Nigerian Senate confirms new Auditor-General of Federation

The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the nomination of Anthony Ayine as the Auditor-General of the Federation.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last year nominated Mr. Ayine to fill the post currently held by Florence Anyanwu in acting capacity.

The confirmation of Mr. Ayine followed the presentation of the report on his screening by the chairman of the committee on public accounts, Andy Uba.

Mr. Uba said though there were petitions against Mr. Ayine’s nomination, his competence was not disputed.

He, therefore, recommended that the nominee be confirmed.

But Binta Garba, APC-Adamawa, mustered efforts to stop Mr. Ayine’s confirmation, disclosing details of a petition.

Mrs. Garba claimed Mr. Ayine is cousin of the current Head of Service and had been ‘local government auditor’.

Given his position as ‘local government auditor’, he would be placed at Grade Level (GL) 14 after conversion to federal service, whereas the law specifies GL 17 as requirement for the office of Auditor-General of the Federation, Mrs. Garba further claimed.

But the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio countered the Adamawa lawmaker, pointing the petition on which she based her claims was misleading.

Mr. Akpabio said Mr. Ayine was a “state’s auditor-general for all local government areas, not just one local government.”

He added that by virtue of Mr. Ayine’s position, he was on a level similar to a permanent secretary; therefore, met the GL 17 requirement.

Mr. Akpabio was backed by the Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, and George Sekibo, PDP-Rivers.

They argued that Mr. Ayine had gone through the constitutional process, including writing and passing required test before he was nominated by the president.

Consequently, the nomination received unanimous support when Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session in place of Bukola Saraki whose corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal resumed on Wednesday, asked if there was any senator opposed to the confirmation of Mr. Ayine.

Mr. Ayine hails from Cross Rivers State whose service he joined in 1988 as Auditor II.

The last substantive Auditor-General, Samuel Ukura, was also appointed from outside the federal service.

Mr. Ukura had been in the service of Benue State, his home state, before he was appointed by late Umaru Yar’Adua.

 

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