• 380

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Senate Okays Removal Of Federal Character Commissioner

Senate Okays Removal Of Federal Character Commissioner

The Senate has endorsed the removal of Alhaji Muhammadu Gwaska as Commissioner representing Nasarawa State in the Federal Character Commission (FCC).

The Senate's approval followed its consideration of the report of the Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, which recommended the removal of Gwaska for ''gross misconduct''.

President Goodluck Jonathan had forwarded a letter to the Senate, requesting that Gwaska be removed from office for absenting himself from duty without official authorisation.

The President also listed the gross misconduct to include: ''unlawfully retaining official cars and some strategic official files of the Commission''.

The chairman of the Committee, Sen. Dahiru Kuta, while presenting the report, said THAT Gwaska was appointed as Commissioner representing Nasarawa State in 2008 while he became acting Chairman on Jan. 5, 2011.

He said the former Chairman, Prof. Shuaibu Abdulraheem, was reinstated on Sept. 11, 2011 but Gwaska absented himself from office, in spite of an official invitation to hand over to Abdulraheem.

Kuta said that Gwaska told the committee that due process was not adhered to in the re-appointment of Abdulraheem since it did not go through the Senate.

He said the committee’s findings, however, showed that the President’s letter for removal of Gwaska followed due process and recommended that the President’s letter be approved.

Meanwhile, the Senate's plenary session stood down the consideration of the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on the establishment of a National Grazing Reserves Commission.

Sen. Ita Enang, (PDP-Akwa Ibom), had raised a constitutional issue over the setting up of the commission, saying that the Senate could only create grazing reserves in the FCT.

Enang called for rejection of the bill, saying that the States' Houses of Assembly had the power to enact laws for creation of grazing reserves in their respective states.

``It’s the laws of each State House of Assembly that can create grazing reserves. We can only create grazing reserves in the FCT where the land is vested in the President and the National Assembly.

I hereby submit that we reject the recommendation to the extent of creating a National Grazing Reserves Commission,’’ he said.

Sen. James Manager, (PDP-Delta), suggested that the matter be subjected to critical review by the committee to address the legal implications of the bill. ``Where there are doubts about what we are doing, I suggest that the matter be referred back to the committee to critically review it, ’’ he said.

The Senate gave the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and that of Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters one week to review the legal implications of the bill.

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