In a recent session, the Senate declined to reintroduce a motion regarding the disbursement of a N500 billion loan by the Development Bank of Nigeria. The motion, titled “Uneven Disbursement of Half A Trillion Naira Loan to the Six Geopolitical Zones,” was initially introduced by the Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, during the 9th Senate.
Ali Ndume raised concerns about the significant disparity in the distribution of the loan among the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. According to the Annual Integrated Statutory Report of the Development Bank of Nigeria, only 11% of the loan was allocated to the 19 states in northern Nigeria, while Lagos State alone received 47% of the loan.
The South-West zone received the largest share of the loan, amounting to 57%, followed by the South-South zone with 17%. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the North-Central zone received 11%, the South-East zone received 9%, the North-West received 5%, and the North-East received only 1%.
During the 9th Senate, an adhoc Committee was set up to investigate Ndume’s claims. The committee, chaired by Senator Sani Musa, thoroughly examined the matter and submitted a report, which was debated, passed, and sent to the executive for implementation.
However, during the recent session, the Senate decided not to proceed with Ndume’s fresh motion. Musa clarified that the previous Senate had already concluded work on the matter, and Ndume had even signed the final report. Ndume expressed his surprise at this revelation, stating that he had not seen the report and had not willingly signed it.
In response, Senate President Godswill Akpabio assured Ndume that the Senate is open to correcting any perceived errors. However, in order to reopen the matter, Ndume would need to submit a substantive motion according to the Senate rules.
The motion to step down the motion was put to a vote, and the majority of the members supported stepping it down. The Senate President emphasized that the matter is not permanently closed, and if necessary, Ndume can present a substantive motion to address the issue.
In a separate development, the Senate has returned to its regular plenary sessions, which will now be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. This change aligns with the constitutional requirement for the Senate to sit for at least 181 days in a year. Previously, the Senate had reduced its sitting days to once a week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The House of Representatives has also been meeting once a week during this period.