The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Transparency International-Nigeria (TI) and Zero-corruption Coalition (ZCC) expresses concern at the circumstances surrounding the non-conformation by the Nigerian Senate of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), upon his appointment by the President.
We find it worrisome that the confirmation of the head of such a strategic anti-corruption agency is taking so such a long time, having been first appointed in November 2015, and worse still at a time when the nation is reinvigorating the fight against corruption. CISLAC, TI- Nigeria and ZCC wonders if there is more to the unfolding events than meets the eyes.
We are further alarmed at the circumstances preceding the last session in which the Upper Chamber failed to confirm the appointee. The fact that the session was preceded by a rowdy sitting and the Senators resorted to a closed-door session further highlights the lack of transparency in the confirmation process.
We find the Senate’s reliance of a Security Report from the Department of State Services (DSS) as a reason for the rejection of the President’s appointee very curious. While we acknowledge that the Senators have the power of confirmation, as well as, the right of recourse to relevant institutions for vetting, this must be applied strictly for public good and in very transparent and accountable manner.
CISLAC, TI and ZCC therefore call on the Senate to make public the security report it depended upon to reject the confirmation. Merely reading it out in a closed session and applying it to arrive at such far reaching decisions fall short of the expectations of the electorates that they represent in the exercise of their powers.
We call on the DSS to publicly confirm that they are the source of the report in question and authenticate the content for the Nigerian public to know. Considering that the DSS is also an agency in the executive arm, it should indicate if the report was also shared with the President who appoints the EFCC chairman. This is to ensure that it is discharging its functions as expected by law and procedure.
We call on the Presidency to publicly state its position on the unfolding issues so that Nigerians can have a clear picture and draw their own conclusions as public support is crucial to a successful fight against corruption.
The position of the EFCC chair is a very sensitive one and its occupant must be held to the highest levels of integrity and credibility. A situation where individuals and groups hide under clandestine and unverified documents and reports to take decisions that could undermine the integrity of individuals and institutions at the forefront of the anti-corruption efforts will be a disservice to the nation and must not be allowed to stand.
We notify the Senate that their inability to come clean on these would only fuel the perception that their failure to confirm the appointment of the EFCC chairman who has acted for one year is linked to their personal and selfish desire to protect themselves and scuttle the fight against corruption of which several of their members have been beneficiaries.
We urge all well-meaning Nigerians and the media to kick against all manners of unjust decision or resolution by the Nigerian Senate to sabotage the on-going anti-corruption fight in the country.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director of CISLAC
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