The Nigerian Senate has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow $22.7 billion- a request which was rejected by the 8th Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki.
The president had sent the same request to the eight Senate in 2016. He had requested about $30 billion but the then lawmakers rejected the request as the majority voted against it when it was brought for consideration.
Senator Shehu Sani who was the chairman of the Senate committee on local and foreign debt also said the eight Senate rejected the request to save Nigeria from sinking into the dark gully of a perpetual debt trap.
However, the request which was re-submitted by the president in 2019 was okayed by the 9th Senate under the leadership of Ahmad Lawan on Thursday amid objections from some senators.
While the matter was being debated, Enyinnaya Abaribe, minority leader, warned against considering all the recommendations on the loan at once.
He suggested that it should be done “item by item”, but Senate President Ahmad Lawan disagreed with him.
Subsequent debate on the matter forced the senate into an executive session during which it agreed to approve the request.
However, Senator Lawan pledged that the loan would be spent on projects that would have an impact on the lives of Nigerians.
He also challenged the various committees of the red chamber to ensure strict oversight so that every dollar in the loan would be accounted for.
The bulk of the loan would come from the Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank, the World Bank and banks from China, Japan and Germany.