Court declines Magu’s ouster

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The lingering legal battle and controversies surrounding the legitimacy of Mr. Ibrahim Mago’s position as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been laid to rest by a court judgement.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, declined to declare the continued stay of Magu as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, as illegal and unconstitutional.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in her ruling, said it is mandatory that Magu’s appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

The court held that the EFCC is not an extra-ministerial department of the Federal Government, and as such, the law provides that anyone nominated as its chairman by the president must pass through necessary “checks and balances” by the Senate.

The jurist said whereas Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, granted the president powers to appoint heads of extra-ministerial departments at his pleasure, Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, 2004, makes it mandatory that anybody nominated as EFCC chairman must be screened by the Senate to satisfy the interest of the public.

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Justice Ojukwu, however  noted that there is a lacuna in the law since Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act did not put a limitation on President Muhammadu Buhari’s powers to re-appoint Magu, subject to confirmation by the Senate, stressing that there is the need for a renewed consciousness that laws must be implemented in accordance with public interest.