*** As PDP Senate Caucus Kicks
By Henry Umoru
Inspite of protest from the Caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Senate on Wednesday approved a total sum of N10.06bn Refund to Kogi State Government.
The approval followed the consideration of the report of the Senator Clifford Ordia, PDP, Edo Central led Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.
Soon after the presentation, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North who hailed the report and asked other States to emulate Kogi State.
The Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, PDP, Abia South said that though he supports the payment of the money, but questioned the time against the backdrop that the approval was being given two days to the state election.
According to Abaribe, he was against the misuse of the money, expressing fears that it may not be expended properly for the people of Kogi State, adding that this was not the right time to pay the state the money.
On the way forward, the Minority Leader then suggested that it should be paid a week after the Kogi State gubernatorial election.
At this point, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan then said that the Senate was only doing the necessity and approving the money now was just a coincidence.
Following the President of the Senate’s remarks, the Chamber became charged as there was uproar, apparently from the opposition party Senators because of the way Abaribe’ s position was killed.
Though Lawan took only two observations when only Jibrin and Abaribe spoke, but he later said, ” I don’t want to take any observation, I have heard enough.”
At this point, the President of the Senate then ruled and the money was approved.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had written the Senate, seeking approval of a total sum of N10.069 billion to Kogi State Government being refund of money spent by the state on behalf of Federal government.
President Buhari’s request was contained in a letter dated 10th October 2019 and read by the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan during plenary.
According to the President, the requested amount is for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to the State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
President Buhari recalled that 24 out of 25 State Governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The President explained that the sum of N10.069 billion was outstanding amount due to Kogi State Government which forms the only State yet to receive a refund.