Majority of ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari may be disqualified except they are able to provide their asset declaration certificate by next week.
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan indicated this while sustaining a point of order raised by the Senator representing Bayelsa West at the National Assembly, Lawrence Ewrudjiakpo, during the screening of Buhari’s ministerial nominees on Friday.
The provision of the asset declaration certificate is one of the prerequisites for persons holding public office in the country.
This implies that 42 out of the 43 ministerial nominees who have once held public office risk being disqualified if they don’t provide evidence of asset declaration by next week.
Ewrudjiakpo had noted that the Senate rules stipulate that all ministerial nominees who have once held public office must make available their certificate of asset declaration to the Senate.
Order 121 states: “The Senate shall not consider the nomination of any person who has occupied any office contained in part 1 of the 5th Schedule of the constitution prior to his nomination unless there is written evidence that he has declared his assets and liabilities as required by Section13 of Part 1 of the 5th Schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Such declaration shall be required for scrutiny by the Senate.”
The Bayelsa senator, who argued that most of the nominees that had been screened had failed to abide by this rule, called on the Senate to enforce this rule in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
Ewrudjiakpo stated: “Mine is an appeal to say that all the nominees that have appeared before us, very few of them have provided evidence of declaration of assets. I move that the National Assembly liaison should facilitate their submission of such declaration because before we were sworn in, we declared our assets.
“I want to suggest that the Senate takes this notice and asks them before we go into the confirmation stage to submit such requirement.”
Responding to the point of order, the Senate President said, “Your point of order is sustained.”
Ewrudjiakpo, while addressing journalists later, said the constitution requires the President, Vice President, the service chiefs and heads of extra-ministerial departments to declare their assets before they are screened
“It is a breach of the constitution. If we are fighting corruption, we must be seen to be doing so. We should know what they are worth before coming to office and what they are worth at the end of their tenure,” he argued.
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