The Senate has lifted its embargo on the confirmation of executive appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari, The PUNCH has confirmed.
It was reliably learnt that the embargo, which lasted over one year, was lifted at a closed-door session held by the lawmakers on October 10, 2018.
The embargo was placed in protest against the retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite his non-confirmation by the Senate.
The senators were also angered by a statement credited to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who was quoted as saying that he agreed with the activist lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), that Section 171 of the Constitution empowered President Muhammadu Buhari to make certain appointments without recourse to the legislature for approval.
Speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, a Peoples Democratic Party senator from the South-East geopolitical zone said the lawmakers resumed from their annual recess to lift the embargo.
The senator spoke on the condition of anonymity because members are barred from making public discussions in the chamber’s executive sessions.
He said, “We have lifted that (the embargo). We did it (placed the embargo) based on certain premises and after a while, those issues were resolved. You can see that we are clearing the backlogs and all the outstanding screenings and confirmations. We are doing them. So, it has been lifted.”
When asked why there was no resolution vacating the earlier resolution placing the embargo, the lawmaker said it was done behind closed doors.
“It must not necessarily be a resolution as per coming on the floor. It was a resolution we took at a closed session,” the senator said.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, could not be reached on the telephone on Monday to speak on the development. Calls made to his telephone did not connect.
Several calls made to the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who had on several occasions asked the Senate leadership to lift the embargo, were not picked.
Since the National Assembly resumed from its annual two-month recess on October 9, 2018, the Senate has confirmed series of appointments, some of which were under embargo for over one year.
On October 10, the Senate confirmed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former National Legal Adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Dr Muiz Banire as Chairman of the Governing Board of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria.
Same day, the chamber confirmed Mr Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
On October 24, the Senate confirmed the appointments of the Chairman and 12 Commissioners of the Federal Civil Service Commission.
Upon resumption, members of the All Progressives Congress caucus had suspended their plan to force Senator Bukola Saraki to resign as President of the Senate or plot his impeachment.
Reliable sources had disclosed that both the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party caucuses, who had been at daggers drawn over who controls the Senate, had resolved to suspend the infighting as both parties had failed some of their members in the chamber.