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Prepare for tough screening – Senate tells Ministerial Nominees

Senate on thursday disclosed that Ministerial nominee should be prepared for thorough screenings, as it set some tough conditions which it said each Senator must meet to meet before being finally endorsed for jobs.

Screening of Ministerial nominees will begin on October 13.

It said each nominee must enjoy the backing of at least two out of the three Senators from his or her state, while two third of Senators must give their endorsements at the end of each screening.

Briefing newsmen on preparations for Screening of nominees by the Senate, the Chairman Ad hoc Committee on Media and publicity, Senator Dino Melaye said the screening process would be rigorous, tough and expeditious.

Melaye said the Senate would consider petitions so far received against some of the, affirming that such petitions would be treated along with the screening exercise.

However, the Senate again received another petition filed by Senator Danjuma La’ah from Kaduna State against the nomination of Mrs Amina Muhammed.

Opposition against the nomination of Mrs Muhammed was on the basis that she is not originally from Kaduna, as her marital affiliation to Kaduna state came under attack.

The Senate President however referred the petition against Amina Muhammed to the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate.

Melaye, while briefing the media said the Senate would observe constitutional requirements in the process of screening the Senators.

He said Sections 147, section 142 and section 120 of the Senate Rules would be strictly observed in the process of screening the nominees.

Melaye also said that former National Assembly members who made the ministerial list would be given special consideration over others.

‎He said:  ” At the senate closed door session today, we considered a number of issues that had to do with the approach, the procedure for the screening of the ministerial nominees next week based on two broad modalities.

“The first criteria is using constitutional provisions as stipulated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as a fundamental procedure for the screening of ministerial nominees, and we will be considering Section 147(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and Section 147 is very clear. 147(1) says that: there shall be such offices of the Ministers of the government of the federation as may be established by the President; (2) says: Any appointment to the office of the Minister of the government of the federation shall be the nomination of any person to such office is confirmed by the Senate be made by the President; (3) Any appointment under (2) of this Section by the President shall be in conformity with the provisions of Section 14(3) of the Constitution, provided that in giving effects to the provisions as aforesaid the President shall appoint at least one minister from each state who shall be an indigene of such state.

“We are saying that in the screening of the ministerial nominees, this Section shall be strictly adhered to by the Nigerian Senate, meaning that there would be ministers from each state of the federation in compliance with the provisions of Section 147 in reference to Section 14(3). 

“Again also in Section 120 of the Standing Rules of the Senate will be another major instrument in the consideration and screening of ministerial nominees. 

“Section 120 of the Standing Rules of the Senate reads as follows: That the Senate shall not consider the nomination of any person, who has held any public office as contained in Part 2 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution prior to his nomination unless there is a written evidence that he has declared his assets and liabilities as required by Section 11(1) of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; such declaration shall be required for scrutiny by the senators. 

“What this Section is saying is that every ministerial nominee must produce, actual proof of compliance as required by the Constitution and the Rules of the Senate, you must declare your assets, and you must have a certificate of proof that you have declared your assets, and that you are given a certificate of proof by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). So, this is another condition that we are going to be exercising during the screening exercise.

“We also, in line with our convention, agreed that for you to be cleared as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, minimum of two senators from your state must, at least, show support for your nomination. It’s a convention by the Senate, and we have decided to uphold that convention in the sanctity of the integrity of the Senate.

“I addressed you earlier, and told you that the era of take a bow and go is over. We are still going to maintain that, except with slight modification as regards former senators and former members of the National Assembly but we maintain that the screening exercise will be rigorous, will be expeditious, and it will be thorough”.

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