The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Monday suspended consideration of the petitions it received against the nomination of former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi [pictured above].
Rotimi Amaechi at the National Assembly on Monday, 12th of October, 2015
This is coming on the heels the Senatorial screening of all Ministerial nominees slated for Tuesday, the 13th of October.
“The case was suspended because the case is still in court”, Elombah.com was told.
However, there were speculations that other extraneous matters including Saraki’s own prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, played a role in the decision to suspend the probe.
Three Senators from Rivers state had forwarded a petition written by the Integrity Group, alleging financial impropriety against Amaechi with the aim of preventing him from being confirmed as minister.
The group claimed that Amaechi mismanaged N70 billion Rivers State funds.
The Senate committee, after a brief meeting with Amaechi at the National Assembly, said the subject matter of the petition which is related to the white paper on a report of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry is already a subject of court case.
The former Rivers governor, who appeared before the committee in company with his former Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari and two members of the House of Representatives, told the panelists that the matter upon which the committee invited him is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“Amaechi is Not Qualified to Be a Minister”
Meanwhile the Rivers State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insists that former governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not qualified to be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In a Press Statement Signed Jerry Needam, Special Adviser On Media And Publicity, To Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah on Monday October 12, 2015.
“This is consequent upon the fact that the combined effect of Sections 66 (1) and 147 (5) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and read together, disqualifies Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State from becoming a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
In view of the foregoing, it is instructive to spell out the constitutional provision which states as follow:
Section 66 (1) (h) states thus: “No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunal of Inquiry Act or a Tribunal of Inquiry Law or any law by the Federal Republic of Nigeria or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Government respectively”.
Furthermore, Section 147 (5) states thus: “No person shall be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives”.
Suffice it to hold that Section 147 (5) as spelt out above unequivocally states that what qualifies or disqualifies a member of the House of Representatives applies to a Ministerial Nominee, for which former governor Chibuike Amaechi is one.
The PDP hereby states that Hon. Justice George Omereji Judicial Commission of Inquiry indicted Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and the report is accepted by the Rivers State Government and the White Paper duly issued.
Against this background therefore, the PDP further insists and submits that by the provisions of the law as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is not qualified to be a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.