Wednesday, March 15, 2017 09.59PM / NASS
*PROCEEDINGS OF THE NIGERIAN SENATE OF WEDNESDAY 15TH MARCH 2017*
Senate President Bukola Saraki took the official prayer and led the chamber into today's proceedings.
Senator Yahaya Abdulahi moved for the approval of the Votes and Proceedings for Tuesday 14th March, 2017. Senator Hope Uzodinma seconded.
Senate President Bukola Saraki reads a letter from Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for a resolution from National Assembly to secure 500m Eurobond for funding of the#2017budget deficit.
1. Senator Sekibo raised a petition on a pipeline explosion which claimed the lives of 2 women and a man in Rivers State.
2. Senator Akpan Bassey spoke on the sacking of the whistleblower who exposed corruption in Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Both Petitions laid were referred to Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE:
Senate dissolved into the Committee of the Whole to receive the Comptroller General of Customs as Senate President Bukola Saraki read his letter dated 14th March, 2017.
Senate President Bukola Saraki said the Comptroller General made a position to hold action on the implementation of tariff & will make a press statement.
Based on the tension and misinterpretation caused by tariff, actions should be put on hold till the Senate Committee on Customs reaches a resolution.
"Ordering an officer of the rank of AC to address a letter to the Nigerian Senate is undermining to the Senate as an institution." -Senator Marafa Kabir says. He also said "Respect is a two way thing, he who shows respect begets respect."
Nigerian Senate should not debate issues with individuals, its a constitutional matter, it has gone beyond the Comptroller General, I cite Section 89 of the Constitution. -Senator Sekibo.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu said same way Customs should not be allowed to come into a Nigerians' house for duty on rice, same for cars. "This is not about the Comptroller General, it's about our people and the laws of our land, it's about the harassment of Nigerians by the imposition of duty" - Deputy Senate President.
Based on the constitution the Senate moved that the Comptroller General of Customs should appear tomorrow Thursday 16th March, 2017 by 10am unfailingly.
"Nobody is above the law, the CG must appear tomorrow." -Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senate reverted to Plenary to discuss progress on the letter from the Comptroller General customs.
CONFIRMATION OF APPOINTMENT:
Senate moved to the confirmation of appointment request of President Muhammadu Buhari of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes and other related offences Commission (EFCC) chairman.
Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu enters into the Chambers of te Nigrian Senate. He gave a brief introduction about himself. He stated that the National Assembly has been giving the needed Legislative backing to the EFCC. I look forward to the support towards fighting corruption. He looks forward to bringing new strategies for fighting corruption. He also looks forward to restructuring the Commision, expanding operations in Ibadan and Maiduguri, improve Manpower capacity.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu congratulated Mr Ibrahim Magu and asked him to state the response about the last DSS report.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu asked about the operations of the EFCC on disobeying court orders and cases of human rights abuse.
Senator Monsurat Sunmonu asked how the EFCC disposes its properties and if the public is carried along.
Senator Atai Aidoko asked about the operational procedure in detaining suspects on investigation.
Senate President Bukola Saraki stated a 14 page report was submitted by SSS against Mr Ibrahim Magu and would like to know how he replied to the Nigerian President.
Mr Ibrahim Magu said he did not come with the DSS report on the investigation carried out. He said on the house bought for him, he only stayed there because of its close proximity to work and to avoid late night movement.
"You need to expatiate on your activities on human rights. What are your findings and activities on the Paris Club fund?" - Senator Shehu Sani
Mr Ibrahim Magu said it is difficult to give report on how much has been recovered from the fight against corruption. He said the EFCC is not always right on its decisions, but the agency strive to do its best.
Senator Duro Faseyi: How much has been recovered so far by EFCC since you took charge?
Mr Ibrahim Magu: It is very difficult for me to say.
Senator Misau questioned why Central Bank Government who released money to Dasuki is not being investigated by EFCC.
Senator Misau asked is it body language of Nigerian President that EFCC uses to fight corruption since people close to President are not probed?.
Mr Ibrahim Magu responded to Senator Misau's question on Dasukigate he said EFCC has invited all who needs to be invited.
Senator Isah Misau "Dasuki took money illegally and not a single person from the CBN has been investigated or prosecuted so far".What is the concept of Financial crime as stipulated in the EFCC Act.
Mr Ibrahim Magu said once we can remove corruption in Nigeria, everything will be okay.
Senator Isah Misau asked the EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu if investigation or prosecution has to do with body language of the presidency.
Mr Ibrahim Magu said EFCC doesn't fight corruption alone that he is aware Nigerian Senate fights corruption as well. He said no body language in the fight against corruption. Said the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to the fight against corruption not in doubt. He also said Mrs. Diezani Alliison Madueke went to London with her clique that perpetuated the crime to defraud Nigeria,that they are on the run and he will get them. He mentioned that they are still fine tuning the whitlse blowers act. Mr Ibrahim Magu said he will not be surprised if whitlse blowers are to take the security agents to his house because he now has a big house. EFCC has special powers of being able to call up anyone for questioning even before a crime is committed.
"What are the special powers of EFCC under section 6 of the EFCC act". - Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senator Dino Melaye starts with "you speak the truth you die, if you lie, you die". He said he will speak the truth and die and that he loves Mr
Magu. He reads a new letter from the DSS received last night at 5.07pm. Paragraph 14 says "in the light of forgoing, "MAGU has FAILED INTEGRITY TEST". He stated that Every nominee before the Nigerian Senate we do request for screening by DSS, it did not start with you (Magu) and it won't end with you".
Senator Barnabas Gemade said in the DSS report are: Deals with security facts, Umaru Mohammed secured an accommodation for you and the question of integrity.
Mr Ibrahim Magu said two reports were submitted in one day about him and that questions the integrity of the DSS as well. He said Myself and Senator Dino Melaye have been fighting corruption before he became a Senator.
Senator Olujimi said "Mr. Magu, I feel for you, it is clear there are inter-agency problem in Nigeria. Can you say that anybody you are prosecuting will take you serious, why prosecute people on the Newspaper before it gets to court?"
Senate President Bukola Saraki thanked Mr Ibrahim Magu for his time and for answering questions before him. Magu now takes his leave. He said there's an administrative problem and asked the clerk to confirm if he received two letters from DG SSS.
The Clerk confirms that he received only one letter.
Senate President Bukola Saraki put the question before the Nigerian Senate on the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman. By popular votes, the nomination of Acting Chairman of EFCC is hereby rejected by the Nigerian Senate.
Ibrahim Magu's nomination and confirmation as Chairman EFCC was rejected by majority of Senators.
Senator Ndume raised to oppose the rejection of Magu. He agrees that Majority will have its way but minority must have its say.
Senate reverted to plenary to report progress of what transpired at the committee of the whole.
Senator Ali Ndume in a point of Order protested the non-confirmation of Ibrahim Magu and stated that the Nigerian Senate received two letters.
Senator Dino Melaye asked that following rejection of Magu as acting chairman of EFCC he should mandate most senior officer to take over.
"We should not rubbish the entire institution because of an individual". - Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senate President Bukola Saraki thanked his colleagues for their questions and observations, said "this is democracy and what we have done here is to ensure due process".
Senate Leader moved that other items on the Order Paper be stepped down to another Legislative day. Minority seconds.
Senate Plenary is adjourned to Thursday 16th March, 2017.