EFCC Nominations: South-South and South-East lawmakers decry “lopsidedness”

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The Senate withdrew confirmation of four nominees as members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Board. This was due to an uproar by some of the lawmakers over the exclusion of South-South, South-Eastern Nominations.

Also suspended was the confirmation of the Chairman and members of the Board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

They were screened by the Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, which presented its report on the floor of the Red Chamber during plenary.

In the report presented by its Chairman, Sen. Chukwuma Utazi (PDP-Enugu North), the committee recommended their confirmation on the basis of their “qualification, experience and suitability” for the job.

However, Utazi said the committee observed that the nomination did not reflect the Federal Character Principle as the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones were excluded.

Asked by President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki, to give more information on the composition of the EFCC board membership, Utazi said there were six positions, including the chairman and secretary.

He noted that the positions could go round the six geopolitical zones of the country, and give everyone a sense of justice,describing the “lopsidedness” as unfair to the excluded zones.

Senators Rabiu Kwankwanso (PDP-Kano Central) and Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano North) supported the recommendation of the committee for the nominees’ confirmation, citing their “experience and competence”.

There was further commotion when Sen. Victor Umeh opposed the nomination on the grounds that it would send more, wrong signals in the fight against corruption.

The Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe North) said the committee’s recommendation should be approved on the ground that it did not breach the EFCC Act, which is silent on the zones from which the members should be appointed.

The session became raucous as contributions became heated.This forced the lawmakers to go into an executive closed-door session that lasted approximately 15 minutes.

On return to plenary, Saraki said the senators had resolved to step down the report for more legislation work.

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