â€¢ INEC pastes notice of verification on senatorâ€™s recall
Martins Ifijeh in Lagos and Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The embattled senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, MondayÂ said rather than hold the Senate responsible for the non-confirmation of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the executive arm of government should blame itself.
He also said Magu was not confirmed by the Senate because he failed most of the questions asked during his screening for confirmation.
Speaking on Arise TV, a THISDAY Newspaper sister broadcast network, Melaye said in addition to his poor performance during screening, the report by the Department of State Services (DSS) on him was too weighty to ignore.
He also disclosed that since Magu became the head of EFCC, he has lost all high profile cases under his watch, including a case against the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, among others.
According to him, â€œMagu came for a job interview and failed. If you go for a job interview, you have to go with a mindset to either pass or fail. And every right thinking Nigerian who watched the screening of Magu can attest that he failed the interview.
â€œMost of the questions asked within the purview of the Senate could not be answered. Even a question was put to him concerning the constitution of EFCC, he could not answer. In one instance, he told us he had submitted a particular report to the presidency, . When we asked him to tell us about the report, he still couldnâ€™t answer. He told us the report was not with him at the Senate, so it will be difficult for him to respond. Thatâ€™s not acceptable,â€ he explained.
He said apart from the interview which he failed, the DSS report suggested he has integrity issue.
â€œThe DSS is to Nigeria what the CIA is to the United States. You cannot rubbish an institution like the secret service of a country. We could not wish away the report of the secret service.â€
According to him, a part of the DSS report said: â€œIt will be a calamity to the fight against President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s war on corruption if Magu is confirmed. So if a report as clear as that is brought to us, do you expect the National Assembly to do otherwise,â€ he queried.
He said even while a second opportunity was presented, the DSS still upheld the first report and the position therein.
â€œSo apart from Maguâ€™s performance during the interview, we could not jettison the report of the DSS.â€
He queried why the executive was selective on what law to obey and which not to. Sighting an example, he said when the Senate rejected two candidates of the president based on DSS reports, the executive promptly replaced them, but when same was done to Magu, the executive refused to follow through.
â€œRemember when we raised issue about an ambassadorial nominee, the presidency replaced him. Also, when the Director General of the National Lottery Commission resumed work without confirmation by the Senate, we took a position, which made the executive to withdraw him, while the presidency apologised. He was then presented to us. So we are not in a banana republic where the executive can decide which law to obey and which not to obey,â€ he said.
He called on the executive not to make Magu look like the last angel in Nigeria, adding that the executive was beginning to make it look like if Magu decides he is no longer interested in the position, that the EFCC will close up.
â€œMagu is a policeman recruited to serve this country. His mates are either area commanders or divisional police officers, so he can still be relevant to Nigeria. He doesnâ€™t have to be EFCC chair. Since he has been rejected by the Nigerian Senate, the onus fall on the executive to only obey,â€ he added.
On President Buhariâ€™s fight against corruption, Melaye said he believes the president means well, but added that the fight against corruption must go beyond arbitrary arrest.
â€œTo fight corruption in this country, we need to work on our institutions. Instead of building strong men, we need to build strong institutions. It is not just arbitrary arrest and media propaganda.â€
He said the perceived conflict between the executive and the legislature was normal, adding that whenever the two institutions are having a marriage of convenience, it would amount to satanic manifestations against the masses of the country.
â€œThe constitution has so designed the three arms of government to be so dependent on each other. The legislature for example is supposed to check the activities of the executives and the MDAs, and once you have somebody whose responsibility is to evaluate you, you donâ€™t expect a romance.
On his recall process from the Senate by his constituents, Senator Melaye said the exercise would fail because his people love him, adding that fake signatures were collected.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday commenced the process of recalling Melaye by pasting the Notice of Verification.
The Notice of Verification was pasted within and outside INEC local government council office in Lokoja for electorate to see what the next line of actions.
In a notice signed by the commission Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on July 10, 2017, INEC said: â€œIn accordance with section 69 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), notice is hereby given that the verification for the recall of the senator representing Kogi West senatorial district shall holdÂ on August 19, 2017.â€
INEC also stated in the notice that the verification to recall the senator would be held between 8a.m. to 2p.m. in the said date.