Senate Ignores Sultan of Sokoto, Accept President Jonathan’s Hajj Commission Choices

Senate Ignores Sultan of Sokoto, Accept President Jonathan’s Hajj Commission Choices

By Seyi Peters | Staff Reporter on May 22, 2015
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Muhammadu Buhari, Sultan of Sokoto, Corruption , JAMB
Sultan of Sokoto Mohamed Sa’ad Abubakar III

The Senate on Thursday, May 21, 2015 ignored a strongly worded petition sent by theNigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) asking it not to accept the list of new members of the board of the Nigeria Hajj Commission (NAHCON) sent in by President Jonathan,

The petition, signed by the Secretary of the NSCIA, Ishaq Okoye was quoted to have said (among other things): “The way and manner in which the re-constitution is done smack of bad faith and symptomatic of a sinister plan to cause friction and disaffection within the rank and file of the Nigerian Muslim Community while covering up some irregularities. Even if it is not illegal, technically, to re-constitute the Commission, it is immoral and unprocedural, more so that the Commission is charged with administration of a sensitive assignment about which over 80 million Nigeria Muslims are concerned.”

The group claimed that contrary to the provision of the National Hajj Commission Of Nigeria (NAHCON) Act, the President made the nominations and forwarded the list to the Senate without consultation with the NSCIA or the Sultan.

President Jonathan had in a letter to the Senate two weeks ago nominated Abdullahi Muktar Muhammad and eight others as Chairman and commissioners respectively in view of the expiration of the tenure of the outgoing management of the commission on May 24, 2015.

Despite the concerns of the Sultan however, the Senate went ahead and confirmed the nominees for chairman and commissioners of the commission, as requested by Jonathan.

Senate President, David Mark, had then asked the Committee on Foreign Affairs to screen the chairman and members of the NAHCON board and submit its report for consideration

Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, said section 3(2) of the NAHCON Act 2006, quoted by NSCIA to back its petition, did not specifically state that the body or the Sultan should be consulted by the President for such appointments.

He said the section only urged the President to make due consultation, without specifically mentioning any person or body for such consultations. This, he believed the President must have done, before forwarding the names of the nominees.

The Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi (PDP Bauchi Central), also rose in support of the Senate Leader that the nominees’ appointments should be confirmed by the Senate, regardless of the petitions filed against them.

He said, “Mr. President, I rise to concur with the submission of the Senate Leader that the nominees presented before us by President Jonathan for appointment into the board of NAHCON should be confirmed, having been screened by our Committee on Foreign Affairs and found worthy of the appointments.

“Personally, these nominees, as far as I am concerned, are men and women of proven integrity and meant for the jobs for which they are nominated for. No petition should be allowed to stand in their ways please.”

However,the Senator representing Kano South Senatorial District, Senator Kabiru Gaya of the APC , urged his colleagues to leave the current members of the board to continue in office pending the time when the new APC- led government would take over and inaugurate a new board for the commission.

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