by Hassan Adebayo,
The Senate has countered its Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, by restating its rejection of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The Senate had last Thursday turned down a request from the Presidency that Mr. Magu be confirmed for the top EFCC job. It cited “security report”.
The report, later seen by PREMIUM TIMES, accused Mr. Magu of lacking the integrity to head the anti-graft agency, and engaging in questionable dealings.
A previous PREMIUM TIMES’ report showed the allegations were largely misleading.
But four days after the Senate’s initial position, Mr. Ndume told journalists at the State House on Monday that Mr. Magu was not rejected.
He said the Senate merely stepped down Mr. Magu’s confirmation hearing until integrity issues raised in the SSS reports are resolved.
But in a counter reaction, Abdullahi Sabi, the Senate’s spokesperson, on Tuesday, reaffirmed the Senate’s position.
“This is the official position of the Senate,” he emphasised.
“Our votes and proceedings are the official records of what transpired in the chamber. You remember on that crucial date we had the closed session where we looked at the issues.
“Now, I had to come here and brief you, with the effect that ‘the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is announcing to the general public that in view of the security report available to us, we are unable to proceed and confirm the nominee to the office of the executive chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu,’ and I said accordingly ‘the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and returns the nomination to Mr. President for further action.’
“I am quoting myself verbatim as I had said it and as the official spokesperson of the Senate.
“Media reports have emerged especially taken from the interview granted by our leader, Senator Ali Ndume as may be depending on how people have read it. I have not seen it but the calls from colleagues, text messages meant that we have to clarify issues. For the record, I am the official spokesman of the Senate. I am not speaking for myself, I am speaking for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the capacity I was so designated.
“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt, members of this very esteemed Press Corps had that statement recorded that day. My press statement also was recorded that day. So, for me that is the official position of the Senate and it remains the only official position of the Senate and I am saying so with all emphasis. What I said on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria remains the only official statement of the Senate,” Mr. Sabi said.
He added Mr. Ndume is majority leader of the Senate with clear cut responsibilities, which cannot be inter-changed with his (Mr. Sabi’s) own assigned duties as the official spokesperson of the Senate.