Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN) has asked the senators demanding the removal of Ibrahim Magu, to wait until they install Senate President Bukola Saraki as Nigeria’s acting president.
In a statement on Thursday, the lawyer faulted the resolution of the senate that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo should sack the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Describing the resolution as an exercise in futility, Falana accused the Senate of combining legislative powers with executive functions. He referred to the call for Magu’s removal as a desperation “to institutionalise official corruption and impunity in the country”.
The resolution of the Senate was alleged to have been anchored on section 2(3) of the EFCC Act. Before passing its resolution, the Senate ought to have known from the clear and unambiguous provision of section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act that it has not been vested with the power to confirm or approve any person appointed by the president to hold office in an acting capacity.
To that extent, the resolution of the Senate constitutes an affront to section 171 (1) of the Constitution which stipulates that: Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which this section applies to remove persons so appointed from any such office shall vest in the president. “It is further submitted that section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act relied upon Senate to justify the confirmation of the chairman of the EFCC is inconsistent with section 171 (2) of the Constitution.
Indeed, of all the positions listed in subsection 2 of the constitution is only in the appointments of ambassadors and high commissioners made by the president which require the confirmation of the Senate.
Since the EFCC is an extra-ministerial department of the federal government, the appointment of its chairman does not require the confirmation of the Senate.
In other words, section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act is inconsistent with section 171 (2) of the Constitution. To that extent, the resolution of the senate based on the EFCC Act is an exercise in futility.
In view of the foregoing, the implementation of the resolution of the Senate on the removal of Mr Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC should be ignored by the presidency on account of its apparent illegality.
However, the distinguished senators who are desperate to institutionalise official corruption and impunity in the country by removing Magu from office may have to wait for the planned installation of Senate President Bukola Saraki as the acting president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!