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Senate summons nine ministers over Buhari’s $22.7bn loan request

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The Senate on Wednesday summoned nine ministers to defend their ministry’s component of the $22.7billion external loan request of the Federal Government.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the affected ministers must appear before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt on or before Monday next week.

Lawan’s directive followed a complaint by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, Senator Clifford Ordia, that the panel cannot meet the two-week timeline to submit their report on the loan because nine ministries have failed to defend their proposals.

It could be recalled that some ministers including Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello had on Tuesday defended their requests before the Senate Committee.

Kaduna, Katsina and Kogi State Governments also appeared before the Committee.

Senator Ordia said: “It will interest you that out of the 18 beneficiary Ministeries, only eight have appeared before the committee.

“I think it is important to note that approving a loan of over $22billion is a very serious matter.

“We need serious explanation from the Ministries to enable us submit our report to the Senate.

“In view of this obvious delay in the Ministries’ appearance, we will need another two weeks to enable us make a submission to the Senate.”

He listed the defaulting Ministers to include that of Education, Adamu Adamu, Power, Sale Mamman, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Humanitarian and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouk, Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Health, Osagie Ehanire, Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, and Agriculture, Sabo Nanono.

Lawan in his response directed the ministries to appear before the committee without fail.

He said: “Let me advise that this Senate is committed to ensuring that such important issued like the foreign loan request of the executive need to be treated with seriousness by both sides.

“The Senate is making every possible effort to ensure that we understand the request.

“Therefore, we need details and information so that we take the appropriate decisions as quickly as possible.

“I will urge those Ministeries that have not appeared before the committee to do so between now and Monday.

“I believe this is an advice that will be taken very seriously by the agencies you have just read out.”

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