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Senate confirms Dahir-Umar as DG PenCom amidst protests

Senate confirms Dahir-Umar as DG PenCom amidst protests

Director General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir Umar

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Aisha Dahir-Umar as the substantive Director General of the National Pension Commission Board amidst protests from some senators.

The chamber also confirmed the appointment of Dr Oyindasola Oluremi Oni, from North-Central as chairman.

Messrs Clement Akintola (South-West); Ayim Nyerere (South-East) and Charles Emukowhale (South-South), were also confirmed as commissioners for the PenCom board.

The Senate however rejected the confirmation of Hannatu Musa (North-West) because she was unable to present her discharge certificate from the National Youths Service Corps.

Members of the Minority Caucus in the Senate had last week sent a petition to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service, seeking the disqualification of Dahir-Umar as the substantive DG of PenCom.

Until her confirmation on Tuesday, Dahir-Umar, from the North-East geopolitical zone, held the position in acting capacity.

The Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who argued against Dahir-Umar confirmation, insisted that since her predecessor did not complete her tenure, the position should be occupied by someone from the South-East, where Mrs Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, whose five-year tenure was truncated, hailed from.

Ruling on Abaribe’s argument, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the constitutional provisions relied upon by those who were kicking against the DG’s appointment was not valid because the tenure of Anohu-Amazu’s board had expired before the appointment of Dahir-Umar.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had penultimate week, sent the name of Dahir-Umar to the Senate, seeking the lawmakers’ confirmation for her to be the substantive DG.

Their confirmation followed the consideration of the report of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters, chaired by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau  (Kano Central).

Abaribe, however, protested against the confirmation of Dahir-Umar on the grounds that fairness, justice and equity was negated in the appointments of persons into public offices.

He said Dahir-Umar’s nomination to replace the former DG Anohu-Amazu from South East was in breach of the Act establishing PenCom.

Ahmad Lawan in his response said, “You (Abaribe) would have been perfectly right if when the DG was removed, two years ago and the board was in existence, the president decided to appoint someone else from another geopolitical zone.”

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) raised a point of Order 43 personal explanation and pursuant to section 14(3) of the constitution to express his reservation.

He said, “I chose to come under personal explanation because it is not my intention to generate any controversy.

“I will like to place on record for the people who elected us here to know that our loyalty to Mr President, our party and to the Senate President as someone we believe will lead this 9th Senate to a higher level, is not mistaken as being in conflict with our loyalty to the constitution of Nigeria.

Also Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West) demanded fairness to the Southeast region in appointments, stressing that the region ‘deserves compensation on the PenCom board’.

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