*Section 171 versus Section 153
From Sanny Mozai Friday
The hoopla as to the confirmation of the EFCC Chairman by the National Assembly (NASS) has taken over all other discussions in recent time with the revered Professor of law and SAN in the person of the acting President Yemi Osinbajo coming to defend and justify the action of the Executive.
Osinbajo cited section 171 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as a cover, claiming that section 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act is inconsistent with that section of the Constitution.
With due respect to the highly respected teacher of law, that position is a wrong one and misleading too.
Section 171 of the Constitution cannot be read in isolation of section 153 and 154 of the same Constitution. Section 153 created five Commissions to be headed by Chairmen while section 154 provides that the Chairmen of the Commissions be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
Section 154 (1) shows irrefragably that the Chairmen of all Commissions including those five mentioned in section 153(1) of the Constitution and ipso facto those created by statutes such as the EFCC Act must be confirmed by the Senate.
I conclude by stating that the present position of the Executive amounts to rascality and a reckless act being displayed by a supposed institution being presently headed by a man that is expected to know the value of separation (not desperation) of power. The doctrine of checks and balances is a key factor in democracy.
If truly the Executive feel they made a mistake by presenting Ibrahim Magu’s name before the Senate two times and they want to correct that mistake, approaching the Supreme Court would have been best for the interpretation of the relevant sections of the Constitution. Asking the Supreme Court to declare and pronounce the provisions of section 2 of the EFCC act as null and void if actually section 154 of the Constitution does not cure it’s defects.