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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday held a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Senate.
The president also met separately with Senators from the South-east.
The senators at the meeting, held at the president’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, were led by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
After the meeting with the lawmakers, they exited while Buhari held a personal meeting with Saraki.
The meeting came about a week after the Senate rejected Buhari’s request to borrow $29.9 billion from external sources.
The lawmakers, across party divide, rejected the application without debate, saying it did not come with relevant information such as purpose, means of repayment and among others.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Ekweremadu said: “For us from the South-east, we believe that dialogue is better than any other form of engagement. So we decided to visit the president and present to him some of the concerns of the South-east including the issues of roads, general infrastructure: the rail, airports. We also discussed the issue of security with him and of course the issue of Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB.) We had a good conversation with the president, and he promised to look into the issues.”
The Chairman of the South-east Caucus in the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, who was also at the meeting with the president, said the South-east caucus came to see the president over raging issues in the region.
He said: “This is the South-east caucus in the Senate and we came to see the president because of the issues we have in the South-east.
“We had a fruitful discussion with the president. He has promised us that he is going to look into the problems of region.
“We know that there are problems everywhere but we also believe that the South-east is the zone that is far much shortchanged at this time than other zones.
We also talked about the issue of appointments from the South-east, especially with respect to the National Security Council. The president also told us that governors of the South-east have also engaged him on the same problems we engaged him on.
“There is a concerted effort from the people of the South-east to be sure that we engage with this government meaning fully.
“We are reassured with the response we got from the president and we look forward to further interaction with him in this manner.”
Others in the delegation were: Sam Egwu, Hope Uzodima, Andy Uba and Chukwuka Utazi.