Senator Umeh: Why Senate Should Not Confirm EFCC Nominees

Victor Umeh, Senator representing Anambra Central at the Senate has given reasons why the red chamber should not confirm nominees of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Umeh who gave the reasons at the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday said those nominated should not be confirmed because some geo-political zones in the country were not represented at the anti-graft commission.

Chukwuka Utazi, chairman of the senate committee on anti-corruption, had presented a report on the screening of the some EFCC nominees by his committee.

Ndasule Moses, Lawan Mamman, Galadanci Najib and Adeleke Rafiu were the nominees recommended for confirmation as members of the EFCC.

Soon after the presentation of the report, a rowdy session occurred at the chamber with mostly southern lawmakers protesting against the recommendation.

While making his contribution, Umeh said there was not for other zones to be represented at the EFCC since Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the commission; and Olanipkekun Olukoyede, secretary of the commission, are from the north-east and south-west respectively.

“The south-south and south-east are not accommodated in the commission. On the issue of the fight against corruption – it involves all parts of Nigeria,” Umeh said.

“If you look at the composition, Mr President some people will think that the fight against corruption is instituted against them. There is need to take people from other geo-political zones,” he said.

Also, Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia south, said the consideration of the nominees should be stepped down until it is amended.

Responding, Utazi said a committee set up to look at the president’s alleged lopsided appointments had “gone underground and refused to present a report”.

Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, said Utazi should have drawn the attention of the senate leadership to the matter instead of bringing a report urging them to confirm the nominees.

At this point, both Utazi and Isah Misau, senator representing Bauchi central, interrupted Ndume.

“We must not divide Nigeria,” Misau said. While Utazi was heard saying: “I have the floor, go and sit down.”

“You have a rowdy floor,” another senator said.

The disorderliness went on for about 10 minutes before and this prompted the lawmakers to go into a closed-door session abruptly.

When they emerged from the closed-door session, Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that it had been agreed that the confirmation of the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) nominees should be suspended for further legislative input.