Amaechi to wait again as Sen­ate shifts sit­ting Saraki’s as­set case con­tin­ues to­day at CCT

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Ismail Mu­dashir

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 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 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).

Photo: Macjohn Akande

L-R: Min­is­te­rial nom­i­nees Khadija Abba Ibrahim and Barr. Adebayo Shittu dur­ing their screen­ing by the Sen­ate at the Na­tional As­sem­bly in Abuja yes­ter­day

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