EFCC: Okutepa drags Senate to court over ICPC, EFCC Chairmen

*You have no power to confirm ICPC, EFCC bosses

Abuja-based legal practitioner, Jubrin Samuel Okutepa (SAN), has dragged the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria before a Federal High Court Abuja over its power to confirm the appointments of ICPC and EFCC Chairmen as it runs contrary with the provisions of the Constitution.

The suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/318/2017 was yet to be allocated to a judge. However,

Okutepa is seeking an order of the Court to set aside, strike down or nullify Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission Act and Section 3(6) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act, and to declare it null and void and altogether invalid, ultra vires and inoperative having regards to the provisions of Sub-section 1(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution read together with Section 171(1) (2) of the 1999 constitution as amended.

Okutepa is also asking the Court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, servants or whosoever acts for them and on their behalf from subjecting or further subjecting the appointments made by the 1st Defendant pursuant to Section 171 (2) (a-e) of the 1999 constitution to confirmation of the Senate and or the 3rd to 5th Defendants unless and until the Constitution is amended to make Provisions for such confirmation.

The Respondents in the suit are the President, Attorney General of the Federation, the National Assembly, President of the Senate and the Senate in that order.

The learned silk, in his Originating Summons, stated that being a Nigerian, legal practitioner, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he is under duty to ensure that all actions taken or intended to be taken and all resolutions and laws made or enacted by the defendants, conform strictly with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended or modified.

He also stated that, in December 2016 and January 2017, the President and AGF, appointed Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and in total breach of the provisions of Section 171 of the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria 1999 as amended, submit the name the of Magu to the 4th and 5th Defendants for confirmation, but was purportedly refused to confirm the said the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman EFCC.

The Senate was claiming to derive their powers to do so from the provisions of EFCC Act and other laws made by the National Assembly, the president of senate and the senate (3rd to 5th Defendants).

According to J. S. Okutepa (SAN), based on public interest and outcry generated by the acts of the Senate in rejecting the appointment of Magu, he decided to read the Nigerian constitution thoroughly and other relevant laws setting up EFCC and other Extra-Ministerial Departments of the Government of the Federal and discovered that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not donate power to confirm the appointment of persons to the offices set out under Section 171(2)(a-e) of the said constitution and as such the Senate acted ultra vires and in breach of the said constitution by rejecting Ibrahim Magu.

“The draftsman of our constitution did not intend to subject appointments to offices under Section 171 (2)(a-e) of the constitution 1999 to confirmation by the Senate and the 3rd to 5th Defendants in enacting laws or passing resolutions purporting to exercise powers of confirmation or rejection of appointments of persons to any or all of those offices acted ultra vires and in breach of breach of the 1999 constitution,” the Silk Wig added.

The plaintiffs in the suit is asking whether upon proper interpretation and construction of the provisions of Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and other sections thereof, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has the exclusive power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which

that section applies and to remove the persons so appointed.
And “If answer to question above is in the affirmative whether any resolutions, laws, Act made or purported to have been enacted by the 2nd to 5th defendants which purports to subject such appointments to confirmation by any of the Houses of the National Assembly, particularly as purportedly done in Section 2(3) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act and Section 3(6) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Act, is null and void and altogether invalid, ultra vires and inoperative having regards to the provisions of Sub-section 1(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution read together with Section 171(1) and (2) of the same.

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