By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
LAGOS— The Senate leadership is considering two options to overcome constitutional hindrances being projected by administration officials not to seek fresh Senate confirmation for Mr. Ibrahim Magu, as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Following the second Senate rejection of Mr. Magu, administration officials and sympathisers had cited section 171 of the constitution to buttress the claim that Mr. Magu does not need Senate confirmation.
The provision stipulates that the President shall have the power to make appointments, including ambassadors, permanent secretaries, and heads of extra-ministerial departments.
The contentious provision now in dispute, Section 171 (4) states:
“An appointment to the office of Ambassador, High Commissioner or other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad shall not have effect unless the appointment is confirmed by the Senate.”
The provision specifically does not make mention of heads of extra-ministerial departments as requiring Senate confirmation, a development that has prompted some in the legal community, including Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to assert that Magu or heads of extra-ministerial departments do not need Senate confirmation.
Responding to the development, a senior official of the Senate said the Senate was pondering the option of going to the Supreme Court or altering that provision.
Noting the options, he said: “One is to amend it and make Section 171 subject to any act of the National Assembly. Two, is to go to Supreme Court to show that that section does not preclude the National Assembly from making laws that would subject certain appointments to Senate confirmation.
“If you look at section 5 of the constitution, which defines the powers of the National Assembly, it makes those powers subject to Acts of the National Assembly.
“So we can go and advance all the arguments at the Supreme Court and get it settled or just amend the constitution to avoid wasting our time.”