Senior lawyers yesterday expressed different views on the status of Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) following yesterday’s judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Justice J. T. Tsoho said the senate acted within the law when it screened and rejected Magu’s nomination as EFCC chairman.
Prof Itse Sagay SAN, Seyi Sowemimo SAN, Festus Keyamo SAN and Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA ) Vice President Monday Onyekachi Ubani offered their thoughts pending when they read the full judgment.
Sagay said: “I don’t expect that the judgment will have an effect on Ibrahim Magu’s status as Acting EFCC Chairman. I don’t expect that there’s anything externally that is going to affect Magu’s position.
“I don’t know whether the judge considered Section 171 of the Constitution which even allows the President to appoint heads of agencies like Magu’s agency without any reference to the Senate. That is already there, so I don’t know what was brought to the court’s attention. When we see the full judgment we will be able to express our opinion.
Sowemimo observed, among others, that in the event that the ruling includes a court order removing Magu from office, he would probably seek a stay of execution and launch an appeal.
Keyamo noted, among others, the law did not prescribe a time limit for Magu to remain in an acting capacity.
Keyamo said: The fact that the law has not circumscribed the amount of time or the time period that someone can act as the head of an agency, it would mean therefore that I see no legal problem at all in Ibrahim Magu continuing to act as the Chairman of the EFCC, there is no legal impediment at all.”
But Ubani advised the Executive to “respect and obey the judgement of the
Federal High Court unless they have secured a contrary judgement from the appellate courts.”