Road Projects: Senate Approves N21bn Refund to Taraba, Yobe

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The Senate yesterday approved N21 billion as refund to Taraba and Yobe state governments for the federal roads fixed by them with their own revenues.

The approval followed the consideration and adoption of the report of  the Senate  Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, presented by the Chairman, Senator Clifford Ordia.

Yobe State had requested that the Senate approve the reimbursement of  N20,942,211,672.25 but the red chamber okayed N18,663,843,119.39.

The N2,470,525,729.54 requested for by the Taraba State Government was approved by the upper chamber.

The Senate, based on the recommendations of the Committee, stepped down the request for reimbursement made by the Kebbi State Government.

Kebbi demanded N7 billion  as refund but the Senate withdrew the approval, claiming that the state failed to appear before the Committee to defend its claims in respect of the projects.

The red chamber therefore, directed the Kebbi State Government to appear before the Committee on Foreign and Local Debts within two weeks.

Part of the Committee’s recommendations read: “That the Senate do approve the Promissory Note Programme and Bond Issuance to settle outstanding claims and liabilities of N21,134,368,848.93) as refund to Yobe and Taraba states.

“That the committee will resume the consideration of the outstanding request in respect of Kebbi State Government as soon as it is able to defend its claims before the Committee.”

Addressing journalists after the Senate Plenary, Senators Adamu Aliero and Yahaya Abdullahi both from Kebbi State, clarified that they were not against the reimbursement of the funds to the state.

Two senators from Kebbi State Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central) and Abdullahi Yahaya (Kebbi North) have debunked insinuations that they were against the request of their state government for refund of N7 billion for road project it executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

While clarifying issues that arose at the senate plenary they said they would be happy for Kebbi to get the refund if due process is followed

The report of the Senate Panel had indicated that two senators from Kebbi State were opposed to refund to the state government

Aliero (Kebbi Central) and  Abdullahi (Kebbi North)  however insisted that they were “not opposed to Kebbi State Government getting the refund”

The former Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi said: “We are here to clarify a report of Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loan that Aliero and objected to the refund to KBSG. That is far from the truth.

“KBSG did not come to defend their claim with relevant documents. That was why Kebbi’s was postponed.

“The Senate has directed that KBSG officials be re-invited to come and defend their claim in the next two weeks. We have no objection to KBSG getting the funds to repair the road”.

On his part,  Aliero, former governor of the state, said he constructed the road in 2005 and will be happy if KBSG had come to defend their claim and get the refund of N7 billion, which he described as “big money”.

He said: “Certainly if this money is refunded it will enhance the financial standing of the State.

“We will do whatever is humanly possible to ensure that we get the money but due process must be followed, that is all my concern.”

The Senate President Ahmed Lawan in his remarks urged the Kebbi State Government through the senators to come and defend the request because the senate cannot just approve it without going through the defense process.

 “I want to take this opportunity to request from all of us whether a state or federal we are serving the people.

“So it is necessary that the State governments should engage the senators because they represent the state here.”

Lawan also urged the representatives of the State Government to meet the three senators when they come to be well guide by them so that Kebbi doesn’t lose this money.

“The committee will review the outstanding request by the Kebbi State Government as soon as it is able to defend its claims before the committee, ” he said.

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