Incensed over perceived moves by the executive arm of government to undercut it with the ongoing fight against corruption, anchored by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Senate is considering the option of taking the Federal Government to court
The Senate, according to report, is not happy that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, who it rejected has continued to terrorise some of its members, a reason it resolved to seek judicial interpretation on the insistence by the executive arm to allow Magu continue in acting capacity despite rejecting him twice.
Some law enforcement agencies including the Police and the EFCC has stormed the private residence of Senator Danjuma Goje in Abuja with a search warrant and had thoroughly searched his residence Thursday night.
During the search, an unspecified amounts in both local and foreign currencies were said to have been found in Goje’s residence whereas, the former governor is said to have failed to offer reasonable explanation on reason he had such huge amounts in his residence.
Reports are indicating that the Senate after resuming for legislative business next week will also take on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on his defence of Magu and his allusion to a part of the constitution to defend the position to stick to Magu by the Presidency.
The Senate has been antagonistic to the measures outlined by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to fight corruption and had specifically sought avenues to remove Magu as the head of the EFCC.
More of the Senators, according to report, wanted Magu sacked because they have their files on corruption before the EFCC as some of them had at different times, been summoned by the EFCC on the allegation of corruption preferred against them.
About 19 former governors are currently in the Senate and have never been disposed to having Magu continue as the Chairman of the EFCC since most of them had either been charged to the court for prosecution or are currently being investigated on monumental acts of corruption.
The current senators who once served as governors are Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye of Plateau Jonah Jang of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, George Akume of Benue and Isiaka Adeleke of Osun.
The Punch in its current edition had quoted the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP/Enugu North), as stiffly opposed to the continued function of Magu as the EFCC Chairman.
Utazi had faulted Osinbajo and Falana for quoting Section 171 of the Constitution as empowering President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek Senate’s approval for Magu’s appointment.
“When the Senate sits (resumes from recess), we will reply he Vice-President on points of law. As a lawyer, one may say something and not say the whole truth but stop halfway to confuse the people,” he said.
Utazi stated that those who felt that what the Senate did on Magu was wrong should also take note of Order 131 of the Senate, “which says that once you come (are nominated) twice without success, you cannot come back (re-nominated).”
He added, “Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) empowers the Senate and the House of Representatives to make rules to guide their activities. That Section 60 is not inferior to Section 171 by any standard. The rule of the House is subsidiary legislation deriving its powers from the grand norm, which is the 1999 Constitution.
“The Constitution does not want to give us the rules that would be put in the Constitution. Therefore, by deriving its force from the Constitution, it is not inferior to any part of the Constitution.
“It is the same Section 60 that made the Attorney General of the Federation (and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to go to court when the Senate said it amended and adopted its rules, which they said was forged. He took the Senate to court and the reason was that it was a constitutional matter.
“We said it was an internal affair of the Senate but he said no; that even though Section 60 empowers us to do so, as the chief law officer of the federation, he would defend any infraction on the Constitution.
“The same executive cannot come back and say the same Section 60 that empowers the legislature to have its rules is inferior. Any lawyer can argue it; I am a lawyer.”
On his own, , Senator Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central) also called for wider consultations on the interpretation of the relevant sections of the law.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of worsening the crisis between the two arms of government.
“There is beauty of democracy in this thing. I don’t foresee any conflict. But for now, I am sure the lawyers will go to work and they will look at the various provisions and they will advise both sides.
“The executive will need more of the advice. I will also call Falana and hear from him because the Vice-President quoted him. I will call him for free consultation,” Marafa said.
Also, Senator Shehu Sani (APC/Kaduna Central), also said, “You can divide the Senate into three – those who are for Magu; those who are against Magu, and those who are neutral on Magu. As far as I am concerned, the best help Osinbajo can do to Magu is to host the APC Senate caucus and to put the ‘Presidential Villa house in order’.”