Senate debates service chiefs, ambassadorial nominees, others as National Assembly resumes

Senate debates service chiefs, ambassadorial nominees, others as National Assembly resumes
Published February 9, 2021
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan
Sunday Aborisade and Leke Baiyewu
The National Assembly will on Tuesday ( today) resume plenary , marking the end of the parliament ’s Christmas and New Year break .
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives had passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill on December 21 , 2019 , following which they adjourned plenary till January 26 , 2021 .
The resumption was postponed till February 9 due to the ongoing nationwide membership registration and revalidation exercise by the ruling All Progressives Congress, which has majority of members in both chambers .
The Senate will today start the consideration of the communications sent to it by the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , while on recess .
The Presidency had sent two separate communications to the Senate , seeking confirmation for the new service chiefs and their predecessors, who were nominated as non-career ambassadors .
Some senators are also expected to raise motion on the insecurity in the country and the issue of cryptocurrency ban , among other national issues .
A principal officer from an opposition party told our correspondent on conditions of anonymity that many senators were not happy that the President sent the names of former service chiefs to be confirmed as ambassadors after the Senate had passed vote of no confidence on them .
However the Senate Leader , Abdullahi Yahaya , said the screening and confirmation of the former service chiefs as ambassadors would pass normal legislative procedure.
“ About the nomination of the service chiefs as ambassadors , the communication would be read hopefully by the Senate President tomorrow ( Tuesday ) and whatever happens , we will pass it on to the committee on foreign affairs .
“ I don ’t want to pre – empt the committee . Let them do what is just and right and let them apply all the criteria for appointment of ambassadors for the country .”
However, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters ( Senate ) , Babajide Omoworare , said it was normal for the Presidency to lobby senators to pave the way for the nominees ’ confirmation .
Omoworare said the fact that the Senate was not comfortable with the performance of the erstwhile service chiefs on insecurity, does not mean that they would not perform as ambassadors .
He said, “ For them to even be service chiefs , it means they have attained some height because being service chief is being at the pinnacle of their career which is an achievement .”
Senate shall debate Fulani herdsmen today – Leader
Earlier , Abdullahi , told one of our correspondents that the red chamber would discuss the menace of Fulani herdsmen across the country today.
Abdullahi said the senator representing the Ondo North in the Senate , Prof . Ajayi Boroffice, would come up with a motion on the issue .
He said the Federal Government should encourage local political leaders in areas with herdsman crises to find a lasting solution to it .
Recall that the Presidency had opposed a recent directive by the Ondo State Government that Fulani herdsmen should vacate the Ondo forest reserves .
But Abdullahi said, “ I think these are issues that should be resolved at the local level either through dialogue or give and take .
“ They are people that had lived together ; they should come together and engage in a dialogue .
“ The Federal Government is too distant to resolve every communal dispute everywhere . Inter communal dispute should be resolved by the people in the area .
“ There would be hopefully tomorrow ( Tuesday ) or Wednesday a general motion , which I think it will be sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader , Ajayi Boroffice; he will come with a motion on the issue on the floor of the Senate tomorrow ( Tuesday ) .
“ When senators discuss, it is going to be very rich because we come from various areas all over the country . ”
Meanwhile, at the National Assembly Complex on Monday , one of our correspondents observed that the luggage scanners at the entrances to the building , which had been abandoned for almost two years, were now working .
One of our correspondents and several others , who were not aware that the devices had been fixed , were asked to subject the items they held to scanning at the backdoor of the White House section . The scanner was manned by new faces.
In a related development , some legislative aides threatened on Monday to frustrate the resumption over unpaid salaries since 2019 .
The aides called on the lawmakers to prevail on the Clerk to the National Assembly , Amos Ojo , to pay their salary arrears without further delay.
According to a statement they issued under the auspices of the Salaries Arrears Affected Legislative Aides , payment of the “ long -awaited” arrears is the only way to avert crisis in the parliament.
It was signed by Zebis Prince for the South -South , Tony Omali ( North -Central ) , Adebisi Kilanso ( South – West ) , Waziri Anaba ( North -West ) , Chinedu Nwokeukwu ( South -West ) and Audi Alaso ( North -East) .
The aggrieved aides listed some of their grievances non -payment of routine Duty Tour Allowance , training , non -implementation of National Minimum Wage and the Consolidated Legislative Aides Salary Structure , among others , which were already being enjoyed by National Assembly staff members.

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