Amaechi’s case stalls min­is­te­rial screen­ing

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Is­mail Mu­dashir

The Se­nate yesterday sus­pended the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing of 18 min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees till Tues­day for undis­closed rea­sons.

The up­per cham­ber con­firmed 18 nom­i­nees on Wed­nes­day and an­nounced that it would screen the re­main­ing 18 yesterday.

But as sen­a­tors re­con­vened in the morn­ing, it was dis­cov­ered that the hear­ing was not listed on the day’s or­der pa­per.

Rather, sen­a­tors pre­oc­cu­pied them­selves with other leg­isla­tive ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing ple­nary.

How­ever, it was ex­clu­sively gath­ered that the post­pone­ment had a lot to do with the case of for­mer gover­nor of Rivers State, Ro­timi Amaechi.

The Se­nate had stood down the hear­ing on Amaechi and Bar­ris­ter Ade­bayo Shittu, a nom­i­nee from Oyo State to yesterday.

A sen­a­tor told our

cor­re­spon­dent that it was Amaechi’s case that forced the shift in date.

“We sus­pended the hear­ing to avoid em­bar­rass­ment be­cause it would sound ab­surd to fur­ther post­pone screen­ing Amaechi be­cause his case had gained na­tional at­ten­tion,” a high rank­ing sen­a­tor said.

He added that the Se­nate there­fore de­cided to de­fer the whole ex­er­cise till Tues­day.

Another sen­a­tor said it was not true that Amaechi’s case was stood down be­cause the re­port of the com­mit­tee on Ethics, Priv­i­leges and Public pe­ti­tions was not ready.

“It would not take the mem­bers of the com­mit­tee 10 min­utes to put to­gether their re­port on Amaechi; be­cause how long did it take them to write their re­port on Amina Ibrahim Mo­hammed,? “At stake is the stiff op­po­si­tion against Amaechi and the need to reach out to the op­po­si­tion,” he said.

When con­tacted, the Se­nate Leader, Ali Ndume, said Amaechi would be screened Tues­day.

“He will be screened and con­firmed be­cause he pos­sesses the qual­i­fi­ca­tion to be a min­is­ter of the Fed­eral Re­pub­lic of Nige­ria.

“As you may be aware, he has not been con­victed of any crime,” he said.

Speak­ing to our cor­re­spon­dent, one of the min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees said they were told of the post­pone­ment on Wed­nes­day and ad­vised not to come un­til Tues­day.

“We were told not to come for the screen­ing to­day (yesterday), that it has been post­poned to next Tues­day”, he said in a phone in­ter­view.

When con­tacted, the Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Na­tional Assem­bly (Se­nate), Sen­a­tor Ita Enang, said he would ad­dress the press on the mat­ter to­day.

Also speak­ing, the spokesper­son of the Se­nate, Dino Me­laye, said the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing has been ad­journed to Tues­day.

“The con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing has been shifted to Tues­day next week. We are go­ing to screen nine of them on Tues­day and the re­main­ing nine would be taken on Wed­nes­day.

“The con­fir­ma­tion of all the nom­i­nees would be taken on Wed­nes­day”, he said.

Also yesterday, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki for­mally com­mu­ni­cated to Pres­i­dent Buhari the con­fir­ma­tion of 18 nom­i­nees.

The let­ter was sent through Sen­a­tor Ita Enang, Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Leg­isla­tive Mat­ters (Se­nate).

Mean­while, Sen­a­tor Ibrahim Go­bir, (APC Sokoto East) yesterday laid a pe­ti­tion against Ms. Aisha Abubakar, a nom­i­nee from Sokoto state.

Go­bir said Aisha should be re­placed with a more com­pe­tent per­son.

Saraki re­ferred the pe­ti­tion to the Ethics, Priv­i­leges and Public pe­ti­tions com­mit­tee for nec­es­sary ac­tion.

Speak­ing af­ter the sit­ting, Go­bir said women in Sokoto are against Aisha’s nom­i­na­tion.

“The whole women in Sokoto are against her and they are call­ing for her re­place­ment, “he said.

It was gath­ered that Aisha hailed from Tam­buwal Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Sokoto, same as the state gover­nor, Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal.

From left: Chief of De­fence Staff, Gen. Abay­omi Olonisakin; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas, and Chief of Air Staff, Air Mar­shal Sadique Abubakar, at an ex­hi­bi­tion stand, dur­ing the 2015 Nige­rian Navy Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Seminar, in Abuja yesterday.

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