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March 5, 20203min3070

 

There was turmoil in the Senate during plenary on Wednesday over the Senate President’s decision to bar senators from debating $22 billion loan being sought by President Buhari.
This did not go down well with Senate Minority Leader, Nyinnaya Abaribe who disagreed forcefully with Lawan setting tones for talk back and degenerated into angry debate and tense atmosphere.
The badly tempered atmosphere began when the  Chairman, Senate  Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Ordia, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo Central presented the report of the committee.

After the presentation, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan insisted that the lawmakers should go to the recommendations and vote leaving out the details.

This drew the ire of Abaribe who raised a point of order that there must be line by line consideration of the report and the recommendations before the voting process.

The chamber became tensed as the debate was now between Lawan and Abaribe who kept on exchanging words.

There was sharp disagreement between them against the backdrop that while the President of the Senate wanted an outright approval of the loan, the Minority vehemently kicked against that.

Senator Gabriel Suswam, PDP, Benue intervened to save the situation requesting that the Senate go into an Executive session for ten minutes where those knotty issues of lopsided allocation of projects would be resolved.

But the President of the Senate rejected the call for a closed session, stressing that this would have happened prior to plenary session, adding, “we are at the point of no return”

This did not go down well with Abaribe as he stood up to speak again where he now cited Order 14(C) of the Senate Standing Orders as Amended.

Lawan now made U-Turn on his position and now called for a closed-door session.

They at that point entered into a closed session at 12.40 and still ongoing as at the time of filing this report.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, had on November 28, written to the Senate, again requesting for the approval of 2016- 2018  External Borrowing to the tune of $30 billion to be spent by the Federal Government to execute key infrastructural projects across the country.

The letter, which was dated November 26, 2019, was read on the floor of the Red Chamber by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, during plenary.

In the letter, President Buhari explained that it became imperative to represent the request because the Eighth National Assembly approved only a part of the External Borrowing request forwarded to it in September 2016.

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