Nigeria: Senate Postpones Recess, Amends Rules to Screen Buhari's Ministerial Nominees

President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate has decided to postpone its annual recess in order to screen President Muhammadu Buhari's ministerial nominees.

The lawmakers had planned to embark on the vacation on Thursday. The recess usually lasts for about seven weeks.

The decision to postpone the recess was reached after the upper chamber received the list of ministerial nominees.

The Senate's acting spokesperson, Adedayo Adeyeye, disclosed the resolution to journalists after plenary on Tuesday.

He said the decision was made to hasten the screening process of the appointees.

The president sent the list of ministerial nominees to the Senate and it was announced on Tuesday morning. The list includes 43 appointees and was read on the floor of the Senate at the start of plenary.

The Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan, who read out the letter, stated that the screening process will commence on Wednesday.

Briefing journalists, Mr Adeyeye said the Senate has also resolved to suspend its rules and hold plenary on odd days.

"We have postponed the recess till next week, end of next week. We are suspending a lot of our rules.

"Plenary normally does not hold on Fridays, plenary will hold on Friday this week and Monday next week in other to hasten the process. We want to do a thorough job and we want Nigerians to know that we are doing a thorough job. It is going to be a lot of sacrifice on our path.

"We are going to work in unusual hours, normally we sit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., that will not apply till during this confirmation hearing. We are going to sit till very late, virtually every day. On Friday, we will sit till we are tired. We will go on a brief recess and might proceed until 10 p.m.

"We have given ourselves enough time, we will work in unusual hours," he said.

He further explained that the ninth Senate is a complete departure from the past and if the screening process is rushed, it will not be thorough.

When asked if ministerial nominees who perform below expectation will be confirmed, Uba Sani, a member of the committee, said the ninth Senate will take the screening process very seriously.

"Those who usually will be asked to bow, this time around we will try as much as possible to ask them so they explain to the public what they intend to do.

"Even those who are returning will be asked to tell Nigerians their plan. Nigeria will you want them to know their agenda.

"One cannot be able to answer the question at the moment, we cannot prejudge them. We believe all the nominees of the president are qualified," he said.

Mr Adeyeye said the Senate is an independent body, the constitution gave the lawmakers the role to either confirm or reject a nominee.

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