What sort of security apparatus will so wickedly wait till now while our country was at such ‘grievous’ risk before releasing these apparently manufactured allegations against Magu?”

Politically Motivated

The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability (SERAP), has also dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the EFCC.

SERAP petitioned the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the Senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

SERAP Drags Senate To UN Over Magu’s Rejection

SERAP Drags Senate To UN Over Magu's RejectionThe Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP), has dragged the Nigerian Senate before the United Nations over its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

SERAP is petitioning the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, over alleged intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment of Mr Magu by the senate in collaboration with other agencies of government.

According to the group, the upper house used what it describes as “a purported security report it knew, or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated” to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive EFCC Chairman.

A statement signed by the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said:

“The Senate of Nigeria has flagrantly violated Ibrahim Magu’s right to a fair hearing, and is implicitly working to weaken, intimidate, harass and ultimately undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC in its efforts to combat high-profile official corruption”.

The Senate, explaining the reason behind the decision, said that security report available to it showed that Mr Magu was not fit to be chairman of the body.

In this regard, the lawmakers sent back his nomination letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), also said the non-confirmation, based on what was described as a ‘security report’ from the Department of State Services (DSS) was appalling and ridiculous.

SERAP on the other hand says it has reviewed the security report, which primarily alleged that sensitive and unauthorised EFCC official documents were found in Mr Magu’s home.

“SERAP is aware that this allegation was part of the conspiracy to harass Mr Magu and frustrate his anti-corruption work, as he was unjustly detained for three weeks.

“Following investigation by the police authorities in 2008, Mr Magu was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing, and in fact promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“The report also incorrectly stated Mr Magu currently occupies a residence rented for 40 million Naira at 20 million per annum and paid for by allegedly corrupt person. But SERAP’s finding shows that the property was in fact paid for by the Federal Capital Development Administration.

“SERAP thus believes that the purported rejection by the Senate of Nigeria of Magu’s appointment as the chairman of EFCC is politically motivated and in bad faith and part of a persistent move by the National Assembly of Nigeria including the Senate and the House of Representatives and other agencies of government apparently working with them to undermine the ongoing fight against corruption which Mr Magu is leading, and invariably, the independence and freedom of action of anti-corruption agencies including the EFCC.

“SERAP considers Mr Magu to be a human rights defender within the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1998 (UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders).”

“SERAP therefore urges you to urgently assert your mandates to put pressure on the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government apparently working with them to end continuing harassment and intimidation of Mr Magu by immediately withdrawing any politically motivated allegations against him.

“We also urge you to send a strong message to the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government that the campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights and anti-corruption campaigners is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated,” the statement read.

Reps Challenge INEC On Delimitation Of Constituencies

House of Representatives, Reps, INEC, ConstituenciesThe House of Representatives has questioned the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out proper delineation of 66 electoral constituencies across Nigeria.

The House considered a motion on the matter put forward on Thursday by a member representing Rivers State, Kingsley Chinda.

Mr Chinda informed the lawmakers that INEC’s action had denied people of the 19 affected states of their constitutionally guaranteed right to adequate representation in the state houses of assembly.

The House has urged the electoral commission to immediately outline the said constituencies in line with the provision of Section 91 of the constitution and the 2006 population figures.

The legislators also resolved to forward a copy of the resolution to the Senate for concurrence.

Lawmakers Threaten To Suspend Sittings

The query comes barely a day after the Senate threatened to suspend its sittings if INEC does not conduct the re-run senatorial election in Rivers State by December 10.

The sponsor of the motion and Deputy Senate President, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, called the attention of the Upper House to the pending elections and the failure of INEC to act accordingly.

He was worried that the commission was breaching the Electoral Act, adding that the act had led to the absence of representatives from Rivers State in the Senate after the election was declared inconclusive.

Bill To Cater For Inmates’ Babies Scales Second Reading At Senate

Senate, Inmates' BabiesThe Senate has passed for second reading, a bill which seeks to protect babies born while their mothers are serving jail terms in prisons across Nigeria.

The sponsor of the bill, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, enlightened lawmakers at the Upper House on the benefits of the proposal.

Senator Tinubu explained that if passed into law, the bill would ensure that prison authorities provide special accommodation to meet prenatal and postnatal needs of pregnant inmates.

She told her colleagues on Wednesday that the condition of babies and mothers serving jail terms in Nigerian prisons was disheartening and should be of serious concern to the parliament.

“There is need for a Crèche, Nursery and a separate facility to improve conditions of Nursing Mothers and Children in Prison,” Senator Tinubu stressed.

Appalling Condition Of Prisons

The lawmaker further expressed displeasure with the condition of most of the prisons, saying they do not provide for nursing mothers serving their jail terms.

In a similar development, the Senate decried the situation in Nigeria’s major prisons, describing it as appalling.

It pointed out that the prisons needed improvement, something that a bill for an act to repeal and re-enact the Prison Act may be addressing at the completion of the process.

The bill was also brought before the Senate for its second reading on Wednesday.

It was sponsored by Senator Shaba Lafiagi who also led the debate on the bill.

National Assembly Wades Into Aviation Industry Crisis

lagos airportLawmakers at the National Assembly have held separate sessions over the proposed concessioning of four airports by the Nigerian government.

Thursday’s proceedings at the House of Representatives public hearing was centred on how to rescue the aviation industry from the imminent collapse.

The legislators at the lower house deliberated on the planned concession of some airports and some past agreements which have degenerated into a legal tussle.

Some stakeholders in the sector such as the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, Wale Babalakin and the Deputy General Manager of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Monica Alphonse, made presentations to a committee of lawmakers over the matter.

The committee also heard from the Deputy Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Onyinye Ahuchogu, on the issue of foreign exchange for the aviation sector.

They consequently directed the CBN to put a special exchange rate in place for the sector.

The committee hinted that it would present the recommendations to the leadership of the House at the end of the public hearing.

Meanwhile, the Senate has resolved to support the steps being taken by the Federal Government to intervene in the current challenges being faced by the industry.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by a member of the Senate from Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye.

Senator Melaye expressed concern over the emerging challenges facing the aviation sector as a result of the current economic downturn.

Senate Begins Public Hearing Into MTN’s Fraud Allegation

Senate on Whistle Blowers Bill and Witness Protection BillThe Senate has begun investigation of alleged connivance of communication giant, MTN and some banks in the repatriation of $13.92 billion out of Nigeria between 2006 and 2016.

The probe kicked off on Thursday at a public hearing in the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

A lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, claimed that MTN did not request for a ‘certificate of capital importation’ from its bankers, Standard Chartered Bank within the regulatory period of 24 hours of the inflow.

Giving his testimony, a member of the MTN Board, Mr Pascal Dozie, described the allegation as false, saying the company never contemplated breaking any Nigerian law.

He further explained why his company did not request for the said certificate.

The Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Mr Jim Obazee, blamed the failure of regulatory agencies such as the CBN for the gradual depletion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, was also scheduled to give his testimony on the allegations leveled against him in the matter but left immediately after the opening ceremony.

This annoyed the Senate Committee on Banking and they threatened to sanction him for what seemed like a refusal to verbally address the accusations.

They also promised to analyse the documents submitted by all concerned parties in the next few days.

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, earlier hinted that the lawmakers had engaged the services of foreign and local forensic experts to investigate the alleged scam.

He told reporters at the National Assembly that the committee had also invited the management of the MTN and other stakeholders for questioning.

Senate Probes MTN Over Alleged $13.9bn Money Laundering

Senate Probes MTN Over Alleged $13.9bn Money LaunderingThe Nigerian Senate has launched an investigation into the alleged money laundering by Nigeria’s telecommunication giant, MTN.

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Senator Ibrahim said the committee had engaged the services of foreign and local forensic experts to investigate the alleged $13.9 billion scam by MTN.

He told reporters at the National Assembly that the committee had also invited the management of the MTN and other stakeholders.

The other stakeholders invited are Central Bank of Nigeria, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Elenemah‎.

The probe follows the directive by the Upper House to investigate the alleged illegal transfer of the said sum by MTN in connivance with some Nigerians.

The transaction was purportedly facilitated by four commercial banks in Nigeria.

Lawyer Says Constituency Project Is Unconstitutional

constituency projectA legal practitioner, Dr Tunji Abayomi, says that the execution of constituency project by members of the National Assembly is unconstitutional.

There have been debates over the recent revelation by the federal government that constituency projects usually embarked upon by federal lawmakers might not be implementable in the 2016 budget.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal has explained that this is because of a sharp drop in revenue by over 60% but this has not gone down well with the National Assembly.

However, Mr Abayomi is of the view that this explanation should not have been the response of the SGF but rather stating clearly that embarking on constituency projects is unconstitutional.

He stated that the reason behind the idea of constituency project is corruption and it has “nothing to do with development”.

“There is nothing like that in any legislative house anywhere in the world,” he argued, adding that it also never existed in past democratic governments in the country.

“We must understand that this appropriation in the National Assembly is the greatest corrupt enterprise that this nation faces.

“What do they use it for? Town hall, clinics and all sorts of ridiculous projects that have nothing to do with the development of the country. That is why they are fighting so hard for it.”

He said that the job of the legislature is to make laws and not to execute projects and the Nigerian Constitution is clear on this.

FG May Not Fully Implement 2016 Budget – SGF

2016 BudgetThe Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, has said that the federal government may not fully implement the 2016 budget, owing to a sharp drop in revenue by over 60%.

The SGF gave the revelations when he appeared before a joint senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions and that of appropriation and finance.

He was there to defend his comments in an interview he granted to one of the national dailies that the federal government may not implement constituency projects in the 2016 budget.

He blamed the development on the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region.

He said that the oil benchmark of the federal government has been drastically affected by activities of militants, adding that the country was producing about 800,000 barrels per day.

Some members of the committee insisted that the provision of the constituency allowance would go a long way in providing basic amenities for Nigerians.

Senate Summons SGF Over Comments On Constituency Project Allowance

Senate, SGF, Constituency Project AllowanceSenate has summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal, over his comments on the withdrawal of constituency project allowance for federal lawmakers.

The resolve was made after the legislators debated a motion raised by a representative from Edo State, Senator Matthew Urehogide, on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The matter which came under matters of urgent national importance at the floor of the Senate was viewed by lawmakers as an attempt to stop the provision of the dividends of democracy for members of their constituents.

They argued that the funds were already captured in the 2016 Budget and needed no further debate.

A senator from Ekiti South, Biodun Olujimi, gave his view on the issue and urged public officers to speak with caution.

However, another lawmaker from Kebbi North, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, noted that the SGF should not be blamed.

After much deliberations on the matter, the Senate summoned Mr Lawal to appear before its Joint Committee on Ethics, Budget and Appropriations.

The upper house directed its committee to get back to the Senate with its report within a week.