Opinion: Does President Buhari Really Need Senate’s Confirmation for the EFCC Boss?


Yesterday, I argued thus: Every position, including the one seemingly novel, must be respected until set aside by the highest court of the land.

Today, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, made the point that by virtue of Section 171 of the Constitution, the President does not need a confirmation of the Senate for the appointment of the EFCC Chairman. Strange position to take? I will rather see it as a novel reading of the law. So, rather than insult him as some would, I thought to check the provisions of the Constitution myself and carefully read it in conjunction with the EFCC Act.

To my surprise, I find, on the basis of the provisions before me that Mr Falana is most likely right. Most likely, as it is possible that there just might be some other provisions that override this reading of ours.
Section 171 vests the power to appoint persons to certain offices from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Civil Service, Ambassadors, personal staff of the President, Permanent Secretary or HEAD OF ANY EXTRA-MINISTERIAL DEPARTMENT…HOWSOEVER DESIGNATED (EFCC Chair falls into that category, by our reading).

Of all the offices listed, it is only in the case of Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other Principal representative of Nigeria abroad, that provision is made for confirmation by the Senate (Section 171:4).
Nothing in Section 171 or any other part of the Constitution, as I have seen it, provides for Senate confirmation of appointment to the offices listed above. Of course, we know that the appointment of the SGF was never subjected to confirmation by the Senate. I could be wrong.

I had to pick up the EFCC Act to see if there is anything in that law that provides for confirmation by the Senate. I am yet to find one. All that is listed there are the qualifications of a person to be appointed as Chairman of the EFCC.

He ought to be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent; and possess not less than 15 years cognate experience.
I might be wrong. But my position is that we must receive every new form of knowledge, especially one that comes from the jar of an authority in a particular field with sobriety and humility, step back, dig deep before engaging it dispassionately.

A novel reading of the law does not make it wrong. That something has become a norm does not necessarily make it lawful.

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