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Senate Launches Investigation into President Buhari’s N30 Trillion Ways and Means Expenditure

Senate Launches Investigation into President Buhari's N30 Trillion Ways and Means Expenditure

The Nigeria Senate has made the decision to reexamine the N30 trillion Ways and Means funding that was approved for the Federal Government during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure. The Senate expressed concern that the details of this substantial amount were never provided for scrutiny.

The Red Chamber specifically alleged that the reckless spending of the overdraft obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele largely contributed to the current food and security crises facing the country.

As a result, the Senate resolved to establish an ad hoc committee that will conduct a thorough investigation into how the N30 trillion was expended by the previous administration, as the National Assembly was deliberately kept in the dark regarding the specifics of this spending.

The ad hoc committee, set to be constituted on Wednesday, will also delve into the N10 trillion spent on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, the $2.4 billion forex transaction out of the $7 billion obligation designated for that purpose, as well as other intervention programs.

These resolutions from the Senate followed the examination of a report by its joint committees on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions; Finance; National Planning; Agriculture; and Appropriations, which focused on the state of the economy after interactive sessions with the Federal Government’s economic management team.

During the plenary session on Tuesday, the consideration of the report was marked by stormy exchanges and accusations among senators regarding the approval of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means by the 9th Senate in May 2023, and the subsequent additional N7.2 trillion passed on December 30, 2023, by the 10th Senate.

Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate Whip, voiced his criticism, blaming the Senate for granting the request without receiving detailed information from President Buhari at the time. However, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Jibrin Barau, countered Ndume’s claim, stating that the decision was a collective one with the understanding that the executive would provide the details later, which did not happen.

In his remarks, Senate President Godswill Akpabio emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means approved by the 9th Senate in May 2023, which later increased to N30 trillion with the passage of the N7.2 trillion accrued interest submitted for approval in December 2023.

Akpabio highlighted that the current food and security crises in the country can be traced back to the manner in which the Ways and Means were granted, obtained, and expended. He stressed the importance of submitting the details of such spending for scrutiny and potential remedies to address the pressing needs of Nigerians, particularly in terms of food security.

The Senate President also endorsed the committee’s recommendation to investigate the N10 trillion Anchor Borrowers Program and other intervention programs running into billions of dollars. Additionally, he emphasized the urgent need for security agencies to combat all forms of insecurity across the country, enabling farmers to access their farms for essential food production, which is of paramount importance at this time.

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Blessing Temi

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