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Senate Cancels Wednesday’s Plenary Over Saraki’s Trial

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The planned screening of former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi as ministerial nominee was stalled by the senate Tuesday as the senate cancels Wednesday sitting for its President, Bukola Saraki.

Bukola Saraki is expected to appear at the Code of Conduct Tribunal ( CCT) , Wednesday in continuation of his trial over 13- count charge on alleged falsification of assets declaration .

Though a statement issued by the Acting Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh on postponement of senate sitting from Tuesday to Wednesday did not state any reason for it, but feelers from the leadership of the senate lend credence to the fact that Saraki as a result of his expected appearance before the Tribunal along with many of the senators, may have caused the rescheduling of plenary session.

The Senate Acting Clerk in the statement said: “This is to inform all distinguished senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the resumption of the senate in plenary has been rescheduled from Wednesday 21st October 2015, to Thursday 22nd October , 2015”.

Indications that Amaechi’s screening by the senate  would suffer a set back as it was, last week Wednesday, emerged with a sudden change of order paper earlier circulated before the plenary.

In the first order paper earlier circulated by the Senate’s Committee on Rules and Business, aside Amaehi being listed as the third nominee to be screened after Adebayo Shittu from Oyo state and Heineken Lopkobiri from Bayelsa State, reports on investigation over petition written against him by Integrity Group from Rivers state was also listed to be laid before the senate by its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition that handled the petition.

But in the second order paper hurriedly circulated at about 10:55 am when the plenary was about to begin, had no presentation of any report on petitions against nominees on it and presented three and not eight ministerial nominees for screening.

Although the Senate spokesman, Dino Melaye ( APC Kogi West) told journalists that Amaechi and five other nominees suddenly dropped from the list would be screened along with other nominees yet to be screened at subsequent legislative days, but feelers  reaching the African Examiner from the camp of senators indicated otherwise.

A pointer to this direction was the caucus meeting immediately held by the PDP senators immediately after the session where only Adebayo Shittu from Oyo State and Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim from Yobe State , were screened.

Sources from the meeting held by the PDP senators informed the our Correspondent  that Amaechi’s issue was discussed with a resolution that since the Ethics and Privileges committee is coming with a report aligning with rule 53(5) of the senate standing rules, that Amaechi ‘s nomination should not be treated by the senate.

The committee had on the strength of the rule, set aside petitions written against Amaechi on the grounds that  issues raised in the petition are already being litigated upon in the court of law and the senate as stated by the rule, must not interfere on any matter  pending in the court of law.

“If the Ethics committee is recommending that petition written against Amaechi by the Integrity Group should be set aside by the senate on the grounds of being litigated upon in the court of law, then Amaechi ‘s nomination itself should not be considered by the senate to completely align with  rule 53(5) which states that senate should not deliberate on any matter or issue being litigated upon in the court of law by interested parties”, said a source.

Of the two ministerial nominees screened, only Barrister Adebayo Shittu from Oyo state was subjected to thorough grilling by the senate while Hon Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim from Yobe State, was given the special treatment of take a bow and go , being wife of a serving Senator, Bukkar Abba Ibrahim ( APC Yobe East).


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