The Presidency may have resolved for now that Mr. Ibrahim Magu retain his position as the boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in spite of his rejection by Senate.
Pending judicial pronouncement, the government believes that Magu’s appointment does not need the confirmation of the Senate.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, the presidency based its decision on an advisory prepared by judicial and legal experts on Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution.
The experts brought up a ruling of the Supreme Court on the matter where the Chief Justice of the Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, before his elevation as CJN, ruled in line with the view of the Presidency on the matter.
Onnoghen had ruled that the constitution overrides any provision of an Act/Statute.
Following that, presidency said it would await the judicial review of Section 171 for the final say on Magu.
The legal experts asked the presidency to await a judicial pronouncement on Section 171.
“In fact, the conclusion of the legal advisory on the matter is very clear that a judicial pronouncement preferably by the Supreme Court is what will settle the matter,” a source told the Nation.
An extract from the report said: “The divergent positions being held by the Executive and the Legislature on the subject of confirmation …is one that requires timely and ultimate resolution.’’
“Such resolution could only be reached through judicial process…Such interpretation would lay to rest the lingering crises between the two arms,” another extract advised.
The rumblings over the confirmation of the EFCC Chairman have more to do with politics than with the law, the report said.
The advisory affirmed the powers of the president to appoint in acting capacity into positions such as the EFCC chairmanship.
“This position is because of the long established and entrenched principle of law that any legislation that is inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution is null and void and of no effect whatsoever to the extent of such inconsistency.
The Supreme Court cases of DR. OLUBUKOLA ABUBAKAR SARAKI v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2016) LPELR-40013 (SC) and CHIEF ISAAC EGBUCHU v. CONTINENTAL MERCHANT BANK PLC & ORS (2016) LPELR-40053 (SC) supports the overriding power of the constitution over any other Act.