Senate screens nine ministerial nominees Monday, three to go

Nigerian Senate
The Chamber of the Nigerian Senate

The Senate on Monday screened nine more ministerial nominees appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Those screened on Monday are a former minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Muhammad Mahmoud, Gbemisola Saraki, ex-Osun governor Rauf Aregbesola and Goddy Jedi-Agba.

Others are former Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Maryam Katagun’ Clement Agba and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

This brings the number of nominees screened to 40 out of the 43 appointed.

Of the nine nominees screened on Monday, three were given the traditional ‘take a bow’ treatment. They are Muhammad Mahmoud and Gbemisola Saraki, who were asked to take a bow on grounds of legislative background and Maryam Katagun, asked to bow and go on grounds of gender.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported the number of nominees screened as at Thursday and Friday as well as nominees who were told to take a bow and those who were grilled by the lawmakers.

During his screening, Mr Jedy-Agba complained of the poor state of pipelines. He said they are made of metals and are as old as refineries.

“Today, in advanced oil economics, there are new systems of pipelining. We don’t have to make use of metal. It won’t burst to degrade our environment. They are laid and piped to a control room where it signals if there is a problem,” he said.

Mr Jedi-Agbe also talked about oil bunkering, which he said, is no crime.

“It is used to load vessels. It is a legitimate business; it is not stealing. It is like buying an aircraft. There are 19 agencies at the loading port. If I am there, I will add inland revenue service. I will ask all oil companies both locally and international to establish a control room so everything is accounted for.

Mr Adamu was asked if he has plans to complete dams if designated to the same ministry and he said if the dam is meant for supply, the state government will take it up.

He also said lack of professionalism caused the delay in the building of dams and that the public service is deficient of skill in contract services.

The minister also called for the privatisation of water.

“We need state governments to invest more money. We must find a way to do privatisation of water. The cost of providing water is significant. The National Assembly should revisit the water resources bill for investment. We must be ready to accept long term plans,” he said.

On his part, Geoffrey Onyeama said serving as a minister under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is the high point of his professional career.

Addressing xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, he disclosed that he met with the South African Minister of Foreign Affairs over the attacks. He also said he proposed an “early warning mechanism” – an idea he said, is to build confidence and ensure Nigerians in South Africa can talk to the highest authorities there.

He also proposed a “hotline” between the ministers in Nigeria and South Africa to promptly respond to emergencies. He said the ministry, in collaboration with the presidency and other relevant agencies, has improved foreign relations.

After the screening process, the lawmakers reverted to plenary to report progress.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, announced that the screening process will continue on Tuesday.

Nominees to be screened on Tuesday are Sabo Nanono, Saleh Mamman and former Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

Mr Lawan also said the approval and confirmation of all screened nominees will be done on Tuesday – which will mark the end of the screening exercise.

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