From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has taken a different stand from the statements made by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the confirmation of nominations made by the Executive which has pitted the National Assembly against the executive.
FEC, Wednesday, also approved a new anti-corruption policy, tagged: Anti-Corruption Strategy, to provide a fresh impetus to anti-corruption drive of the federal government.
Senators on Tuesday resolved not to honour confirmation request by the executive on positions in the federal government following statements by the Acting President challenging the Senate’s capacity to confirm certain nominees of the executive.
Osinbajo’s statement was in respect of the continued stay in office of Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Osinbajo had in April said: “It is up to the Senate to make their judgment, and it is up to us to say what we want to do. If our candidate is rejected, we can re-present him. No law says we can’t re-present him. And again, there is the other argument, whether or not we need to present him for confirmation and that’s a compelling argument from Femi Falana.”
However, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami while
responding to questions from State House Correspondents after FEC meeting said though the issue had come up for discussion at the cabinet meeting, since the cabinet was not particularly connected or reached a consensus to maintain a particular position, it cannot begin to defend what it did not decide on.
“The fundamental consideration about the alleged statement is the fact that at no point ever did the Federal Executive Council sit down to arrive at the decision in one way or the other as far as the issue of nomination or otherwise is concerned. So I do not think it constitutes an issue for the Federal Executive Council to make any clarification about because it has never been considered by the FEC. So the minister of information will throw more light on the matter,” Malami who also briefed alongside the the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, said.
The Minister of Information on his part said the issue between the two arms of government is being resolved by a mechanism that he said is already on ground.
“Clearly it came up. The fact of the matter is that we have a very excellent mechanism for resolving whatever issues is between us and the National Assembly. That is been addressed.
“Whatever may be the problem between the executive and the National Assembly we have an excellent mechanism for resolving it. I don’t
think we need to go to specific statements as to what was said by A or B, we believe that government is not one arm, but both the legislative, executive and judiciary arms, whatever might be the problem we are resolving it and we are addressing it” he said refusing to give details of steps taken to resolve the impasse between the two arms of government.
In the newly approved anti-corruption strategy, Malami explained that the Strategy is intended to strengthen enforcement of extant laws and sanctions of offenders. He added that the new document is expected to drive the anti-corruption war henceforth.
He argued that notable progress had been recorded in anti-graft war as a result of various policies hitherto chunked out by the government to aid the fight.
He listed such policies to include treasury single account (TSA), whistle blowing and government partnership with relevant institutions, explaining that such policies are geared towards promoting accountability and transparency in anti-graft drive.
“The anti-corruption strategy that has now been approved by the Federal Executive Council is intended to strengthen the enforcement and sanctions. So arising from this understanding Ministries, Department, Agencies, Legislature, Judiciary, Civil Society group and Religious Bodies have all come together at a forum and developed a National Anti-Corruption Strategy which is intended to be a guide or a roadmap for the enhancement and Sanctions, processes associated with Anti-Corruption. That Policy has now been developed by all these components and was today presented to FEC for approval.
“FEC approved the strategy and the roadmap is now that of implementation of the strategy towards the direction of collective buy-in as it relates to enforcement and sanctions relating to anti-corruption crusade and drive.”
Council also approved contracts worth N900 million for engineering and infrastructure design in different parts of the Federal Capital Territory.
A breakdown of the contracts shows that approval was given for Ring road four, which passes through Kubwa express, airport road, Southern express way and the Wasa district at a cost of N242million. Approval was also given for engineering design for Kabo district, to provide housing infrastructure at a cost of N184million and Inter sector sewage line, schedule 10 at the cost of N241 million to connect the central sewage system in the new Abuja city. Water treatment and connecting pipelines to the Abuja Water Master Plan at a cost of N233 million.
Council also before the commencement of the closed door session of the cabinet meeting observed a minute silence in honour of a one time cabinet member and diplomat Maitama Sule.