Senate President Bukola Saraki has maintained that the National Assembly’s position on President Buhari’s request for $29.9 billion loan from foreign sources still stands.
In a press statement, by his Special Adviser Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, Senator Saraki said that the National Assembly has taken a position on the issue as required of it by the laws of the land and legislative conventions.
Last week the Senate rejected a request by President Buhari for approval to borrow $29.9 billion from foreign sources.
The Upper Chamber explained that the loan was rejected because President Buhari did not include details of the loan proposal in the letter to the National Assembly.
Senator Saraki is also advising politicians and the media to stop peddling speculations about his recent visits to the Presidential Villa and linking such visits to the request by the Buhari administration for approval of the National Assembly to get $29.9bn loan from foreign sources.
Senator Saraki said that in all his recent meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the issue of the proposed loan has never come up for discussion.
He noted that the comments by some politicians on the loan issue without any factual basis is unfortunate, as “these politically-motivated commentaries are trivialising a serious national issue” and presenting it as if it is a personal matter that can be decided at meetings between the Senate President and President Buhari.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has reemphasized his loyalty to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a statement signed by the Special Assistant on New Media to the Senate President, Mr Bamikole Omishore, after a housing summit in Abuja, Senator Saraki reiterated his belief that President Buhari’s government will redeem its electoral promises made during the 2015 general elections.
Senator Saraki stated that the APC government is unwavering in its committment to the social welfare of the people and also gave the assurance that the National Assembly is working to make a difference in the housing sector.
The Senate President said that the Senate has commenced the review processes of several laws affecting property rights and access housing in the country.
According to him, the review of the National Housing Fund Act is ongoing and would be completed before the end of the year.
A lawyer has described the attempt to prosecute the Nigerian Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) as political.
The National Coordinator, Lawyers of Conscience, Benedict Ezeagu, made the observation on Monday while giving his opinion on Sunrise Daily.
“The attempt to prosecute or arraign Senator Saraki is a political one rather than a judicial prosecution. Not actually based on law when you look deep into the entire processes that were followed to bring him before the Code of Conduct Tribunal,” he said.
Mr Ezeagu noted that the court that is currently trying to prosecute the Senate President lacked the credibility and the moral basis to go ahead with the prosecution.
“The chairman of that Tribunal (Mr Danladi Umar) has a stinking corruption allegation hanging on his neck and he has been indicted by one of the institutions of the state,” he said, referring to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The legal practitioner explained that the chairman of the Tribunal needed to clear the purported allegation before he would have the moral basis to sit on judgement against anybody.
Ezeagu also confirmed that Umar had been investigated and found wanting by the EFCC, insisting that the “EFCC was directed by the former Attorney General to commence his prosecution (and) I have the documents to that effect”.
Senator Saraki is facing charges of false declaration of assets while serving as Kwara State Governor before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
An APC Senator from Kaduna State, Shehu Sani, believes that the just concluded screening of ministerial nominees by the Senate cannot be adjudged to be ‘business as usual’.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Senator Sani credited the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki for the new approaches used by the Senate.
While he admitted that some part of the screening process was business as usual, he noted that the Senate engaged the nominees with contemporary questions unlike what obtained in the past.
Speaking on the handling of the different controversies that came up before and during the process, the role of the Senate President and the influence of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sani said that Senator Saraki has been able to show that he is a loyal party member.
“The APC is not a communist party, it is not a party that was founded on ideology, it was a convergence of like minds with a common goal of evicting the PDP and also bringing about a democratic change.
“The crisis that heralded the emergence of the 8th Senate came to define its operation and perception on the side of the public.
“The Senate President in the last few months being one that has been categorised, lampooned, stigmatised and labelled as being disloyal to the party has in the last screening exercise proved to the contrary.
“He was able to galvanise solidarity, at least within the APC caucus in the House, to back the nominees that were sent in by the government and then we can also see how he was able to hold the House together despite the problems we have had in few days over the walkout by the PDP.
“It was very clear that the solidarity, the harmony within the Senators has been able to keep the House together and that could squarely be pointed to his own style of leadership.
“All the predictions of chaos, implosion and apocalypse happening within the Senate has not come to past,” he said.
The Rights Activist also called on Nigerians to exercise patience as the government continues working to fix the country.
While admitting that the Nigerian economy has been facing challenges, he drew attention to the progress made by the new government in its fight against insurgency, noting that what would matter in the long run is sustainable progress and not speed “to nowhere”.
Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has given an assurance that the Senate would use its supervisory role to plug the leakages of revenue in the country.
Senator Saraki gave the assurance when he received the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, at the National Assembly.
An audit report done by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) between 1999 and 2011 revealed a total revenue loss of 9.8 billion dollars to the federation.
This loss is as a result of underpayments, under assessment of taxes, rents, royalties and other process lapses.
To confront this problem, the federal government has said that it would take all necessary steps to implement the findings and recommendations contained in the audit reports of NEITI.
Senator Bukola Saraki, however, says one of the priorities of the eight assembly is to plug revenue leakages.
He said that the oversight functions of the legislature would be strengthened in such a way that there would be no loopholes in implementing government plans and projects.
The Senate President also warned government agencies to desist from the practice of not remitting government revenue to the federation account, saying government will no longer condone such mismanagement.
The US Ambassador assured the Senate President of the support of the US Government in the areas of power supply and capacity development.
Some Senators from the All Progressives Congress (APC) have threatened to take all necessary political and legal means to challenge the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President.
Briefing reporters after plenary on Wednesday, the Senators, under the platform of the ‘Unity Forum’, said the process, which saw Senator Saraki’s emergence, was unconstitutional and could not confer legitimacy to the Senate President.
To further register their displeasure, the lawmakers staged a walkout of plenary, after earlier taking their oath of office.
But in a swift reaction, another group of APC lawmakers loyal to Senator Saraki insisted that there was nothing unconstitutional about the process that saw Senator Saraki’s emergence as Senate President on Tuesday.
The APC Senator was elected unopposed, with 57 lawmakers present voting for Saraki, while 51 were absent.
In a straw poll held over the weekend, the party had chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan as its candidate for the Senate President position.