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Senate in rowdy session over Keyamo, confirms him, Umahi, Wike, Alake, 41 others

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.Ex-minister apologises to senators over misconduct
.As El-Rufai, two others await security clearance

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Adekunle Adesuji, Abuja

Senate on Monday refused to confirm former governor of Kaduna state , Nasir El-Rufai , Senator Danladi Abubakar and Stella Okotete as ministerial nominees pending clearance from security agency.
The Senate however confirmed nomination of former governor of Rivers state, Nyeson Wike, former Minister of Labour, Festus Keyamo, Ekperikpe Ekpo
Sen. Heineken Lokpobri, Betta Edu, John Enoh, Abubakar Momoh, Dele Alake,Tunji Alausa, Lola Ade John, Olawale Edun, Dr. Ishak Salako , Dr. Bosun Tijani , Olubunmi Tunji Ojo , Adegboyega Oyetola and Waheed Adebayo Adelabu.
Others confirmed were Uche Nnaji, Doris Aniche Uzoka, David Umahi, Nkeiruka Onyejocha, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye, Prof. Tahir Mamma, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar and Prof. Ali Pate .
Also confirmed were Abubakar Kyari,
Sen. Alkali Ahmed Saidu, Uba Maigari Ahmadu, Sen. Ibrahim Geidam ,
Badaru Abubakar, Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo, Ahmed Dangiwa, Hannatu Musawa, Dr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu, Atiku Bagudu, Bello Muhammad Goronyo, Bello Matawalle, Joseph Utsev, Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, Lateef Fagbemi,
Iman Suleiman Ibrahim, Sen. Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Muhammad Idris, Simon Lalong and Zaphaniah Bitrus Jisalo.
Earlier, Keyamo’s screening suffered initial setback after some senators asked that his screening should be suspended over an old misunderstanding with the Senate.
For several hours, Senate was divided and even forced to go behind closed door over the nomination of Keyamo.
Keyamo was the last of 48 nominees to be screened and he had everything going well for him as he mounted the rostrum, reeling out his very intimidating credential as an attorney of the law.
Keyamo informed the Senate how he had spent the last 30 years using the instrumentality of the law to advance the course of democracy and the rule of law and even how he used his expertise in law to strengthen the powers of the Senate.
Trouble however started for Keyamo when the Deputy Minority Leader, Darlington Nwokocha – turned the power of the Senate on him.
Coming under Order 88 (1), Nwokocha drew Senate attention back to events in 2020 and around the issue of Public Works Funds, amounting to N52 billion.
Keyamo in 2020 had ran into conflicts with lawmakers over the management of the funds appropriated by the National Assembly to pay 1,000 Public Works employees recruited in each of the 774 Local Government Areas .
Nwokocha recalled how Keyamo at that time denied lawmakers representatives of the people the opportunity to oversight the exercise and even refused to honour invitations from both chambers of the National Assembly to explain how the money was disbursed and the impact it had on the people.
The motion was seconded by Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe who recalled Keyamo’s behavior very vividly saying that his ministerial screening should be suspended until the time the nominee fully accepts to subject himself to the questions by the National Assembly over the N52 billion Public Works Funds.
By this time, the Keyamo’s screening had effectively divided the Senate with some senators calling on the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio to call for division and put the question again for those in support or against Keyamo’s nomination.
At this point, Senate had become completely rowdy-with Keyamo rooted to his feet, his fate squarely in the hands of the lawmakers.
The Senate was eventually forced behind closed door with Akpabio rising to his feet in his bid to call senators on both sides of the divide to order.
After the closed door session , it was learnt that Akpabio quickly rushed to State House to brief Presidency.
But, when Senate reconvened, remorseful Keyamo tendered an unreserved apology to the Senate for his conduct.

Keyamo’s apology to lawmakers was  over his conduct in 2020, when it was said he ignored summons of both chambers of National Assembly to explain the disbursement of N52 billion public works programme of the Federal Government.

He thereafter explained payment to the beneficiaries of the public works programme was made by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) direct to the beneficiary’s account with their verifiable BVN.

According to him, every beneficiary was duly registered and documented and could be verified by the Senate.

President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio noted that government was a continuum, adding that the Senate has the right to investigate the payment of the money to the beneficiaries.

Sen. Godiya Akwasiki (SDP-Nasarawa) however urged the senate to accept the apology tendered by the nominee, given his remorseful disposition.

Sen. Alli Ndume (APC-Borno) thereafter moved a motion that the senate accepts the apology of the nominee, while Sen. Jaribe Agom (PDP- Cross River) moved another motion that the nominee take leave of the senate after his apology was accepted by the senate, given the ruling of President of Senate.

Attempts by some senators to subject him to further scrutiny were deflected by the Senate President and Keyamo was allowed to take leave of the Senate.

 

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