The reason three ministerial nominees were not confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on Monday has been revealed.
Recall that the Red Chamber concluded the screening of all the 48 ministerial nominees forwarded to it by President Bola Tinubu.
Naija News reports however that 45 out of the 48 nominees were confirmed by the lawmakers while three were not confirmed.
Those not confirmed were the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai; Stella Okotete (Delta), and Abubakar Sani Danladi (Taraba).
According to SaharaReporters, the three nominees were not confirmed because of letters sent by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, to the Senate.
Sources at the Senate told the news platform that the Director-General of the DSS and the NSA urged the lawmakers not to confirm three ministerial nominees because they have not received security clearance.
Top sources at the Senate told SaharaReporters on Monday that the Director-General of the DSS and the NSA wrote to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, advising the upper chamber not to confirm the nomination of the trio.
One of the sources said: “The NSA, Ribadu and the DG of DSS have just sent us letters not to clear El-Rufai, Senator Abubakar Danladi from Taraba and Stella Okotete from Delta. The Senate President just read it to us now at the closed-door session. He didn’t give it to us anyway.”
Another source said: “The letter from the NSA and DG DSS cited security reasons, saying the Senate should defer the confirmation of the trio for now, for national security. The senate president is holding the document sent to him tight and has not released it to anyone.”
Recall that a group of protesters under the aegis of Secure Nation Group (SNG) in Abuja had staged a protest on the premises of the National Assembly to call on the lawmakers not to confirm El-Rufai as minister.
The protesters expressed surprise that El-Rufai’s name was listed as a ministerial nominee despite his alleged religious fanaticism, saying that the former governor should be investigated and prosecuted over alleged genocidal attacks on predominantly Shia Muslim communities in Kaduna State.
Also, some top Nigerian lawyers wrote to the 10th Senate demanding the immediate disqualification of Okotete, who is a former Executive Director of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) over alleged fraud and abuse of public office.
Meanwhile, in the letter to Nigeria’s upper legislative house, the petitioners requested the Senate to properly investigate Okotete over alleged round-tripping and recycling of different loans and use of various front companies as proxies to defraud NEXIM Bank of billions of Naira and Dollars.
Also, Danladi was reportedly barred in 2019 by the Supreme Court from contesting or holding political offices for 10 years over certificate forgery and age falsification.