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Ministers: Senate Confirms 18 Ameachi’s Fate Hangs In The Balance

Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi Will Wait Till End Of Today To Know His Fate In The Hands Of The Senate As 18 Others Are Approved While Ex-Niger State Deputy Governor’s Is Withdrawn


Senate, by voice vote, confirmed the nomination of 18 persons for appointment as ministers, of the Federal Republic.

Those who scaled the senate hurdle after the second day of interaction include Udoma Udo Udoma, Ogbonnaya Onu, Chris Ngige, Lai Mohammed, Kemi Adeosun, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Solomon Dalong, Babatunde Fashola, Abubakar Malami, Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbeh, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau, Aisha Alhassan, Suleiman Adamu, Osagie Enahire, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril and Hadi Sirika.

They were confirmed by voice vote. As they were approved, President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew the nomination of former deputy governor of Niger State, Ahmed Musa Ibeto. Buhari’s decision was contained in a terse letter to the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, entitled: Withdrawal of a Ministerial Nominee. “I write to withdraw the nomination of Hon. Ahmed Musa Ibeto earlier submitted for confirmation as minister of the Federal Republic. Please accept, Mr.President of the Senate, assurance of my esteemed consideration,” it read.

Meanwhile, the screening of former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, again suffered a setback on Wednesday.

The UNION reports that yesterday’s delay was the second successive time of shifting Amaechi’s screening at the Upper Legislative Chamber in two days.

It would be recalled that a report of the Senator Samuel Anyanwu-led Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on the alleged cases of fraud against Amaechi was initially shelved on Tuesday for Wednesday on the ground that it was not ready.

Amaechi’s name had been listed as the last of the 10 nominees that were billed to be screened on Wednesday; but the non-readiness of the report meant that the erstwhile governor would have to wait a while.

Anyanwu, who urged the Senate to allow his Committee conclude the report, and submit it on Wednesday, however, failed to submit the report.

He explained that the long screening exercise of the first set of 10 ministerial nominees on Tuesday made it impossible for his Committee to meet and conclude the report.

He, therefore, urged the Senate President to give the Committee another grace of 24 hours to do justice to the report.

The Senate, however, went ahead with the screening of the former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola; Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachukwu and Abubakar Malami.

Others were: Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan, Barr. Solomon Dalong, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and Senator Hadi Sirika, Barr. Adebayo Shittu.

Meanwhile, a total of seven bills were introduced on the floor of the Upper Legislative Chamber on Wednesday including: Micro-Finance Bill 2015 (SB. 57) by Senator Matthew Uroghide, and Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (Establishment, etc.) Bill 2015 (SB. 58) by Senator Philip Aduda.

Others are: Nigerian Investment Promotion Council Act CAP N117 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2015 (SB. 72) by Senator Theodore Orji, Finance (Control and Management) Act No. 33 1958 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2015 (SB. 84) by Senator Joshua Dariye, Industrial Revolution Bill 2015 (SB. 86) by Senator Albert Bassey.

There were also: National Institute for Sports Act CAP N52 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2015 (SB. 75) by Senator Shehu Sani, National Parole and Prohibition Bill 2015 (SB. 87) by Senator Ishiaka Adeleke, Presidential Transition Bill 2015 (SB. 90) by Senator Robert Boroffice and Traffic Warden Service Bill 2015 (SB. 99) by Senator Buhari Abdulfatai. …PIB: Nigeria Loses N3 Trillion Yearly -Kachikwu Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), who was also yesterday confirmed for appointment as minister, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said that Nigeria lost more than N3trillion annually due to the failure to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Speaking when he appeared before the Senate during a screening exercise following his nomination to become minister, Kachikwu said “the investment that we are losing on an annual basis because of the lack of PIB, is in excess of $15b (N3tr) a year, and the reason is simple.”

According to him, “it would have been better that you didn’t start at all, than announce very flamboyantly that you were going to do PIB then step back from it, because it increases the level of uncertainty that no international investor wants to grapple with”.

He said: “So I would urge this very revered senate to very quickly come to terms and find a way of working with us, to go ahead and pass those elements of PIB where there is no much contention.”

Kachikwu also doused fears over alleged scarcity of petroleum products noting that Nigeria has enough refined fuel to it for 40 to 50 days “to say the least”.

Confirming ealier reports by The UNION that there were no plans to reduce pump price of petrol, Kachikwu stated that “refineries are operating at about 25, 27 percent capacity. I know there have been numbers bandied about with performance level of 65 percent. That’s not true and I have advised His Excellency as such.

“When I joined, the first thing I did was to put a clarion call to all the managers of the refineries, and I said the success of your job depends on these refineries and how you work.

“If we can’t run them, then we need to get out, make adequate arrangement, privatize them and take them out.

“Whenever you don’t run a refinery well, every barrel of crude that is sent into that refinery produces less. Today, if you send a $52 crude, you produce an income of about $15 to $20. So from point one, you’re already losing money.”

He however added that the Port Harcourt refinery is producing at 67 percent capacity.

“Our intent is to grow Port Harcourt to about 70, 75 percent by the end of the year,” he said.

“Both Warri and Kaduna are shut. We just finished repairs on the pipelines, we would begin pumping crude into Kaduna refinery tomorrow (Thursday) and over the next four five days, they would get the stock that they need to get the plant kicking.”

He argued that any refinery that “produces below 60 percent is no production, because the reality is that the performing capacity of refineries worldwide are in the 90 percent and above categories. That’s when you begin to make yields that turn into a profitable refinery.”

He urged the country to let go of disgraceful importation of crude, which it has in excess, adding that the price of importation is exorbitant.

“It’s not only disgraceful that a country that has so much resources to be able to produce its own product where neighbouring countries like Ghana and Chad are beginning to run their own refineries and produce their own product, but it’s also the fact that the cost of imported products are exorbitant.”

…Igbo Deportations: I Apologise -Fashola

Confronted by his past action in deporting some persons of south east origin, former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday, again, apologized for the action which tended to smear relations between his state and south easterners.

“I apologized then. And I apologize again here”, Fashola said as he stood before the senate answering questions as part of the ritual needed for him to become a minister of the Federal Republic.

He however explained the process that led to the deportation saying that his administration also faced the risk of being accused of unlawful detention, I it did not act, having kept the victims in rehabilitative custody longer than necessary.

The former Lagos governor also answered questions on the use of N78m to update his personal website.

Taking the senators through the process of financial management introduced in the state under his watch, Fashola said he never signed any cheques. He also said he had no hand in determining the cost of the upgrade or who got the contract for the job.

Critics of the former governor accuse him of enriching himself at the expense of the state.

But Fashola said that no one could attribute personal gains to him in the contract to upgrade his website.

He was asked if he actually spent N78 million on the website and more than N300 million on sinking a borehole.

He said: “Some people may be surprise to learn that as governor of Lagos state, I don’t know about other states, I didn’t sign cheques, none of my commissioners signed cheques. I have never signed a cheque, I don’t fix contract prices, it is an institutional process,” he said.

“The only training I have is that of a lawyer, but in order to execute works on a project, we need the input of architects, we need the input of quantity surveyors, we need the input of structural engineers and we have consulting ministries.

“For civil works, it’s the ministry of works, for science, it’s the ministry of science and technology. The statisticians are there to fix prices from biro to iron rod to cement. It is approved and it becomes the benchmark price of government procurement; nobody can award any other contract over that benchmark.

“In all of these things, nobody has alleged that I have corruptly enriched myself, and I couldn’t be the master of all on technology, I need something to do my work and you make procurement in senate, who is involved how much you buy your stationery?”

Fashola was also questioned on his understanding of loyalty. In his response he said: “The concept of loyalty is very strange. You know why I say so? In the course of my work, there was a family that had a patient who had a kidney malfunction and the diagnosis was that the patient needed a transplant and needed to go overseas. We had procedures in government where we helped people who applied to get overseas treatment,” he said.

“When we had paid and they were to go, the question was who will be the donor? We found out that the only matching kidneys were those of her two daughters and none of them was willing to give a kidney for their mother; that was their supreme test of loyalty.

“So, I always pray that my loyalty will not be tested, because you do not know, you may have to take a bullet for somebody, it may be a father for a child. “In public life, I have remained loyal to courses that I assigned on to and all my life, really, nobody has fairly accused me of giving my word and going back on it.”

He also prayed: “May our loyalty never be tested” to which senators chorused “Amen!”



– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja

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