Senate urges Minister to withdraw statement on foreign loan

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian senate has denied a recent statement by the transport Minister Mr. Chibuike Amaechi that the National Assembly is frustrating the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna -Kano rail lines, by refusing to approve a foreign loan requested by the Presidency.

It also directed Mr. Amaechi who is a former Governor of the oil rich Rivers state, to withdraw the statement which the senate has described as false and misleading.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi had claimed that the refusal of the National Assembly to approve the request of the government for foreign loan that will be used for counterpart funding was frustrating the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna -Kano rail lines.

Mr. Amaechi’s claim was part of his statements at a north central Town hall meeting organized by the Federal Government in Ilorin Kwara state, on Monday.

According to a statement by the senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, “the Minister’s statement was not only false, misrepresenting and contradictory to available facts but it also portrayed the Minister as not in tune with the position of the government in which he is serving,” the statement argued.

The statement further states that, “As at today, the only request for approval from the Executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017 and signed by Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo seeking a “resolution of the National Assembly For the Issuance of USD 1 Billion EuroBond In the International Capital Market For The Funding of the 2016 Budget Deficit” and we immediately granted the approval.

”Also, in the letter quoted above, the Government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the minister as part of the projects for which the Euro-bond will be utilised. So, we cannot understand what the grouse of Mr. Amaechi is,” it added.

“We view that statement based on false and misinformed premise strongly as a mere attempt to incite the people against the National Assembly. The Minister should therefore withdraw that statement. Furthermore, the National Assembly will take up the matter with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,” the statement said.

“As a former Speaker of a state House of Assembly, we believe that a minister like Amaechi should always check his facts and refrain from making unguarded and inciting remarks against the legislature,” it reiterated.

“What Nigeria needs at this point is for all arms of government to work together and create the synergy necessary to take Nigeria out of the present economic crisis we have found ourselves. Comments designed to infuriate one arm of government or incite the people against another arm of the government will do no one any good and we do not expect such statements from a Minister in the present government,” it concluded.

Omolayo.A