Senate, AGF at war over NHRC nominee’s assumption of office


The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday tackled the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, over the action of the latter asking an appointee for Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights commission, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu to assume office without clearance from the upper legislative chamber.

It also mandated its committee on judiciary to investigate the matter.

This development was sequel to an adopted order 14 invoked by Senator Dino Melaye in plenary where he picked holes with the perceived unconstitutional action by Malami and, sought the necessary action of the Senate.

In his explanation, Melaye stated that discrete investigation revealed that Ojukwu had resumed office even without confirmation from the Senate.

He emphasized that Nigeria was not a Banana Republic and that President Muhammadu Buhari upon assumption of office on May 29 , 2015 swore to respect the constitution and uphold the rule of law.

It was the position of the lawmakers that all nominees by the government must adhere to the constitution or have their appointments invalidated ab initio.

They insisted that a situation where an appointee of government will assume office before confirmation would not be condoned.

Melaye said the AGF was supposed to be an unbiased enforcer of the law as the nation’s chief law enforcer, not to mention his background as a lawyer.

It would be recalled that the Senate had placed an embargo on subsequent confirmation of appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This followed an existing standoff it has with the presidency over its rejections to confirm Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic and financial crimes commission, EFCC. Yet, Magu has been retained as the EFCC’s acting chairman.