APC Senators defy party’s directive, screen military chiefs

Senate chamber

At least seven senators of the oppositionAll Progress Congress, APC, on Monday participated in the screening of military chiefs nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan last week, in an apparent defiance of the party’s directive that its members block the exercise and similar executive proposals to the National Assembly.

Senators Attai Aidoko, Kogi State; Femi Ojudu, Ekiti State; Boroffice Ajayi, Ondo State; Akin Odunsi, Ogun State; Mohammed Saleh, Kaduna State;  Kabiru Marafa, Zamfara State and Bindowo Jibrilla, Adamawa State attended the meeting of the Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, where the screening was conducted.

The party had directed its members to act against proposals from the executive, in protest of Mr. Jonathan’s handling of the crisis in Rivers State where Governor Chibuike Amaechi, the state police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, and some state lawmakers, are embroiled in a prolonged feud.

The APC said its members should specifically block the passage of the 2014 budget, and the approval of nominees for ministerial positions as well as confirmation of the appointment of new military chiefs.

Ahead of the commencement of the screening Monday, senators and members of the House of Representatives indicated their readiness to heed the party’s instruction. But the seven senators later took part in the meeting.

It was not clear what role the APC lawmakers played during the actual proceedings which was conducted behind closed-doors.

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the joint committee, George Sekibo, said the exercise conformed with the law, although it was the first time the National Assembly would screen military nominees since the return of democracy.

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