Why we re­jected Magu — Saraki

Daily Trust - - NEWS -

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki, said con­trary to in­sin­u­a­tions, the Se­nate had no pre-med­i­tated plan to re­ject Ibrahim Magu as chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC).

Saraki said while fea­tur­ing on the News Agency of Nige­ria (NAN) Fo­rum in Abuja that the screen­ing of Magu, which led to his re­jec­tion, was trans­par­ently done.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Magu’s re­jec­tion was prompted by re­port from the Depart­ment of State Ser­vices (DSS), among other is­sues, and the screen­ing was aired “live’’ on na­tional tele­vi­sion for all Nige­ri­ans to watch.

“I think there is a lot of mis­un­der­stand­ing and black­mail and all is not in the in­ter­est of democ­racy.

“The re­jec­tion of can­di­dates pre­sented to the Na­tional As­sem­bly is a process. It is a process that is not restricted to the EFCC chair­man.

“It is a process that has to do with the Gov­er­nor of Cen­tral Bank, Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of Lot­tery Com­mis­sion, Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion and other rel­e­vant agen­cies.

“We have ap­proved many peo­ple from the ex­ec­u­tive and we have re­jected some and when we re­ject them, it is not for any per­sonal rea­son, be­cause it is a process.

“Magu’s screen­ing was on a Wed­nes­day when we air ple­nary `life’. That is to show you how trans­par­ent the Se­nate was on Magu’s con­fir­ma­tion.

“We screened him on a Wed­nes­day so that all Nige­ri­ans can watch,’’ he said.

Saraki main­tained that the de­ci­sion of the Se­nate to re­ject the con­fir­ma­tion of Magu was in the in­ter­est of democ­racy.

He added that the de­ci­sion was based on a test which he failed, adding that if the Se­nate had dis­re­garded the DSS re­port and went ahead to con­firm Magu, pos­ter­ity would judge the mem­bers.

“This is about an in­sti­tu­tion; let us say you are screen­ing the Gov­er­nor of Cen­tral Bank and EFCC re­ports that the man lacks in­tegrity and that he is not hon­est, will you just dis­card that.

“Even if you do, years later you are weak­en­ing that in­sti­tu­tion.

“We should stop talk­ing about per­son­al­i­ties. We should be fo­cus­ing on how to strengthen our democ­racy.

“When par­tic­u­lar some peo­ple have in­ter­est, they will try and bring this down to in­di­vid­u­als. There is noth­ing per­sonal on the per­son­al­ity of the act­ing chair­man of EFCC.

“As an in­di­vid­ual, I have had a per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with Magu, where he stood up for what is right.

“I re­mem­ber dur­ing the for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, where be­cause we were fight­ing some of the is­sues then, some of us were sent to the EFCC.

“I re­mem­ber I was sent to Magu’s of­fice. They were try­ing to get him to in­ves­ti­gate some­thing of 10 years, 12 years ago; I re­mem­ber Magu said no­body was go­ing to use him,’’ he said.

On al­lega­tions that Magu’s con­fir­ma­tion was stalled for fear that sen­a­tors may be pros­e­cuted by him, Saraki said it was far from the truth.

He pointed out that the fear that some of the for­mer gov­er­nors, who had cases to an­swer may have con­trib­uted to the re­jec­tion was un­founded.

Ac­cord­ing to him, some of the for­mer gov­er­nors al­ready had cases be­fore the courts, and Magu, even if he was con­firmed, couldn’t have gone to the courts to with­draw the cases.

Photo: LASG

From right: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of La­gos State Gov­er­nor & Com­mis­sioner for the En­vi­ron­ment, Dr. Ba­batunde Ade­jare; Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment, Mr. Abio­dun Bamg­boye; Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary, La­gos State En­vi­ron­men­tal Trust Fund, Mr. Kunle Otuse­made and Chief Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cer, Vi­sion­scape Group, Mr. Thomas For­gacs dur­ing a me­dia work­shop on the Cleaner La­gos Ini­tia­tive, held in La­gos yes­ter­day.

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