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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said on Thursday that the Senate is still awaiting a formal request from President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation from Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Lawan made the announcement when a delegation from the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption paid a visit of courtesy to his National Assembly office, Abuja.
Senator Lawan said the Senate is willing to approve all requests that come from President Muhammadu Buhari because they are in the best interest of the people.
He, however, stressed that the request to confirm Magu was yet to make it to the floor of the hallowed chambers.
“The appointment of EFCC’s acting chairman – there is no petition to approve the EFCC’s acting chairman before this Senate.
“This is a new Senate and there’s nothing the Senate can do until there’s a petition to this Senate.
“I want to assure you that any proposal from Mr. President is a request that will make Nigeria a better place either in terms of appointments or legislation and that the Senate will act quickly to ensure that we play our part in ensuring that legislation is properly approved or passed,” Lawan said.
In his speech, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee and Delegation Leader, Prof. Itse Sagay, requested the support of the upper chamber to ensure that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC was confirmed, as well as the consideration of several anti-corruption bills introduced by the Eight National Assembly.
Sagay also told the Senate leadership present at the meeting that the Committee had received complaints severely that members of the National Assembly, particularly committee chairmen, sought monetary compensation for oversight functions undertaken.
Responding to Sagay, the Senate President said:
“Going by our rules, any issue that was not concluded in the lifetime of the Eight National Assembly would have to start all over again.
“As far as we are concerned, from the very beginning these bills would have to come back and go through the process. If the bills are ready, we are prepared to start working on them.”
On the confirmation of Magu, Lawan said, “there’s no request before this Ninth Senate for the confirmation of the Chairman of the EFCC.
“This is a new Senate and therefore until there’s a request to this Senate, there’s nothing it can do.
“I want to assure you that we will play our part in confirming and passing legislation accordingly if any of these requests come from the President.
“On oversight, you mentioned that people complain that committees or members of the National Assembly demand monies from MDAs.
“I’m not receiving any complaint as far as I know. The law is there to take its full course if any committee asks for anything from any MDA that is not appropriate.
“We believe that before that committee undertakes any oversight, no committee or member of the National Assembly will go out of their way to ask anyone for anything.
“The ninth Senate has decided to take very seriously our oversight. We agree that after we pass the budget in a good time, it’s the best thing to do.
“We will therefore hold those appointed or entrusted with public funds responsible for the implementation and delivery of infrastructure and services.
“We believe that there is a need to apply the resources efficiently and prudently.
“In Nigeria, too, the cost of governance is too high. Today, we have more than seven hundred government agencies. Many of them add no value to governance.
“We believe that the time has come to review the functions of these agencies to determine their relevance.
“We need to look at how we are going to streamline these agencies to ensure we free our resources in order to add to our capital.
“The recurrence appropriation of 70% of our budget is not desirable. We need to work with the government’s executive arm to reduce it.
“Reducing them is not going to happen overnight because we first have to get rid of many agencies without throwing people out into the labor market.”
Senators present during the visit are: Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Age; Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi; Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda; Deputy Minority Whip, Sahabi Alhaji Ya’u; Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Bamidele Opeyemi; and Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.
Other senators at the meeting are: Senators Tolulope Odebiyi (APC, Ogun West); Oseni Yakubu (APC, Kogi Central); Chairman, Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Abubakar Kyari; Chairman, Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdul Kwari; Chairman, Committee on Water Resources, Bello Mandiya; Vice Chairman, Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Francis Fadahunsi, and Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, Suleiman Umar.