Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed that further discussion on the federal government’s request to borrow $22.7 billion was stepped down in the House because of the exclusion of the South-east as one of the beneficiaries of the loan.
Gbajabiamila made this revelation when he hosted Leaders of Faith Forum from the South-south and South-east in Abuja yesterday, adding that he had personally spoken with the Minister of Finance and the Director General of the Budget Office to find a solution.
It would be recalled that the Speaker at the plenary recently postponed deliberation on the loan.
He said: “You said there is no need for the loan at this time, but that in itself is debatable. If government believes that there’s need for the loan, I think we should support that, because they know as they’re the ones that see what is needed and what is not needed. What I think for me is more important is the equity of the law and whether or not we’re able to distribute these things fairly considering the very nature of the structure of our country.”
The speaker assured that the House is looking at the matter and hoped that there would be some kind of amicable resolution so that everybody would be carried along.
“Equity suggests that all zones must be carried along. With the quality of members that you have and the generality of the House, we’ll work towards a fair resolution of the issue so that it leads to something that will bring us together and unite us as a country,” he said.
Gbajabiamila also used the occasion to urge religious leaders to always pray for better leadership for the country, noting that Nigerian leaders needed prayers to succeed.
The leader of the delegation, Bishop Sunday Onouha, explained that the visit was to discuss issues of concerns with the speaker, especially the safety of farm lands across the country in order to avert impending hunger for most communities that depend on staple food like cassava and rice.
The religious leaders also called for an end to open grazing of cattle because Nigerians are no longer safe in their farmlands. They also declared their support for regional security outfits.