The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Halilu Shaba as Director General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).
The confirmation was a sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
The Senate made the confirmation completely ignoring a petition levelled against the now confirmed nominee. No lawmaker mentioned the petition.
Chairperson of the Committee, Uche Ekwunife, who presented the report, said Mr Shaba showed evidence of more than 21 years demonstrable experience in science and technology and knowledge of space.
She said he was thoroughly interrogated when he appeared before the committee for screening and that the committee was satisfied with his responses and convinced that he was qualified.
She, however, did not mention whether or not there was a petition against the nominee – an information that is always passed to the Senate when confirming a nominee.
She recommended that Mr Shaba be confirmed.
The petition against Mr Shaba was one of the nine petitions laid before the Senate by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Ayo Akinyelure.
According to the document he read, the petitioner, Nnamdi Onuka of the Academic Union of Research Institutions, made the petition against Mr Shaba and the Minister of Science and Technology,
His petition is “a fervent appeal to scrutinise the recommendation of Mr Shaba to the Senate for confirmation in view of disregard for due process in the ongoing appointment of substantive Director General/CEO of NASDRA.”
Further details of the petition were not read out as Mr Akinyelure was only laying the petitions.
Although he did not state when the National Assembly received the petitions, the senator said they were petitions sent “to the office of the Senate President that were yet to be laid.”
It is also not clear if the committee of Science and Technology was aware of the petition.
Usually, whenever a petition is written against a nominee, the committee in charge of screening is mandated to consider and investigate details of the petition before recommending the nominee for confirmation or rejection – pending the outcome of the investigation.
After Mrs Ekwunife’s presentation, two senators, Sabi Abdullahi and Ajayi Boroffice, also said the nominee be confirmed.
The lawmakers approved the confirmation when the question was put to voice vote by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter on March 2, asked the Senate to confirm Mr Shaba.
Mr Shaba had been acting as DG of the agency following the expiration of the two-term tenure of Seidu Mohammed, a professor, in June 2020.
Before now, he served as a deputy director at the National Emergency Management Agency between 2006 and 2009, before joining NASRDA.
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