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S’East lawmakers kick over exclusion of region as beneficiaries of Buhari’s $22.7bn loan




Lawmakers from South-East, both at the Senate and the House of Representatives, have decried alleged non-inclusion of the region among those to benefit from the $22.7 billion foreign loans President Muhammadu Buhari is requesting for.

Following this development, South-East caucus at the National Assembly, led by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Minority Leader of the Senate, met separately behind closed doors with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and the House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

The lawmakers used the meeting which took place on Thursday to register their displeasure over the alleged exclusion of their region from the projects the federal government would use part of the foreign loan to execute.

The loan had been approved by the Senate but the House of Representatives is yet to give its approval.

The former deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who spoke to newsmen after meeting the presiding officers of the national Assembly, said they want the issue of the loan to be revisited now that the House of Representatives was yet to give its approval to it.

He said, “We decided that the best approach is constructive engagement with the National Assembly leadership.

“So this afternoon, we had a very deep conversation with the Senate President and also the Speaker.

“Our thinking is that what the Federal Government presented is a borrowing plan. It is just a plan. There is still an opportunity for us to look at the distribution.

“If we are going to be part and parcel of the payment, it makes every sense that we are going to benefit from the utilisation of those funds.

“Our concerns were about certain facilities within the eastern corridor railway of Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, we are also concerned about the access to the sea for people of the South-East to open seaports in our area.

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“We hope by the time the matter is addressed, the fears of the people will be allayed.

“From the Clerk of the National Assembly to Deputy Clerk, Clerk of the Senate and the House, the DG of National Institute for Legislative Studies, the Chairman and Secretary National Assembly Service Commission, the same thing with the Public Complaints Commission, the South-East was excluded.”

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