The Senate on Wednesday approved N10 billion loan refunds to the Kogi State government.
The Senate approval came just three days before the governorship election in the state, where incumbent Governor Bello is seeking a re-election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Red Chamber’s approval succeeded amid stiff resistance from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition senators.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in October forwarded a letter to the Senate and asked the lawmakers to approve the payment of N10 billion to Kogi State government for a road maintenance it carried out on behalf of the Federal Government.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, Senator Clifford Ordia, had laid his panel’s report on the issue at plenary on Wednesday.
As soon as he finished giving the committee report, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, quickly called for debate on the matter.
But the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, had opposed the debate on the matter because it was not indicated in the order paper.
His effort to stop the debate failed to yield any meaningful result as Lawan insisted that the arrangement was in order.
While reading out his committee report, Ordia had indicated that due process was followed by the Kogi State government in executing the federal government’s projects.
He said the federal government’s agencies in charge of the loan refund had approved the payment.
Speaking immediately after Ordia finished his presentation, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau, asked his colleagues to approve the request.
Abaribe, who agreed with Barau that states that had done the job of the federal government should be paid, however, contested that the approval was rather too hasty.
According to the minority leader, since the Kogi governorship elections holds on Saturday, the approval ought to be delayed for one week.
“This is not the right time to approve such a loan refund. The exigency of the time suggested that we should delay for one week so that the money would not be used for something else,” he said.
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