Protest in Senate over $1bn insurgency fund

Protest in Senate over $1bn insurgency fund

Moves by the Federal Government to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fund the war against insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country, on Thursday, caused a protest on the floor of the Senate.

Senators expressed disappointment that the leadership refused to open a debate on the contentious proposal.

Senate President Bukola Saraki almost could not persuade his colleagues that the Senate would debate the matter upon resumption from Christmas and New Year recess.

For over one minute, Saraki’s appeal was rejected. Lawmakers grumbled in an apparent display of disapproval.

Trouble started when the Deputy Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, drew the attention lawmakers to the fact that Thursday’s Senate Order Paper did not list a motion on the $1 billion, despite the fact that the Senate had, on Wednesday, agreed to debate it, on Wednesday.

Sen. Sam Anyanwu had, on Wednesday, drawn the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the planned withdrawal of $1 billion had become a matter of urgent national importance. He had demanded for a serious debate by the upper chamber.

He asked the Senate to allow him sponsor a proper motion on the matter for debate the following day which was supposed to be on Yesterday.

Shortly after Ekweremadu raised the matter, many lawmakers started agitating and wanted a positive response from Saraki.

On noticing the mood of his colleagues, Saraki made frantic attempts to explain why the motion could not be taken.

Saraki did not explain why the motion was not on the Order Paper, but stated that the fact that Anyanwu was not in the chamber made it difficult for the debate to commence.