Senate urges President to appoint electoral commissioners

National Assembly

ABUJA (National Assembly’ Report)- The Senate at the plenary on Tuesday September 27, 2016, called on President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately nominate suitably qualified persons to fill the vacant positions at INEC in line with the Constitution to enhance the capacity of the Commission to conduct conclusive elections.

According to a statement released to the Press through the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly, the Senators made the call in a motion sponsored by Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy Senate President and Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate leader on Inclusive Elections. The Senators noted with deep concern that at least 20 States of the Federation have no Electoral Commissioners contrary to section 14 (2) of the third schedule of the 1999 constitution as amended. They further noted that INEC cannot function optimally without the full complement of members that will superintend the activities of their personnel. Furthermore, the Senators are worried that the trend has left both chambers and some States Houses of Assembly without the full complement of their membership while millions of Nigerians are left without representatives for a long period of time.

The Senators accordingly called on INEC to immediately conclude all pending rerun elections in the country and constitute an ad hoc committee to hold a public hearing to review the performance of the Commission in the past one year.

The statement also revealed that, Senator Dino Melaye moved a motion on Unscrupulous Violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous ) Act. In the motion, the Senators noted with serious concern the repatriation of $13.92 Billion illegal out of the Country by Mobile Telecommunication Limited, MTN through its bankers between 2006 and 2016. The Senators were concerned that since inception, MTN had sought the collaboration of influential and unpatriotic Nigerians to assist them in looting the country’s external reserves.

It further stated that, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Elenemah was said among others to be the conduit by which MTN siphoned $13.92 billion from the country through incorporated offshore Special Purpose Vehicle in Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island. The Senate therefore mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institution to carry out holistic investigation into the matter and report back.

It also revealed that two motions were equally treated at the plenary. They were motions on ‘Earth Tremor and the Preparedness of Nigeria to Deal with its intending consequences’ sponsored by Senator Danjumah La’ah and motion on ‘The need to ascertain the degree of Local Content in the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry’ sponsored by Senator Gershom Bassey.