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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

[New post] Senate, presidency set for another clash over screening of CBN Board members, RECs

anonymous informant     9:03 AM    


The Nigerian Senate appears to have run into a constitutional crisis over the recent requests by the Presidency for the confirmation of Board members of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for the state's, sources in the legislature have said.

Lawmakers, who gave insights into the dilemma of the Red Chamber on the
screening requests, told Ripples Nigeria that the Senate took comments from the Presidency about its interpretation
of Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution very seriously.

Recent media reports quoted the Presidency as citing the submission of some lawyers that Section 171 empowers the President to name Heads of extra Ministerial bodies without recourse to the Senate.
The Presidency and the lawyers have used that position to justify the
likely appointment of an Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu without screening by
the Senate.

But sources in the Senate said the position of the lawyers and the Presidency has thrown up a constitutional crisis which further suggests that previous governments including that of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar'Adua, the government of Dr.
Goodluck Jonathan as well as the incumbent, President Muhammadu
Buhari might have acted against the law if the position of the Presidency is right.

"The Senate may have no other option than to hold back on the planned
screening and confirmation of the Board members of the CBN, the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and other nominees sent to the Senate for confirmation," a Senator said.

The lawmaker said that the Senate had also taken adequate notice of the motion by the House of Representatives, which advised the Presidency to head to the Supreme Court if it was not clear on the

"As things are, a good number of Senators are pushing that the Senate
takes the media reports of the Presidency's position on Section 171 as
government's position since the reports have not been refuted.

"Recall that the famous motion called Doctrine of Necessity was passed
based on a broadcast from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) which was taken as communication from the then President.

"If that position is taken by the leadership, none of the requests for
screening and confirmation would be handled until the matter is sorted
out at the Supreme Court," a lawmaker in the know said on Monday.

The contentious Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution reads: "171. (1) Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which this section applies and to remove persons so appointed from any
such office shall vest in the President.

"(2) The offices to which this section applies are, namely -
"(a) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;
"(b) Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;
"(c) Ambassador, High Commissioner or other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad;
"(d) Permanent Secretary in any Ministry or Head of any Extra-Ministerial Department of the Government of the Federation howsoever designated; and
"(e) any office on the personal staff of the President.
"(3) An appointment to the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the "Federation shall not be made except from among Permanent Secretaries or equivalent rank in the civil service of the Federation or of a State.
"(4) An appointment to the office of Ambassador, High Commissioner or
other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad shall not have effect unless the appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

"(5) In exercising his powers of appointment under this section, the
President shall have regard to the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity.

"(6) Any appointment made pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (e) of subsection (2) of this section shall be at the pleasure of the President and shall cease when the President ceases to hold office;
"Provided that where a person has been appointed from a public service of the Federation or a State, he shall be entitled to return to the public service of the Federation or of the State when the President ceases to hold office."
By Odia Ehisuan...


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