The Senate was on Thursday pleased with a court ruling that affirmed its decision to reject Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Magu was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari on two occasions, yet on that two occasions he was rejected by the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
In its ruling on Thursday, a Federal High Court in Abuja held that the Senate acted within the law when it rejected the nomination of Magu as chairman of the anti-graft agency.
According to the judge, JT Tsoho, the senate is not a rubber stamp body and was only acting in compliance with the EFCC law when it screened and rejected Magu.
He added that the Senate is conferred with the authority to ensure the choice of “only suitable and credible persons for appointment to the office”.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, who briefed journalists in Abuja after the ruling, made a copy of the ruling available to journalists.
The Senate’s spokesperson said, “We are pleased with this judgment and we want to salute Nigeria’s judiciary for always rising up to the occasion to protect our democracy and deepen our democratic processes.”
The lawmakers, while rejecting Magu, had also placed an embargo on confirmation of appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari which required legislative approval, to protest against Presidency’s position that some appointments did not require Senate’s approval.
Sabi-Abdullahi stated that the embargo would remain until Magu is replaced.
The suit, with Number FHC/ABJ/CS/59/2017, was filed by a lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Justice John Tsoho of the FHC sitting in Abuja on January 15, 2018, ruled on the issues raised by the plaintiff before striking out the suit.
Delivering the ruling, Tsoho said, “The plaintiff raised two issues in the written address for determination, to wit: Whether or not the 1st defendant (Saraki) can reject a valid statutory appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Office (of the Chairman) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in accordance with the provisions of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
“Whether or not the 1st defendant is bound by the provisions of the EFCC Act, 2004, with respect to the confirmation of any appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Office of the Chairman of the EFCC.”