Lawmakers Query Buhari’s Request For External Loan

Lawmakers, External loan, Muhammadu BuhariSome members of the House of Representatives have questioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for a $29.9 billion loan from foreign financial institutions.

Following the rejection of the request by the Senate, the lawmakers demanded for details of the loan from the Executive, to enable them appreciate the need for the loan.

Some of the members of the House who queried the request for the loan on Wednesday were Johnson Agbonayinma, Animu Suleiman and Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje.

The legislators said that despite the good intentions of President Buhari, they have reservations about his team.

Considering the development, analysts say it is not clear yet when the House of Representatives will consider the President’s request.

They, however, noted that the issue must be quickly resolved as it had implications for the 2017 budget, which is yet to be presented to the National Assembly by the Executive.

President Buhari had written to the National Assembly to seek its approval for an external loan to ensure the prompt implementation of projects.

President Buhari said that the projects cut across agriculture, health, education, and water supply.

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday refused to approve President Buhari’s request to borrow $29.6 billion.

The matter went into a voice vote when it was brought forward and the nays had it.

The senators turned down the external borrowing request due to what they called “lack of documents supporting the request as referenced in the letter”.

Sexual Misconduct Allegations: Lawmaker Demands Justice

House of Representatives,Following days of media reports on allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, one of the lawmakers, Mark Gbillah, has called for a detailed public investigation into the matter.

The lawmaker stated that the allegations, made by the Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, did not occur.

Mr Entwistle had lodged a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the issue.

But the lawmaker emphasised that he believed the allegations were meant to tarnish the image of the members involved and the legislative house.

He further demanded a detailed and open investigation into the matter.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who has ordered an investigation into the matter, said that the allegations were not conclusive enough to decide that anyone is guilty.

The allegations of sexual misconduct involving three members of the House of Representatives has continued to generate newspaper headlines.

In her contribution, the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, appealed to Nigerians for caution on the matter.

As the matter was not up for the debate, the Speaker of the House, rounding up, made it clear that the matter was a serious one.

The House has mandated a joint Committee of ethics and Foreign Affairs to investigate the matter and report back to the House.

Their report is expected to guide the House on the position it will take on the matter.

Reps query Hajj commission over death of 44 pilgrims

The House of Representatives’ committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday queried the management of the National Hajj Commission over the death of 44 Nigerians during this year’s Hajj.

The Chairman of the committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje and other committee members expressed the concern during the budget defence by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in Abuja

Mrs Ukeje (PDP-Abia), who took exception to the high level of deaths recorded during the Hajj, said that the death of 44 pilgrims was worrisome.

She attributed it to the alleged dirty and unhygienic condition that Nigerian pilgrims, especially the women, went through during the last Hajj.
The lawmaker directed the commission to forward a full report on the 2012 Hajj operations to the committee as soon as possible.

She said the report should include particular reference to where the Nigerian pilgrims encountered difficulties and the unprecedented death of 44 Nigerian pilgrims.

“I will expect a full report from you on this Hajj operation of 2012,’’ she said.

She, however, congratulated the commission for its success at the last Hajj, especially the handling of the issue of male guardian where sizeable numbers of Nigerian female pilgrims were returned to the country for lack of a mahram.

In his presentation, Mohammad Bello, the Chairman of the commission, said that the 2012 Hajj was smooth in spite of the initial hiccups.

“In spite of all the challenges, we have the full support of all those that are supposed to support, especially the air carriers.”
He said that the quality of accommodation was “much higher than that of last year.’’

Mr Bello said unlike what was obtained in the past years; only one female pilgrim gave birth in the Holy Land compared to 30 in previous years and 15 in the 2011 Hajj.

He said the commission made a budget proposal of N724 million for the 2013 fiscal year.

Mr Bello said the N724 million was made up of N524.46 million for Recurrent and N200 million for Capital expenditure.

Rep decries ill treatment of House resolutions

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, says the National Assembly has to urgently consider the manner resolutions of the legislature are treated by the executive.

The lawmaker was reacting to the decision of the executive not to seek a review of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling which ceded the Bakassi Penisula to the Republic of Cameroon.

She said the position taken by the executive flouts the resolution of the both chambers of the National Assembly and is a disservice to the country.