Buhari’s loan request, Coronavirus top Senate’s discussions last week

Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate
Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate

The Senate had mixed emotions in the past week as lawmakers tackled issues of national importance.

These emotions include fear, anger and worry as they discussed the rapid spread of coronavirus across the world including Nigeria, as well as the foreign loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari, among others.

Below are some major discussions at the Senate last week:

* The Senate deliberated on a bill that will compel the president to reflect federal character in the appointment of military chiefs.
The bill, titled “Armed Forces Service Commission (Est, etc) Bill, 2020,” was sponsored by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

* Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, visited the leadership of the Senate after plenary.
He briefed the lawmakers on the state of the patient of the coronavirus discovered in the country as well as the ministry’s level of preparedness and efforts to tackle further spread of the disease.

* A bill that seeks to establish an Electoral Offences Commission scaled second reading at the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by Borno senator, Abubakar Kyari, proposes deterrence and sanctions for anti-democratic acts in the electoral environment.

* In the same vein, a bill that seeks to establish the South West Development Commission (SWDC) scaled second reading at the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Ogun senator, Ibikunle Amosun.

* The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, visited the temporary isolation centre for victims of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Abuja.

While he described the centre as a sorry sight, he wondered why not a single room was yet to be complete to be called an isolation centre in Abuja and the North Central.

* There was disagreement over the $22 billion external borrowing request by President Buhari when the lawmakers were considering it.
While some lawmakers wanted the report to be considered part by part, Mr Lawan did not want that.

The disagreement forced the senators to embark on a closed-door session which lasted for over 40 minutes.

* The Senate, thereafter, approved the request.

* The Senate approved N346.3 billion as the 2019 budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission – against the N409 billion proposed by Mr Buhari.

The approval came a day after the House of Representatives approved the same figure.

Coronavirus factsheet


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