Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says nobody can remove Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
He said this in Kaduna on Thursday while commissioning a zonal office of the EFCC.
Represented by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, the acting president described Magu as a “nightmare for corrupt people”.
“We have confidence in Magu to fight corruption to a standstill. He will remain the EFCC chairman as long as I remain the acting president and as long as Muhammadu Buhari remains the president,” he said.
“It is our belief that Magu will continue to remain a nightmare for corrupt people for years to come.”
Making personal remarks, el-Rufai said over N500 million had been recovered from corrupt officials of the past government and some contractors in Kaduna.
He added that those officials would be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution.
El-Rufai said because of the zero tolerance his administration has for corruption, the anti-graft agency EFCC encouraged him to establish a zonal office in Kaduna.
The governor promised to allocate a piece of land to the commission for construction of its training school and staff quarters.
There is a brewing crisis between the legislature and executive over Magu’s position.
On Tuesday, the upper legislative chamber resolved to suspend the confirmation of nominees sent by the executive over Osinbajo’s support for Magu.
Ahmad Yerima, senator representing Zamfara west, had moved a motion to stop the confirmation of Lanre Gbajabiamila as the director-general of Nigeria Lottery Commission.
He wondered why Osinbajo would send a nominee to the senate after he reportedly said the upper legislative chamber did not have the power of confirmation.
Yerima was making reference to a statement made by Osinbajo when he spoke with select media organisations, including TheCable, in April.
Osinbajo had expressed support for the view of Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, that the executive did not need to send the name of Magu to the senate for confirmation.
“There is an argument, whether or not we need to present him (Magu) for confirmation and that’s a compelling argument from Femi Falana,” Osinbajo had said.
“His (Falana) argument is that under the constitution, section 171, and if you look at that section, it talks about the appointments that the president can make. They include appointments of ministers, ambassadors and heads of agencies such as the EFCC. In that same section 171, the constitution rightly said that certain appointments must go to the senate such as ministerial and ambassadorial appointments. Those of heads of agencies like the EFCC do not have to go to the senate. That’s what the constitution says. But the EFCC act, which of course as you know is inferior, says that EFCC chairman should go to the senate for confirmation.
“I am sure that even a pocket book lawyer knows that when a legislation conflicts with constitution, it’s the constitution that prevails. I agree with Mr Falana that there was no need in the first place to have sent Magu’s name to the senate.”