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The Senate has resolved to commence an investigation into how the N30 trillion Ways and Means loans of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were obtained and spent by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Senate made this known during plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the CBN finances the government’s budget shortfalls.

The intending probe followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Appropriation on State of the Economy after interactive sessions held with the Federal Government economic management team.

It would be recalled that Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly in January 2023, requested that the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means loan be converted to a 40-year bond with a moratorium of three years.

The former president also requested approval to borrow an additional N1 trillion to fund the N819.5 billion 2022 supplementary budget which the lawmakers approved in December 2023.

However, the senators, on Tuesday, said the reckless spending of the loan collected from the CBN under Godwin Emefiele was largely responsible for the food and security crises in the country.

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Speaking, the Whip of the Senate, Ali Ndume, blamed the red chamber for approving the request without details from Buhari.

“When the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means approval request was brought before the 9th Senate, I insisted that details of spending made with it should be provided before approval but the Senate then went ahead and approved it,” Ndume said.

Responding, the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, said the decision taken then was a collective one with the warning that the executive should provide details later, which was however not provided.

In his defence, the immediate past Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the Ways and Means loan was in the past and urged the Senate to focus on the present.

“All of that is in the past, we must focus on the present which is the fact that people are hungry and they are crying. That’s what we should focus on,” Lawan said.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said as recommended by the Senate Joint Committee and supported by most of the senators, a thorough probe must be carried out on the loans approved by the 9th Senate.

The senators, therefore, resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee on Wednesday, February 21, to investigate what the N30 trillion loans were spent on by the immediate past government.

The Star



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