A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the Senate is conferred with the authority to ensure the choice of “only suitable and credible persons for appointment to the office”.
The court gave the ruling on Thursday in determining the suit challenging the Senate’s authority to deny an appointee to the office of Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the EFCC Act.
The court further held that any impression that the Senate is a rubber stamp of Presidential appointees is misconceived and running contrary to Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act.
The fitness or otherwise of Mr Ibrahim Magu to head the EFCC has been a major topic of dispute between the Senate and the Presidency for months.
Any expectation President Muhammadu Buhari had that the confirmation of Mr Magu, who he appointed as Acting EFCC Chairman on November 9, 2015, would be a smooth one faded away months into his tenure.
When the President wrote to the Senate on July 14, 2016, seeking Mr for confirmation, it took five months of delays and power play before a decision was taken.
On December 15, 2016, the Senate rejected Mr Magu’s nomination as the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, citing a report by the Department of State Security which deemed him unfit for the role.
The President, however, stuck with Mr Magu and re-nominated him in January 2017 for the role. Two months later, on March 15, 2017, the Senate again rejected him and asked the President to replace him.
Senate President Bukola Saraki declared at the time that with the second rejection Mr Magu ceased to be acting EFCC Chairman.
The Presidency, however, kept him in his role as acting EFCC chairman, a decision that angered the lawmakers, worsening an already frosty relationship between the two arms of government.