The confirmation process of the acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu before the Senate took a legal dimension yesterday as two different parties approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking legal interpretation on the legality or otherwise of the matter.
The two suits, already consolidated since the subject matter revolves around Magu, are now before Justice John Tsoho and the legal fireworks will begin on February 8, 2017.
A lawyer, Mr Oluwatosin Ojaomo, filed one of the suits before the court, praying it to make a declaratory order, deeming that the Senate has confirmed the appointment of Magu by President Muhammadu Buhari as chairman of the EFCC on the grounds of the provisions of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
In the suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/59/17 brought by way of originating summons, the plaintiff is also asking Justice Tsoho to hold that the Senate does not possess the statutory power to reject the valid appointment of Magu since the action of the president is in consonance with the EFCC (Establishment) Act , 2004.
The lawyer joined the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as co-defendants to the suit.
In his 19-paragraph affidavit, the lawyer is further urging the court to hold that Magu has been validly nominated, arguing that the Senate can only demand additional information on Magu in accordance with the statutory requirements as stipulated by the EFCC Act.
He is also asking the court to hold that the role of the Senate in the appointment of validly nominated EFCC Chairman in the person of Magu by Buhari is to ensure that the action is in conformity with the requirements stipulated in section 2 (1) (a) (I) (ii) (iii) of the EFCC Act.
According to the plaintiff, once this requirements are fulfilled by the president, the Senate is statute barred from rejecting presidential appointees, insisting that no such provision is made for rejection of a presidential nominee for the office of the EFCC Chairman in the said EFCC Act.
But another party, the Incorporated Trustees of Save Nigeria Group and the Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom of Human Rights Foundation International, also filed a different suit, asking the court to compel the president to nominate another person for Senate’s confirmation as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC on the grounds of Senate’s rejection of Magu on Thursday, December 15, 2016.
The two groups are further asking the court in their suit No FHC/ABJ/ CS/ 1072/ 16 to prohibit and restrict the president from further re-nominating Magu as the EFCC chairman, following the Senate’s rejection of his nomination.
Two lawyers, Mr Okere Nnamdi and Mr Marcus Saturday filed the matter on behalf of the groups.
The plaintiffs have also named the President, the EFCC, Magu, the Attorney- General of the Federation and the Senate as co-defendants to the suit.