A human and environmental rights promotion organisation has decried the refusal of the Senate to screen nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the situation had incapacitated many federal agencies.
The Senate last year resolved to suspend confirmation screening of nominees submitted by the executive in protest of the retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite the senate twice refusing to confirm his nomination as substantive chairman of the agency.
But the Human and Environmental Developmental Agenda (HEDA), said the resolution by the Senate not to screen and confirm nominees from the executive was undermining governance and frustrating the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
It gave the Senate a seven-day ultimatum to resume the confirmation of nominees, warning that it would head to court if the lawmakers ignore the ultimatum.
HEDA stated this in a petition it sent to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and signed by its Resource Centre’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju.
The group said in the petition that it was deeply worried by the failure of the Senate to discharge its constitutional duty of confirming people nominated to administer “strategic institutions responsible for governance, economy, development and anti-corruption agenda of the government.”
According to the group in the petition to Mr. Saraki, “Newspaper headlines are speculating political motive not unconnected with differences between the Senate and the Presidency (and that it) is responsible for Senate’s deliberate withholding of a constitutional duty in the confirmation of about sixty nominees from the President.
“The Senate under your leadership has delayed some of the nominations for a period of over six months. This has not only affected the confirmation but it has also continued to affect the smooth running of the affected Federal Government Agencies who are still having problems clearing their nominees in the Senate.”
HEDA noted further that: “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has been incapacitated with the absence of an Acting or Substantive Chairman. That institution with enormous responsibility in the fight against corruption is on the long list of government agencies adversely impacted by the inexplicable constitutional dereliction on the path of your Senate.
“Failure to screen and confirm the chairman designate is an utter disregard for your responsibility as provided in section 3(6) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act which states that: ‘the chairman and members of the commission who shall be persons of proven integrity shall be appointed by the president, upon confirmation by the senate and shall not begin to discharge the duties of their offices until they have declared their assets and liabilities as prescribed in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’
“Failure of the Senate to exercise its statutory duty in confirming the ICPC chairman designate is undermining and frustrating the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.”
HEDA gave the Senate a seven-day ultimatum to commence the process of confirmation for the nominees, after which it vows to institute a legal action against the Senate if it failed to discharge its statutory responsibility in that regard.
“We therefore, by this letter, call on the 8th Senate under your leadership to activate the process of confirming the sixty nominees within seven days of the receipt of this petition, failure of which we shall institute an action in court to compel you to discharge your statutory duties,” the petition said.
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