Senate yesterday received 15 additional ministerial nominees from President Muhammadu Buhari, bringing the total nominees to 36.
This is even as the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions handling the petitions written against former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Chibuike Ameachi, and former Special Adviser to the Secretary General of United Nations on MDGs, Amina Ibrahim, by concerned petitioners from Rivers and Kaduna states, respectively, gave the duo subtle clearance
for screening by the Senate along with 19 other nominees earlier forwarded to the Senate by Buhari.
The additional list of ministerial nominees, which was received by the Senate, was confirmed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President
on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, to journalists in the evening.
According to Enang, the list, like the earlier one given to the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukoka Saraki, on the last day of September, was jointly delivered to Saraki by him along with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Hon. Abdulrahman Kawu Sumaila, about 4:24 p.m.
The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, also confirmed receipt of the list by his boss at the stated time.
However, both Enang and Olani- yonu, who refused to disclose the content of the list, said that it was contained in a sealed envelope, which would only be opened by the Senate President when presenting it before the Senate today (Tuesday).
Meanwhile, as the Senate starts the screening of the 21 nominees it earlier received, strong indications emerged yesterday that both Amaechi and Ibrahim would be among the nominees that would be screened, despite the petitions against them.
This was sequel to the subtle clearance given to them by the Committee, after going through petitions against them yesterday.
Specifically, the Senator Sam Anyanwu-led Committee ruled that since issues the raised in the petition against Amaechi by the Integrity Group from Rivers State on alleged N72 billion fraud are already subjects of litigation in court, the Committee, in line with the Senate rule, cannot treat the petition.
“Having considered the written submission of Amaechi’s lawyers to this Committee in respect of petitions against him by Integrity Group from Rivers State and in line with Senate rule 41(7), which states that the Senate shall not deliberate on any matter in which there is judicial remedy in court, this committee hereby suspend further deliberation on the petition,” he said.
For Ibrahim, it was an outright clearance by the Committee since the petition against her by the Southern Kaduna Coalition was predicated on assumption that her nomination by the President was for Kaduna State and not Gombe, her natural state of origin.
Ibrahim, while facing the Committee, said she was from Gombe State, and wondered why the petitioners from Kaduna State ate alleging that her ministerial slot was for Kaduna State.
The chief petitioner, Barrister James Kanyip, while responding to questions from the Committee members, admitted that their petition against Ibrahim was solely driven by their assumption that she was been nominated to fill the slot of Kaduna State and not her state of origin, Gombe.
A submission that made the Committee members to probe him further by asking him the source of his information confirming that Ibrahim was a nominee from Kaduna and not Gombe, her state of origin.
Kanyip’s response to the question by disclosing the social media as his source of information to that effect, further drew more embarrassment to him, especially from the Deputy
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who said he was very worried that a lawyer of Kanyip’s status could rely on information from social media upon which he predicated such a weighty petition.
– Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja