President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has assured Nigerians that the National Assembly will take full responsibility for the application of President Muhammadu Buhari’s $22.79 billion loan request to various projects domiciled with Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
Lawan stated this in his remarks after the Senate approved President Buhari’s loan request on Thursday.
The Senate President, while expressing optimism that the loan will turn around the economic fortunes of the nation, said its strict application to relevant projects will be supervised by Committees of the National Assembly.
Earlier, the Senate on Thursday, 5 March, 2020 unanimously approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s $22.79 billion loan request.
The unanimous approval came sequel to the adoption of the recommendations of the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts which was considered during plenary.
The decision to adopt the committee’s recommendations was reached during a closed session which lasted 40 mins to deliberate on the projects for which the loan is being sought.
Senator Adamu Aliero (APC – Kebbi Central), posited that members of the upper chamber be availed the opportunity of studying the report for consideration ahead of Tuesday next week.
Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (PDP – Akwa-Ibom North East) also shared the suggestion put forward by Aliero.
The Senate President, however, attempted to sway his colleagues explaining that it is the Senate’s prerogative to discuss the report first before it is dissected by members of the public.
Other lawmakers such as Senators Gabriel Suswam (PDP – Benue North East); and Olamilekan Adeola (APC – Lagos West) insisted that the report be considered immediately on the floor.
Midway through consideration of the report, Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, in an attempt to register his objection to the adoption of the Committee’s recommendation came under order 43 of the Senate Standing rules.
Senator Abaribe, who read the order in part, was further asked by the Senate President to read it in full.
Rising under order 11, Abaribe again expressed his frustration citing breach of privilege.
Lawmakers such as the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi and Gabriel Suswam, who instantly threw their weights in support of the Senate President, suggested that consideration of the projects for which the loan is being sought by President Buhari be looked into at a closed session.
The Senate, thereafter, held a closed session, after which President Buhari’s loan request was unanimously approved.
For the Federal Capital Territory, projects captured are: Greater Abuja Water Project to cost $381,095,037; and Abuja Mass Rail Project at $1,252,293,005.
Projects under Water Resources Ministry are: Lake Chad Basin Commission, $13,000,000; Integrated Programme For Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Niger Basin, $6,000,000; North East Nigeria Integrated Social Protection, Basic Health, Education, Nutrition Services and Livelihood, &100,000,000; and Rural Water Supply and Sanitization, $150,000,000.