Fred Itua, Abuja
Barring any last minute change, the Senate will today, confirm the screening of 43 ministerial nominees as Minister-designates.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who presided during the confirmation hearing of 40 nominees, said the remaining three will be screened today, after which they will be confirmed.
Those to be screened today are Lai Mohammed (Kwara), Saleh Mamman (Taraba) and Sabo Nanono (Kano). They are expected to be screened before 1pm today, before commencement of confirmation at about 2pm.
At the end of the exercise, yesterday, nine nominees- Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Muhammad Mahmoud (Kaduna), Senator Gbemisola Saraki (Kwara), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Goddy Jedy-Agba (Cross Agba), Sulaiman Adamu (Jigawa), Clement (Edo), Maryam Katagum (Bauchi) and Geoffrey Onyeama (Enugu)- were screened.
“Colleagues, by the grace of God, we will be taking the last three nominees tomorrow (today). We will be confirming the nominees that have been screened. That will mark the end of the exercise,” Lawan announced at the end of the nine-hour exercise.
Meanwhile, there was an altercation between Lawan and Dino Melaye over alleged corruption status of some of the ministerial nominees.
Melaye, who got up to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Goddy Jedy-Agba from Cross Rivers State, noted that the nominee is one of those who were not undergoing any investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Disturbed by the statement, Lawan, interrupted Melaye by hitting his gavel. He countered Melaye’s position.
Lawan said: “All the nominees before us went through security clearance and if anyone has any EFCC case the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria provides for innocence until proven guilty. So none of our nominee is a convict.”
Not satisfied with Lawan’s interjection, Melaye reiterated that some of the nominees were undergoing investigation, maintaining that he has not passed judgment.
Melaye expressed the hope that the nominee will adopt the international best practices to respond to pipeline vandalisation if he becomes the minister of petroleum.