Senate to now screen ambassadorial nominees

Asks Buhari to submit final list

THE Senate, on Wednesday, directed its Committee on Foreign Affairs to commence immediately with the screening and eventual confirmation of the 47 career ambassadorial nominees forwarded to the chamber by President Mohammadu Buhari on June 8.

The lawmakers had shunned the consideration of the list before the resolution on Wednesday, following objections to the list by some senators.

The senators had raised issue of imbalance and lack of compliance to Federal Character principle contained in the Constitution.

They had also openly protested that non- inclusion of nominees from some states was an embarrassment, despite the fact that all the states had qualified kinsmen in the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Four states, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ebonyi and Plateau, had no nominees in the 47-man list of career officers sent to the Senate on June 8.

The Senate, however, summoned the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachi David Lawal and the Minister of Foreign  Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, to explain the irregularities and the lopsidedness in the nomination of the career ambassadors.

A report by the committee on Wednesday, read by Senator Shehu Sani, said the committee found out that states whose indigenes were not featured in the list was because they did not meet the criteria for the nomination.

He informed that it was recommended that the “Senate and the executive arm of government should, as a matter of urgency, facilitate the screening and confirmation hearings of all the career and non-career ambassadorial nominees as well as the process of postings, to quickly fill the vacuum in all Nigerians Missions abroad.”

While it concluded that the nominees were meticulously selected in line with due diligence, the committee advised the president to expedite action on the submission of the list of the non-career nominees which, he said, was expected to balance the perceived lopsidedness in the nominations.