The Senate yesterday said its rejection of Mr. Ibrahim Magu’s nomination as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was sacrosanct.
The upper chamber also said the indictment of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal by the Senate in plenary followed the consideration of the report of the findings of its ad-hoc committee on humanitarian crisis in the Northeast.
Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs Chairman Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said at a news conference in Abuja that the clarification became necessary following the statement made on Monday by Senate Leader Mohammed Ali Ndume said on Monday that the Senate did not reject Magu’s nomination.
Sen. Abdullahi noted that the upper chamber did not only reject Magu’s nomination but had returned same to President Muhammadu Buhari for further action.
Abdullahi reiterated that the decision of the Senate to reject the nomination was informed by unfavourable security report.
The Niger North Senatorial District lawmaker, who said that the Senate was not aware of two security reports on Magu, insisted that all letters meant for Senate’s consideration were normally addressed to the Senate President or the Clerk to the Senate who will pass them over to the Senate President.
Abdullahi added that the Votes and Proceedings of the Senate on Magu’s nomination and rejection were unambiguous.
He said it was wrong for Ndume to mislead the public by painting a picture of what never happened on the floor of the Senate.
Ndume told reporters after a meeting with President Buhari that the Senate did not reject Magu’s nomination.
Abdullahi however said Ndume’s statement misrepresented what transpired in the Senate.
Abdullahi said: “The call to national duty is crucial. So, I am here based on series of calls and text messages from you about what you thought are conflicting messages. It has become critical for the Senate to clarify issues. The 8th Senate believes in its integrity.
“We uphold and promote the rule of law, which is the basic thing about our democracy. We are committed to doing things differently to stabilise the polity in the collective interest of Nigerians.
“I would like to make the following clarifications:
“I’m holding the votes and proceeding of Thursday. We had two votes and proceeding because we had to go into joint session to receive President Buhari.
“Our votes and proceedings are the official records of what transpired in chamber. I briefed you on Thursday to the effect that the Senate is announcing that in view of security reports we were unable to confirm Magu.
“We then rejected and returned the nomination to President Buhari for further action.
“Media reports emerging, especially from interviews granted by Sen. Ndume, meant we have to clarify issues.
“For the records, I am the official spokesman of the Senate and I intend to discharge this with honour and integrity because the sanctity of the institution is crucial to the sustenance of democracy.
“To clarify, I have only one point of reference, which is, the votes and proceedings.
“This is the only official position of the Senate. What I say, I say to on behalf of the Senate. Nigerians should be guided. There is no ambiguity in what we said.
“Senate is an institution and we are working with the Constitution and whatever rules we use, our powers are drawn from the constitution.
“We also want the media to be guided in the matter because of some misleading news in the public domain.
“Even with respect to SGF, you as journalists can do your proper investigation. The genesis was the motion raised by Senator Kaka (Garbai) and Ndume and Senate decided to take a look at the abuses and SGF was found to be part of the abuses.
“Allegations of two separate reports:
“Truth is sacrosanct. For every line of command, there is a line of communication. For the records, the leader that I know is Saraki and administrative leader is the Clerk to the Senate.
“ As a routine, when you have a nominee, security report should be given.
“The report we are talking about was sent to the Acting Clerk of the Senate. If you talk about two reports which one is the second one?
“I heard a report was sent to Ita Enag but I am not holding brief for him. He is a liaison officer and if there is any communication, Saraki or clerk are (sic) in charge.
“It will be unfortunate for anyone to say that Senate will be subjected to a report sent to the liaison office.
“This does not undermine his office; he is one of the highest ranking officers. Let us not bring Ita Enang to a cross fire.
“It is the prerogative of the Senate and they have exercised that prerogative.
“We are all guided by processes. If President Buhari is going to resubmit the communication for re-nomination, he must come with the necessary reports, either negative or positive.
“The report was signed. The Senate can’t just get a document from anywhere and work with it.
“Even petitions are signed, let alone a serious matter like this.
“The Senate leader is the Senate Leader, but I am the spokesman. He can’t do my job and I can’t do his job. He is my leader but we have different responsibilities.
“Occasioned by what he said, if people are making meaning from what he said, I am here to clarify.
“Nigerians are looking forward to all of us to take them out of recession.
“The media should also be guided to create environment for leadership to avoid tension.”