- Approves bills establishing nine new varsities, polytechnics
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate has mandated its committee on Foreign and Local Debts to investigate the alleged plan by the Kogi State Government to obtain $500 million loan from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).It also passed bills for the establishment of nine federal higher institutions including universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the country.
At plenary wednesday, the Senate directed its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to investigate allegation that the Kogi State government is on the verge of borrowing the sum of $500 million from the UAE without approval by the National Assembly.
This was sequel to a motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) via Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules.
According to him, the move by the state government is illegally being facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Finance under a fraudulent arrangement called debt refinancing.
He alleged that if not stopped by the Senate and by extension , the National Assembly, the loan would further mortgage the future of citizens of the state who are already groaning under N40bn debt.
He stated that the loan being sought for illegally, is planned to be used to fund the Kogi State and Presidential elections next year saying “ it is disastrous for a state, whose debt already stands at N40 billion, secrectly planning to borrow N180 billion.
“What it means is that the Government is borrowing to pay borrowed money,” he lamented.
Contributing, Senator Attai Aidoko (Kogi East), said it is unacceptable for the Kogi State people to accept an illegal borrowing.
Idoko added that it is also unacceptable for the Senate to allow the ministry of Finance to forge ahead on the illegal loan borrowing.
He pointed out that there are no capital projects going on in Kogi State in addition to unpaid salaries that are still being owed by the government of Mr. Yahaya Bello.
“Kogi State cannot sustain this loan,” Idoko stated.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, therefore, assigned the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to investigate and establish, if the loan has been taken.
Saraki also told the Committee to establish the approach being used to access the loan and has 48 hours, or five days maximum to report its findings to the Senate. The Senate also yesterday passed for third reading nine different bills sponsored by different senators for establishment of new federal universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
The passage of the nine bills one of which was the one which seeks for establishment of Federal University of Education Aguleri in Anambra State , sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh (Anambra Central), was sequel to recommendations made to that effect in a cumulative reports presented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Jubril Barau (Kano North).
Apart from the Federal University of Education Aguleri, other federal institutions established through the passage of the bills are Federal University of Technology Manchok in Kaduna State, Federal Polytechnic ,Daura in Katsina State and Federal Polytechnic Ikom in Cross Rivers State .
Others are, Federal Polytechnic Langtang in Plateau State, Federal Polytechnic Kabo in Kano State and National Institute of Construction Technology and Management Federal Colleges of Education established through passage of the bills are , Federal College of Education ( Technical) Arochukwu and Federal College of Education Usugbenu- Irrua in Edo State.
In his remarks after the passage of the bills, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the session, said assenting to them by President Muhammadu Buhari would go a long way in making education acquisition centres available for the teeming millions of school age Nigerians seeking for self .discovery knowledge.
He added that approval of the federal schools , would further register required federal presence in the affected communities with attendant positive multiplier effects .