Senate in Chaos Over Motion to Suspend Keyamo's Screening

By Mohammed Bello Doka

Abuja Network News, 
August 7, 2023

The Nigerian Senate was thrown into chaos today as a motion was introduced to suspend the ministerial screening of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Festus Keyamo. The motion, presented by Senator Darlington Nwokocha from Abia Central Senatorial District, was quickly seconded by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe from Abia-South Senatorial District.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio conducted a voice vote on the motion, but the lawmakers were sharply divided. The result was a raucous scene in the red chamber. In an effort to restore order, Senate Majority Leader Opeyemi Bamidele called for a closed-door session.

A visibly concerned Akpabio announced that the Senate would now enter into a closed session to address the matter at hand.

The motion to suspend Keyamo's screening was prompted by accusations made by Senator Nwokocha, who claimed that the former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity disrespected the 9th National Assembly and accused the previous assembly of corruption.

Nwokocha highlighted an incident during the Buhari administration, where Keyamo was invited to explain a Special Public Works program. However, Keyamo did not honor the invitation. The program, which aimed to recruit 1,000 youths from each of the 774 local governments for a three-month period with a monthly payment of N20,000, faced complaints and allegations of favoritism.

Following these allegations, the Senate Public Account Committee initiated a probe into the matter. Nwokocha claims that Keyamo deliberately avoided the committee's invitation, accusing the Senate of attempting to hijack the investigation process.

It is worth noting that Keyamo was the final nominee from President Bola Tinubu's 48-man ministerial list to be screened by the Senate. He appeared before the red chamber today, following former Commissioner for Higher Education in Kano State, Mariya Mahmoud.

Keyamo, who initially did not make the President's first and second ministerial lists, expressed gratitude towards Tinubu for the nomination. He admitted to losing hope of being included in the new administration's Federal Executive Council before the last-minute turn of events.

Festus Keyamo, known for his role as a spokesperson for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council during the February 25, 2023 election, now awaits the decision of the Senate regarding his ministerial appointment.

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