From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, screened and confirmed the seven new ministerial nominees by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The screening exercise lasted about five hours
Those screened and confirmed are Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa-Ibom), Ekumankama Joseph Nkama (Ebonyi), Goodluck Nana Opiah (Imo), Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adegoroye (Ondo) and Udi Odum (Rivers).
While fielding questions from lawmakers, the first nominee that appeared, Ikechukwu Ikoh, said in tackling the issue of job creation, efforts must be made to grant operational licenses to operators of modular refineries in the country.
Another nominee, Umana Umana, who is the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, underscored the need for Nigeria to step-up its production capacity so as to boost foreign exchange earnings and reduce the country’s reliance on importation.
Ekumankama Nkama, on his part, admonished young Nigerians to tap into new areas of investment, and foster self-reliance and productivity, particularly in the local trade sector.
On the lingering strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nkama called on the Federal Government and ASUU to reach a compromise.
He also asked the National Assembly to provide additional funding for the educational sector to meet some of the needs of the union.
“For a very long time ASUU has been sticking to their guns that all the agreements reached earlier must be implemented. And we know that from the same source – the same national purse – there are several contending interest seeking for attention. My advice will be that federal government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise, and through this, we would be able to solve the issue of ASUU strike once and for all.”
Adding his voice on the need for an end to ASUU strike, Ademola Adegoroye, said the action by the union was against the interest of Nigerian students, adding that more effort must be made by government to find lasting solution to the crisis.
Goodluck Opiah, a former member of the House of Representatives, was asked by the chamber to take a bow, in accordance with its tradition of extending such privilege to past members of the National Assembly.
Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), said when sworn-in as a member of the Federal Executive Council, he would sustain and consolidate on the harmonious working relationship between the executive and National Assembly.