The Senate, on Monday, grilled a ministerial nominee from Benue State, Professor Joseph Utsev, following discrepancies noticed in his biodata, particularly his age.
Utsev, who was among the first batch of the 28 Ministerial Nominees to be screened, told the lawmakers that he was born in Benue on December 2, 1980, and attended the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, where he studied civil engineering and graduated in 2004.
According to him, he completed the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Kaduna in 2006. And then proceeded to obtain his master’s degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2007, and later bagged his doctorate from the same university in 2011.
However, Tokunbo Abiru, Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, requested Utsev to clarify his biodata.
“I am wondering whether you finished secondary school in 1989 which suggests that you started primary school at the age of three to finish in 1989. You also claim that you went to secondary school in 1995.
“What appeared a bit distorted; You graduated in 2004 meaning that you probably would have spent nine years for your first degree. I just need you to clarify those data starting from primary school, while it took you that long to get your first degree despite the academic brilliance you have exhibited,” he asked.
Utsev explained that he was affected during a prolonged ASUU strike, which was why he graduated in 2004.
Senate President Godswill Akpabio noted the nominee probably finished nursery school at the age of three to start primary school at the same age.
“The question was, you were born in 1980 and you had your first leaving certificate in 1989, that means that the period you should have been in nursery school at the age of four years, you were already in Primary one,” Akpabio said.
The nominees for the first batch of the screening include:
1.Sen.Abubakar S.Kyari – Borno State
- Abubakar Eshiokpekha Momoh – Edo State
- Nyesom Ezenwo Wike – Rivers State
4.Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev – Benue State
- Sen. John Owan Enoh – Cross River State
- Hon.(Bar) Bello Muhammad -Sokoto State
- Mohammed Badaru Abubakar – Jigawa State
- Amb.Yusuf Maitama Tuggar – Bauchi State
- Sen. Abubakar Sani Danladi – Taraba State
- Barr. Uju-Ken Ohaneye – Anambra State
11, Hon. (Dr). Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo – Ondo State
- Dr. Betta C.Edu Cross River State
- Imaan Sulaiman Ibrahim – Nasarawa State
- Arch. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa – Katsina State
- Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji – Enugu State
- Stella Erhuvwuoghene Okotete – Delta State
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