Senate screens, confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

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The Senate yesterday screened and confirmed seven ministerial nominees President Muhammadu Buhari sent to it last week.

The seven minister-designates include Henry Ikechukwu Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom), and Ekumankama Joseph Nkama (Ebonyi).

Others are: Goodluck Nana Opiah (Imo), Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adewole Adegoroye (Ondo), and Udi Odum (Rivers).

While responding to questions from senators, Ikoh noted that in tackling job creation, efforts must be made to grant operational licences to operators of modular refineries in the country.

The nominee from Akwa Ibom State, Umana Okon Umana, who is the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, underscored the need for Nigeria to step up its production capacity to boost foreign exchange earnings and reduce the country’s reliance on importation.

Ekumankama Joseph Nkama admonished young Nigerians to tap into new areas of investment, so as to foster self-reliance and productivity, particularly in the country’s trade sector.

On the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nkama urged the Federal Government and the union to reach a compromise.

The ministerial nominee also asked the National Assembly to provide additional funding for the Education sector to enable it meet some of its pressing needs.

He said: “There will be the need for compromise. For a very long time ASUU has been sticking to its guns that all the agreements reached earlier must be implemented.

“And we know that from the same source – the same national purse – there are several contending interests seeking attention. “My advice will be that the Federal Government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise. Through this, we would be able to solve the issue of ASUU strike once and for all.

“I know the importance of budgetary provision. I want to appeal to the Senate that when the budget is being made for the coming year, there will be adequate provision for the Education sector so that some of these needs that the ASUU members are asking for as a union will be met.”

On the urgent need to end the ASUU strike, Ademola Adewole Adegoroye said the union’s action was against the interest of Nigerian students, adding that the government needs to make more efforts to find a lasting solution to protracted strikes.

Goodluck Nana Opiah, a former member of the House of Representatives, was asked to take a bow, in accordance with its tradition of extending such privileges to past members of the National Assembly.

Umar Ibrahim El-Yakub, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), said when sworn in as a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), promised to sustain and consolidate on the harmonious working relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly.

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