Fred Itua, Abuja
Members of the National Assembly from the South East have kicked against the alleged exclusion of the zone from President Muhammadu Buhari’s $22.7 loan.
At a press conference, they called on the leadership of the National Assembly to accommodate the zone in the loan.
Daily Sun had reported last Monday how the entire Southeast and Edo were excluded from the list of areas to benefit from the loan.
The protesting lawmakers were led by a former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, after meeting with Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.
During the press briefing, they explained why they failed to push for the inclusion of the South East in the projects provided for in the loan. The lawmakers explained that most of them were away on “oversight functions” outside Abuja on the day the loan was approved by the Senate.
With the exception of Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe, who attempted to get the Senate to debate details of the loan request, no other South East senator spoke whenit was approved.
Ekweremadu said: “We met as a caucus of the South East of the national Assembly last night after consulting with our people and getting their feelings regarding the issue. We decided that the best approach would be a constructive engagement with the national assembly leadership.
“This afternoon we had a very good conversation with the senate president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and we had a meaningful discussion.
“They showed not just concern but commitment to addressing these issues and they have promised that the matter would either be revisted particularly as it has not been passed in the house. They said the appropriate thing would be done and our peoples’ fears would be assuaged.”
Meanwhile, details are emerging on what sources have described as a legislative coup by the Senate leadership. A source, who craved anonymity, said there was a calculated attempt to maneuvre the legislative process to get a desired result.
It was gathered that whereas it is the tradition of the Senate to email the Order Paper in the evening ahead of each legislative day or at worst early in the morning of the legislative day, to put Senators on notice of the agenda of the legislative business for the day, the Order Paper for the fateful Thursday was not mailed to lawmakers.
Also, it was alleged that the Senate leadership cashed in on the poor attendance on Thursday, which is the last plenary for the week.
It is a day many Committees embark on oversight functions and other legislative businesses.