Amaechi to wait again as Senate shifts sitting
...as Saraki’s asset case continues today at CCT
President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominee from Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, has to wait again as the Senate stepped down his screening for the third time yesterday.
The former governor of Rivers State, whose name was in the first list of nominees submitted to the Senate by President Buhari, was due for screening yesterday. But his name, which appeared on the list of eight nominees to be screened, was removed minutes to the commencement of the sitting.
Our correspondent reports that the submission of the report of the Senate
Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Amaechi, which was earlier on the ‘Order Paper,’ was also removed.
No reason was given for the removal but our correspondent gathered that it may not be unconnected to the opposition against Amaechi’s nomination by mainly PDP senators.
Both APC and PDP caucuses at the Senate held emergency meetings over Amaechi.
The meeting of the APC caucus was held on Monday night and that of the PDP took place yesterday. The APC senators reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that Amaechi scales through, just as their PDP counterparts seem determined in their opposition against his screening.
Efforts to get the chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Babajide Christopher Omoworare, who designed the daily Order Paper, yielded no result as his media aide said he would not talk because, “the time and terrain are not comfortable for interview”.
But the Vice chairman of the committee, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said the change was as a result of time.“From the little I know, no problem. It was just because time was against us,” he told Daily Trust yesterday.
Also in an interview, the spokesperson of the Senate, Dino Melaye, said they adjusted the screening list to enable the lawmakers to be thorough in the exercise.
Meanwhile, Senator Achonu Nneji (PDP, Imo North) yesterday presented 10 petitions against Professor Anthony Anwuka, the nominee from Imo State.
Saraki referred the petitions to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and gave members of the committee 48 hours to submit their report.
Though three names were on the second screening list, only two were screened. They are Barrister Adebayo Shittu (Oyo) and Hajiya Khadija Abba Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe). The other nominee, Claudius ‘quizzes’wife
Our correspondent reports that the atmosphere was filled with general laughter when Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim appeared for screening as Saraki introduced her as an affiliate member of the Senate.
The chanting of ‘our wife’ by the senators dominated the floor. Khadija, a serving House of Representatives member, is the wife of Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim(APC, on false asset declaration. Saraki, who was governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011, appeared before the tribunal last September.
He was alleged to have operated foreign accounts while being the governor of Kwara State and transferred $73, 223.28 from his GTB domiciliary account to an American Express account.
In the charge sheet, Saraki was further alleged to have made anticipatory declaration and false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form for Public Officers on assumption of office as the executive governor of Kwara State in 2003 in respect of some Lagos properties.
During the last hearing of the CCT on September 22nd, more than half of the senators accompanied Saraki to the tribunal.
In a statement yesterday, the Acting Clerk to the Senate, Mr. Nelson Ayewoh, said the senators would reconvene tomorrow by 10.am prompt.
“The resumption of the Senate in plenary has been rescheduled from Wednesday 21st to Thursday 22nd October,”the statement said. No reason was given for the adjournment.
Earlier yesterday, the Senate had, during plenary presided over by Saraki, adjourned sitting to today but by 5.pm it was again adjourned till tomorrow.
Since the inauguration of the 8th Senate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has not presided over the upper chamber.
Ekweremadu is member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
L-R: Ministerial nominees Khadija Abba Ibrahim and Barr. Adebayo Shittu during their screening by the Senate at the National Assembly in Abuja yesterday