Wednesday the Senate approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s $ 22,798,446,773 foreign loan application.
Buhari had applied for the loan to finance critical infrastructure projects under the 2016 to 2018 External Loan Plan.
The loan approval process by the senators, however, has led to vehement disagreements in the upper house.
While the approval was supported by some senators, others kicked against it.
Efforts were previously made by Senator Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) to defer consideration of the report to another legislative day.
However, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that this postponement would be counterproductive, as the report’s conclusions and recommendations would have already been debated in the media before consideration.
He also advised that the report be considered to avoid such an eventuality.
Chairman Senate Committee on Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Ordia (Edo Central), presented the report.
When Lawan went on to submit the report’s two recommendations for voting and approval, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the minority leader, Senator, raised a point of order.
Abaribe said that it would be necessary to put the various components of the loan to a vote, especially the values and the lending countries.
Lawan disagreed with him and said the Senate would vote only on the two recommendations contained in the report.
Abaribe said: “We are going to grant a loan of US $ 22.7 billion, for which we are denied the privilege of expressing our reserves. You are putting us in a very impossible position.
“There are some aspects of this loan that we are opposed to. I want to ask on behalf of our colleagues here that we take these items one by one and vote on them. “
Lawan, in his reply, said: “You (the minority leader) have not received your privilege.
“I don’t want the discussion of this loan to degenerate into partisanship. My action was not an attempt to strengthen you.
“I want to quote a popular saying that says whoever borrows is depressed,” replied Abaribe.
At that point, Senator Gabriel Suswam said he also had some objections and information about an aspect of the loan related to energy projects in the report that he did not want to raise in the open chamber.
He asked the President of the Senate to allow the Senate to enter an executive session for 10 minutes to resolve problems.
“There are controversial issues in this report. I want to appeal to us to enter an executive session for 10 minutes after we can complete the process on this report,” said Suswam.
Although Lawan rejected the suggestion that the Senate enter an executive session, he accepted it after apparent senators’ interventions.
The Senate, after their closed-door session, which lasted for about 30 minutes, approved the two recommendations in the report.
Details coming soon …