Drama as Dino Melaye appears in Senate chamber in academic gown
Lawmakers decry Kachikwu’s absence from meeting on gas flaring
There was a mild drama on the floor of the Senate yesterday as Senator Dino Melaye, an All Progressives Congress (APC) member, representing Kogi West, drew attention to himself when he appeared for plenary in academic robe and cap.
The Senator, whose first degree had come under scrutiny in the last few days, walked into the red chamber clad in the full academic regalia, smiling and shaking hands with his colleagues.
A few Senators who arrived before him simply shouted his name Dino! Dino! Melaye later moved to shake hands with Senate President Bukola Saraki before taking his seat.
His appearance in full academic gown was obviously to show his critics that he was a genuine graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Ibrahim Garba, had on Monday told the Senate Ethics Committee investigating the allegation that Melaye graduated from Geography Department in the year 2000 with a third-class.
“From the records of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Senator Dino Melaye, who was at that time named Daniel Jonah Melaye graduated with a third class degree with a Bachelors of Arts in Geography in the year 2000. And by this he is a graduate of the university,” he said.
Meanwhile the Senate Committee on Finance yesterday condemned the absence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, at a meeting on gas flaring.
The meeting was called to enable him to explain the amount of revenue that was expected as penalties on gas flaring in the 2017 budget.
Kachikwu had sent a director in the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR0, who in turn sent an official of the department, Mrs. Folashade Odunuga to represent him.
When the Chairman of the Committee, John Owan Enoh, asked Odunuga to introduce herself, she told the committee that she was the head of planning in the DPR.
She further informed the committee that she was asked by her director to represent him.
“You mean we invited the minister of state to come here and he asked a director to represent him and the director in his wisdom also asked you to represent him? This is unacceptable and we will not have you to represent any body.
“It will be difficult to have you, because the invitation to the minister was based on the directive of Senate President Bukola Saraki to hold this important interaction, which is necessary for the 2017 budget,” Enoh said.
He also expressed displeasure that Kachikwu failed to inform the committee that he would not be able to honour the invitation.
He said: “We wrote to the minister of state, but there was no communication from him that a director would represent him. Since that simple courtesy was broken, inform the minister that we refused to take you.”
Enoh also directed the clerk to the committee to write to Kachikwu to appear before the committee tomorrow.