There was a fresh crisis in the Senate on Tuesday over the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to fill vacancies in the National Pension Commission.
President Buhari had forwarded nominations for vacancies in PENCOM to the Senate for consideration.
But immediately Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read a letter from President Buhari announcing the nomination of Aisha Umar as the Director General of PENCOM and equally announced Oyindasola Oni as nominee for the office of Chairman of the PENCOM, tempers rose.
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, protested against the appointment in which Umar, a nominee from the North East, was picked to replace the former DG, Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, from the South East.
Abaribe described the nomination as a flagrant breach of the Act establishing the PENCOM.
Abaribe pointed out that by the provisions of Section 20(1) and section 21(1) and (2) of the National Pension Commission Act 2014, “in the event of a vacancy, the President shall appoint replacement from the geopolitical zone of the immediate past member that vacated office to complete the remaining tenure”.
He maintained that the replacement for Anohu-Amazu must come from the South East.
“I recall that the tenure of the incumbent was truncated, therefore the new letter from the President that has now moved the Chairman of the Commission to another zone may not be correct because it is against the law setting up the National Pension Commission,” Abaribe said, adding: “Before you (Senate President) send it to the appropriate committee, I wish to draw the attention of the committee to it.”
In his response, Lawan rebuffed Abaribe’s point of order and observation.
“If there is any petition to that effect, it should be sent to the committee,” he said.