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Senate Moves to Whittle Down President’s Power to Sack EFCC Head

The proposed legislation would make it difficult for the president to sack the head of the anti-graft agency without legislative approval.

Nigeria’s Senate on Tuesday considered and passed for second reading a bill seeking to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act.

The proposed legislation seeking to amend the EFCC Act would make it difficult for the president to sack the head of the anti-graft agency without legislative approval.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu).

The bill seeks to ensure that the appointment and removal of the EFCC’s chairman would be subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

The bill also seeks to amend the commission’s establishment Act to restrict non-EFCC staff from heading the anti-agency.

Leading the debate, Utazi said the proposed amendment was to bring EFCC in conformity with other anti-graft agencies by guaranteeing security of tenure for the commission’s chairman.

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He said, “For other anti-graft agencies created through the legislative instrumentality, before and later, that is, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the National Assembly ensured that the headship had security of tenure by ensuring that their appointments and removal, as the case may be, were subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

“That was not the case with the EFCC. Therefore, in this proposed amendment, it is intended to bring the EFCC in conformity with the other two anti-graft agencies of government. This will engender optimal performance by the Commission of the very important mandate assigned to it.”

On barring non-EFCC staff from heading the commission, Utazi said the amendment would enhance professionalism in the service of the anti-graft agency.

Abdurasheed Bawa is the first EFCC staff to be appointed as the chairman of the anti-graft agency. Others who had served as the commission’s chiefs were appointed from outside of EFCC.

Utazi said President Muhammadu Buhari’s action to appoint the EFCC chairman from within was commendable and needed to be backed by law to guarantee tenure security.

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has carved his name and administration in gold by this very singular action, and posterity will never forget him.

“All that is required of this parliament is to endorse this executive action by amending the EFCC Establishment Act to restrict non-trained EFCC staff from headship of the Commission, going forward. This will enhance professionalism in the service of this anti-graft agency.”

Also, the Senate at plenary yesterday passed the 2023 budget of the Nigerian Communications Commission following the presentation of the Committee on Communications.

The NCC 2023 budget was N559,080,711,000.00 made up of total recurrent expenditure of N86. 7 billion, capital expenditure of N5. 2 billion and special projects of N35 billion.

The commission was expected to transfer N416 billion out of the projected revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The red chamber also passed the Universal Service Provision Fund 2023 budget of N16 billion.

It was made up of N2. 4 billion recurrent expenditure; N124.8 billion capital expenditure and projects expenditure of N13. 4 billion.

Sunday Aborisade

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