The Senate on Wednesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s $22,798,446,773.00 external loan request to fund critical infrastructure projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.
However, the loan report which was presented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Ordia (Edo Central) was approved amidst opposing views as some Senators supported the approval, while others kicked against it.
Prior to the passage of the bill the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe raised a point of order.
Abaribe said that it would be necessary to subject the various components of the loan to voting, especially the amounts and the lending countries.
Abaribe said: “We are going to pass a loan of $22.7billion for which we are being denied the privilege to express our reservations. You are putting us in a very impossible position.
“There are some aspect of this loan that we object to. I want to ask on behalf of our colleagues here that we take these items one by one and vote on them.”
Lawan who disagreed with him in his response said: “You (Minority Leader) have not been denied of your privilege.
“I don’t want the discussion on this loan to degenerate into partisanship. My action was was not an attempt to muscle you.”
“I want to quote one popular saying that he who goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing,” Abaribe replied.
At this point, Senator Gabriel Suswam said that he also had some objections and information on an aspect of the loan that relates to power projects in the report which he did not want to raise in the open chamber.
He urged the Senate President to allow the Senate to go into an executive session for 10 minutes to resolve the issues.
“There are contentious issues in this report. I want to appeal that we go into an executive session for 10 minutes after that we can conclude proceedings on this report,” Suswam said.
Even though Lawan earlier kicked against the suggestion for the Senate to go into an executive session, he later accepted it following apparent interventions by Senators.
The Senate after the closed door session, which lasted for about 30 minutes, approved the two recommendations in the report.