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Senate approves N10bn loan refund to Kogi State two days to Guber poll

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With just two days to the Kogi state gubernatorial election, the Senate has approved the loan refund of N10.069 billion to Kogi State government.

The approval followed a report on Wednesday by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local debts and Foreign Loans, Senator Clifford Akhimienmona Ordia, stating that the Kogi State government carried out repairs on seven Federal Government roads in the state.

Reading the report, Ordia said necessary findings conducted showed that due process was followed by the Kogi State government in executing the Federal Government projects.

He said: “Senate on 16th October, 2019, began consideration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to approve N10.069 for Kogi State government, being refunds of expenses done on behalf of the Federal government.

“The approved sum is in Capital Expenditure, which has to do with refund to the State Government for monies spent in the execution of Federal Government Projects in the state.

“The Committee interacted with the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Director-General of Debt Management office, as well as the Kogi State Ministry of Finance, in line with set rules on approval of funds and found satisfactory.”

However, the approval was resisted by Senators from the opposition party, as they questioned the timing, and cautioned the senate on approving the refund at a time when the gubernatorial election of the state was in two days.

Speaking on behalf of the opposition lawmakers, the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, asked the Senate to delay the approval until next week, stressing that the money could be used to fund election.

He said: “This is not the right time to approve such loan refund. Exigency of the time suggest that we should delay for one week, so that the money would not be used for something else.”

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, however disagreed with Abaribe saying the loan request came in the eight assembly and has been delayed enough.

According to Senator Lawan, “the approval of the refund only coincides with the election.

“Kogi State applied for this in the last Senate, all the other states were paid. Kogi was not approved at that time, we as a Senate has seen it as a necessity and it is a coincidence.”

The Senate President subjected the matter to a voice vote, and it was approved after majority voice votes were taken.

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