By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
Contrary to reports, Senate Majority Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume said on Monday that the Senate neither rejected Ibrahim Magu’s nomination as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) nor called for the sack of Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal.
He said both cases were work in progress as the upper legislative chamber was yet to conclude deliberation on either of the cases.
The Senate Majority Leader made this assertion after a brief closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ndume further explained while fielding questions from State House correspondents that the confirmation of Magu was simply put on hold in view of a letter by the Department of State Services (DSS) raising multiple allegations against the nominee.
Asked to explain why Magu was rejected by the Senate, Ndume said: “No, no no. Let me say categorically that the Senate did not reject Ibrahim Magu as the chairman. What happened was that when we slated his confirmation for Thursday, then we had an issue of a letter from the Department of State Security (DSS) that could not allow us to continue with the confirmation without further clarifications. So, we now concluded that since we have a letter that we cannot ignore we cannot do the confirmation. So, it was not that we sat down to take a decision that we have rejected Ibrahim Magu. So, i want that to come out clearly.
“We specifically asked chairman media (committee) to issue a statement. What we said was that on that Thursday the Senate could not go ahead with the confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu and that we are in possession of a letter from the Department of State Service which requires clarification from Mr. President, who is the head of the government. That was what happened.”
Ndume further explained that even if the rejection was going to come, it was not going to come from the Senate because it had not done anything in that respect.
When reminded that the Senate spokesperson announced that the Senate rejected Magu, he said:
“I hope we are not arguing. I listened and I still listen because of this controversy that can come out. I’m part of the persons that wrote the short press statement which states that the Senate cannot continue with the confirmation. It is different from saying that the Senate has rejected. In fact we have referred the other four to the committee.”
Also reacting to the call by the Senate for the sack of the SGF, Babachir Lawal, Ndume stated that the Senate did not give any such order, adding that it was a mere recommendation which laced the force of law.
“It’s not an order we are giving. The Senate resolution is a recommendation, it’s not a law. What the Senate considered is work in progress because it was an interim report. It is the same public that is interested and worried to know what have we done as a Senate about those allegations. The committee issued an interim report and the interim report seemed to indict the SGF. The consequences of that indictment is what they recommended but we are not there yet because the report itself is interim,” he said.
Reports said the Senate had last week called for the sack of the SGF on allegations of corrupt practices involving his company in the administration of rehabilitation programmes of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North East of Nigeria where Boko Haram insurgents had ravaged lives and property.