The Human and Environmental Developmental Agenda (HEDA Resource Center) has urged the National Assembly to commence the confirmation process of nominees submitted by the executive to it, saying the delay is incapacitating many government agencies.
HEDA, in a petition sent to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and signed by the Resource Centre’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the failure of the Senate to screen and confirm nominees from the executive is undermining governance and frustrating the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.
HEDA, which is a non-governmental and non-partisan human rights and development organization, said in the petition that it is deeply worried and concern over the failure of the Senate under Saraki to discharge its constitutional duty with respect to confirmation of political appointees nominated by the executive to administer strategic institutions responsible for governance, economy, development and anti-corruption agenda of the government.
The petition reads in part: “Newspaper headlines are speculating political motive not unconnected with differences between the Senate and the Presidency is responsible for Senate’s deliberate withholding of a constitutional duty in the confirmation of about sixty nominees from the President.
“The Senate under your leadership has delayed some of the nominations for a period of over six months. This has not only affected the confirmation but it has also continued to affect the smooth running of the affected Federal Government Agencies who are still having problems clearing their nominees in the Senate.
“The Daily Times of 5th February, 2018 reported that the nominees of President Buhari are still having their fate hanging in the balance since the Senate continued to put their case in abeyance in alleged protest against the retention of Magu by Buhari as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC.
“The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has been incapacitated with the absence of an Acting or Substantive Chairman. That institution with enormous responsibility in the fight against corruption is on the long list of Government Agencies adversely impacted by the inexplicable constitutional dereliction on the path of your Senate.
“Failure to screen and confirm the Chairman designate is an utter disregard for your responsibility as provided in section 3(6) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Act which states that: “the chairman and members of the commission who shall be persons of proven integrity shall be appointed by the President, upon confirmation by the senate and shall not begin to discharge the duties of their offices until they have declared their assets and liabilities as prescribed in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Failure of the Senate to exercise its statutory duty in confirming the ICPC chairman designate is undermining and frustrating the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.”
HEDA said it is giving the Senate a seven-day grace period to commence the process of confirmation for the nominees, after which it will institute a legal action against it if it failed to discharge its statutory responsibility in that regard.
It said: “We therefore, by this letter, call on the 8th Senate under your leadership to activate the process of confirming the sixty nominees within seven days of the receipt of this petition, failure of which we shall institute an action in court to compel you to discharge your statutory duties.”