Why we rejected Magu — Saraki
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.
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.