The Senate on Wednesday, July 24, commenced the screening of the 43 ministerial nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, July 24, for confirmation. So far the Senate has screened 24 of the 43 ministerial nominees. 10 of the nominees were screened on Wednesday, July 24, while 14 of them were screened on Thursday, July 25. Some of the nominees the Senate screened on Thursday, July 25, were Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo), Mustapha Shehuri (Borno), Abubakar Aliyu (Yobe), Bashir Magashi (Kano), Ramatu Aliyu (Kogi), and Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa). Catch up with the live updates of the day one of the ministerial screening here. In case you missed the day two of the live updates, quickly catch up here. Updated: 10:48 AM Ministerial nominee from Kebbi state:
Abubakar Malami The immediate past minister for justice and attorney general of the federation Abubakar Malami stands to be screened by the Senate. Addressing the Senate, Malami says he was called to the Nigerian bar in 1992. He says some achievements were recorded during his time as minister for justice and attorney general of the federation.
Malami says cost-effective measures were taken in terms of administration of justice. He says no meaningful success can be achieved without integration, without collaboration and without working together. Malami says he will work within the confines of the constitution of Nigeria if given the chance to serve Nigeria again as minister. Senator Michael Opeyemi representing Ekiti Central senatorial district of Ekiti state stands to ask Malami how he intends to work closely with the National Assembly. Opeyemi also asked Malami how he would like to be remembered as the attorney general. The deputy Senate president Ovie Omo-Agege also stands to speak. Omo-Agege ask expresses his interest in the Petroleum Industry Bill. He says he wants to know if Malami will take the bill as a priority. Abubakar Malami appears before the Senate for ministerial screening. The minority leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, asks Malami to explain why those that have been granted bail have not been released. Responding to one of the questions regarding the PIB, Malami says the bill was rejected by the president because the interest of the host community was comprised. In his response to Abaribe’s question, the ministerial nominee says those granted bail and yet to be freed were being held in the overall interest of the country. Malami says public interest supersedes individual interest in the signing of bill by the president. Responding to one of Senator Opeyemi’s questions, Malami says he wants to be remembered as being an attorney general that ensures that Nigeria remains one. He also wants to be remembered as an attorney general that ensures the effectiveness of the judicial system. Senate president Ahmad Lawan asks Malami to take a bow and go.
Updated: 11:52 AM Ministerial nominee from Katsina state: Hadi Sirika The immediate former minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika, appears before the Senate to be screened. He says 157 projects were embarked upon during his tenure as minister of state for aviation, but not all the projects were completed. The minority leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, asks Sirika to do something about Enugu airport, adding that he should take a bow and go. Sirika is asked to take a bow without being asked any question as a privilege given to former federal lawmakers. In his remarks, Senate president Ahmad Lawan says there is need for bills to be passed and assented on time. Ahmad congratulates Sirika for performing well during his time as minister of state for aviation and approves the latter’s ‘take a bow’ privilege. Hadi Sirika appears before the Senate for ministerial screening. Updated: 12:13 PM The Senate goes on break and resolve to resume by 4:00pm The Senate goes on break and resolve to resume the ministerial screening by 4:00pm. Updated: 16:16 PM Ministerial nominee from Edo state: Osagie Ehanire Former minister of state for health, Osagie Ehanire, appears before the Senate to be screened as the upper chamber reconvenes. Ehanire thanks the Senate for its contribution to the health sector. Responding to the question of fake drugs, Ehanire says the check on fake drugs is a combined effort, adding that NAFDAC is involved. He says it is a joint effort among different agencies. The ministerial nominee says the NHIS is still a work in progress. He says he understands that the Senate has sent a bill which is being study. He says building primary healthcare centre is a favourite constituency project of senators, adding that the policy of the government is to have a primary healthcare centre in every political ward. Ehanire says the primary healthcare is receiving more funding now than it was receiving in the past. Senate president Ahmad Lawan asks Ehanire to take a bow and go. Osagie Ehanire appears before the Senate for ministerial screening. Updated: 17:09 PM Ministerial nominee from Delta state:
Festus Keyamo Festus Keyamo (SAN) from Delta state is the next nominee to be screened. Keyamo served as Buhari’s 2019 presidential campaign organisation’s spokesman. Senate president Lawan introduced him before his colleagues. I have spent my life promoting justice, Keyamo says as he begins his introductory speech. “The story of my life has been one totally dedicated for social justice using the instrumentality of the law; using it to fight for human rights, accountable government and to promote democracy,” he says. Keyamo says further: “It is also that passion to entrench democracy that made me, to years ago, go to court to enforce the powers of this national assembly on my own volition. And I won the case where the court said service chiefs must come and bow before this chamber regarding their appointment.” The passion for human rights has led me to defend students, civil rights activists, social crusaders across the country free of charge; including separatist leaders in respect of their rights,” the senior lawyer adds. Keyamo says he has been mentored by two of the strongest Nigerians in terms of human rights including late Gani Fawehinmi and President Muhammadu Buhari. Delta APC was formed in my house, adds Keyamo, adding that he is a foundation member of APC in Delta state. “The first major meeting of APC in Delta was held in my house; in my parlour. So I can say the APC was formed in my house,” he says. In his concluding remarks, Keyamo says he he has a lot to prove and wants make a change. “I want to be part of the process; I have a lot to prove and I want to make a change,” he says. Time for questions from the senators Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, representing Ekiti central tells Keyamo that “being a public administrator is different from being activist.” He thereafter asks the nominee how he intends to balance his life as a minister and an activist.
He also asks Keyamo to tell Nigerians his philosophy of life and it will be brought to bear in the team of President Buhari. Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president, says Keyamo’s nomination will be a “great addition” to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). There is no area the “landmark achievements of Keyamo” could not be seen, Omo-Agege adds. Michael Nnachi from Ebonyi claims a lot of customers that deposited their money in NDIC have not gotten it, and that it “appears NDIC has now gone into comatose.” He asks Keyamo why this is so with the company. Abaribe to Keyamo: “There is a committee going around usurping the functions of the code of conduct known as the Obla committee.
Tell us why you have not defended these people asked by the committee to appear before it because it is not in the constitution.” Senator Dino Melaye fires his question to Keyamo: “As a man qualified as attorney-general of federation, do you think the powers of the AGF has met three interests: public interest, interest of justice and need to prevent abuse of legal process.” The Kogi West senator also saks Keyamo to recite the second stanza of the national anthem Melaye says:”I know you to be intellectually mobile, I want you to recite the national anthem.” The Senate president, however, says Melaye cannot ask the ministerial nominee to recite national anthem. “That is not a question, you have asked one direct and this one is not a question,” Lawan tells Melaye. Keyamo responding to the questions I will unbundle the supreme court and decongest prisons, he says. “If I am AGF, I have the idea I call the three Ds that will be at the heart of judicial reforms: decongestion of supreme court, decongestion of prisons and decongestion of cases lists in courts which relates to speedy trial.”
“My first task will be to unbundle the supreme court; it is the busiest in the world and that is not acceptable. Some of the cases that go there are frivolous. This country is big enough to have six regional courts.” Keyamo continues: “Every police station should open itself to the nearest magistrate courts for inspection; same with the DPOs. But they are not complying with those provisions of the Administration of criminal justice act.” “Magistrates should be given the powers to grant bail even in matters involving murder when there is no evidence at the early stage,” says Keyamo Updated: 17:52 PM Keyamo still responding to the questions by the Senate The ministerial nominee from Delta state says the AGF’s power should be reviewed “We should amend the law to make the powers of the attorney general and DPP subject to judicial review. It is subject to abuse when people accused of abuse are freed,” he says. Speaking on Malami’s withdrawal of Goje’s case in court, Keyamo says: “I can vouch for Malami that he must have seen there is no case in a suit which is why he withdrew it. I can vouch for him even in my sleep.” Speaking further, Keyamo says lawmakers are the greatest activists He says: “Activism is the same as governance. We have great activists even as senators. The greatest activists are those in government and people in the legislature.” Keyamo has now been asked to take a bow. Updated: 18:05 PM Ministerial nominee from Plateau state: Pauline Tallen Pauline Tallen from Plateau state is the next ministerial nominee to be screened. She is the fifth female nominee to be screened by the Senate. As the Senate president president introduces Tallen, he speaks about the lawmakers’s decision not to question female nominees. “This senate is gender-sensitive. We want to support you right from your screening up till you complete your duty,” Lawan says. All previous female nominees were also asked to take a bow and go without fielding questions. “I was here in 1999 and I am here again. I am not tribalistic, I don’t discriminate,” Tallen says as she begins her introductory speech. “When we entertain our female nominees, the two leaders normally speak on behalf of the senate. So I am making a plea to our colleagues from Plateau state,” Lawan says. Tallen has been asked to take a bow and go following the speeches by the Senate leaders. Updated: 18:28 PM Ministerial nominee from Gombe state: Isa Pantami Isa Pantami, the director general of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is the next ministerial nominee be screened. He is the seventh ministerial nominee to be screened today. Seantor Adamu Aliero, representing Kebbi central, asks the nominee what he will do to revive the Abuja technology village.
Senate’s deputy chief whip, Sabi Abdullahi, asks Pantami what he will do to address out-of-school children menace. Pantami now responding to questions asked him. On NigComSat-1, he says he would prefer its commercialisation rather than privatisation, citing security as the basis for his preference. The ministerial nominee also advocates for tax holiday for investors. “Sadly, when you want investors to come, there should be tax holiday. When that is achieved we can come up with some agreements on how we can start benefiting from such,” he says.
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