Two non-governmental bodies, Save Nigeria Group and Kingdom Human rights Foundation, have urged a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to force President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal and the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
The senate in a sitting on the December 14 and 15, 2016 had declined to confirm Magu as EFCC boss following allegations of fraud and corruption.
In an originating summons jointly filed by the organisations on December 29, 2016, they also asked the court to order Buhari to appoint other better qualified individuals into their positions.
The president, Lawal, Magu, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Senate are listed as 1st to 7th defendants respectively.
In suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1072/2016 the organisations asked the court to declare that the indictment of the SGF by the Senate is a sufficient and reasonable ground to warrant and compel the president to sack or suspend SGF or compel his to resign pending when he is cleared of every allegation of corruption based on the claim by the president hat his administration is fighting corruption.
They ask the court to declare that Lawal’s indictment should warrant his sack or suspension in other to allow the security and anti-corruption agencies investigate the allegations of corruption and prosecute anyone indicted by their investigation, in view of the ongoing fight against corruption.
They furter ask the court to hold that the Senate has the constitutional powers to recommend the sack or suspension of the SGF on the grounds of corrupt allegation found against him and his company, in view of section 88(1) (b) and (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
They also ask the court to hold that the award of contracts in March 2016 to a company where the SGF was a Director, by the Presidential Initiative on the North-east amounts to breach of constitutional provisions and Code of Conduct for public officers, provided for in Paragraph 1, Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution which prohibits a public officer from putting himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
They ask the court to hold that the SGF has breached the code of conduct for public officers provided for in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as amended); by failing to resign as a Managing Director, occupying an executive position and remaining a signatory to the bank account of a private company, until September 2016 when the Senate started investigating him of corrupt allegation.
They further seek a declaration that ”the award of contract to Rholavison Engineering Limited, a company belonging to Lawal without following due process of the law offends the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.”
They ask the court to further hold that the above amounted to abuse of office and offends the provisions of Public Procurement Act and Financial Regulations Rules on award of contracts.They want the court to immediately direct the Department State Services (DSS), the Inspector General of Nigeria Police and the EFCC to immediately and without any further investigate and prosecute the SGF on the grounds of the allegation of corruption established by the Senate.
On the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, the two organisations are seeking among others, a declaration that the provisions of the Federal Civil Service Rules are applicable to the commission, and that under the Federal Civil Service Rules, a person appointed in acting capacity cannot act in such capacity for more than six months, in view of Rules 010101, 020603 and 020604 of the Federal Civil Service Rules 2008.
They want the court to declare that the Senate’s rejection of Magu’s nomination as the substantive Chairman of EFCC following the Senate’s votes and proceeding of Thursday 15 December 2016 is a reasonable and lawful grounds to warrant and compel the president to appoint/nominate another person as the chairman of the EFCC without any further delay.
They pray the court to also declare that the office of the EFCC is vacant following the Senate’s rejection and failure to confirm Magu who has been acting in that capacity for more than six months.
They further ask the court to hold that the four year term of office provided for in section 3 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act is only applicable to a substantive chairman of EFCC who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; and not applicable to a person appointed to act in the capacity of chairman of the commission, pending the appointment and confirmation of a substantive chairman.
They ask the court to further hold that ”the appointment of Magu who has been acting in the capacity of the Chairman of EFCC for more than six months is illegal, null and void on the ground of non- recognition of an acting Chairman in the entire provisions of the EFCC (Establishment) Act.”
They also seek an order prohibiting
Magu from acting as the substantive chairman EFCC following the Senate’s rejection of his nomination at the votes and proceedings of December 15, 2016.
The case has yet to be assigned to a judge.