What really provoked the 10th Senate’s first rowdy session?

Sharon EboesomiJuly 11, 20236 min

Eight months after the Senate set up a Committee to conduct holistic investigation into a huge disparity in the disbursement of a N483, 000, 000 loan to six geo-political regions in 2021 by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), motion provokes rowdy session in the Red Chamber.



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Members of the Tenth National Assembly will return to legislative business today following the adjournment of plenary in both chambers last Thursday.

While Nigerians still expect the composition of Committees in both chambers and a formal release of their legislative agenda, it is clear that the hallmarks (if I may) of a traditional parliament are beginning to set in.

Heated debates, disagreements and even chaos are all parts of legislative business, but it appears that we are yet to see much of those in the new National Assembly until last Wednesday when the Senate got its fair share.


What are the issues?

Controversial Senator and newly-appointed Chief Whip, Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) drew the first blood at the commencement of plenary hen he attempted to present a motion over the Development Bank of Nigeria, DBN’s disbursement of credit facilities amounting to five hundred billion naira to Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) across the six geo-political zones of the country.

He drew the attention of his colleagues to a similar motion on what he described as uneven distribution of the DBN loan in the Ninth Assembly, adding that the outcome of that motion was not concluded before the dissolution of the Ninth Senate.

According to Senator Ndume, the bank’s Annual Integrated Statutory Report 2021, obtained on 13 July 2022 from the DBN’s website, showed that the bank disbursed a loan worth N483 billion, out of which only eleven per cent (11%) went to the nineteen (19) states in the North, while 47 per cent went to Lagos alone. Thus, he sought the permission of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to present the motion for a fresh debate.


READ ALSO: Senate begins probe into DBN’s N500bn loan disbursement, summons 7 MDAs 


The uproar

Trouble started after the Senate President rejected the motion to debate the alleged uneven distribution of N500 billion across the country by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN). Before the Senate President could respond, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Ogun West) interjected in a disagreement with Senator Ndume’s stance on the matter.

Adeola argued that the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee set up to investigate the matter had informed him that a report was done on the motion and was sent to the Presidency for implementation.

Irked by Senator Adeola’s attempt to discredit Ndume, Senator Aliyu Ahmed Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West) rose to cite a point of order. Upon being given the floor to speak, Senator Wadada expressed his displeasure at the imbalance in the distribution of the money, adding that his Senatorial District, his state and the entire North were grossly cheated. He would further become more furious when the President of the Senate attempted to rule him out of order on the grounds of citing improper order.

At the point of ruling on the matter, Senator Ndume rose again and insisted that it was unfair and morally wrong that the entire Northern region was given only 11 per cent, while only Lagos State got 47 per cent of the loan, adding that his home state of Borno, got just one per cent. The Chief Whip also insisted that he hadn’t seen the said report and alleged that some lawmakers were ambushed to sign the report.


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“The former Senate President insisted that I should be a member of the committee because I was the mover of the motion. However, I was not always around whenever they called the meeting. I don’t want to believe that it was deliberate. I swear by God. I have not seen a copy of the report. I am a Senator, I raised the motion because my people were shortchanged. This is a serious matter. N500 billion was distributed. Other geopolitical zones got 11 per cent, while my region got only one per cent.

When you say that you have submitted the report and you ambush people to sign the report only when those that are interested were not around, I didn’t sign any report. I insisted I am not a young man. You should have given me the report.”

Attempts at truce

Senator Akpabio thus interjected stating that the motion had to be stepped down for more consultation: “I can imagine the passion you have shown on this matter. We’re a corrective 10th Senate. We’re ready to correct anything that you feel was not properly done. The Senate President has already ruled on the matter that it should be stepped down.

It doesn’t mean that the matter is permanently closed. I will refer you to Order 63. If you want to reopen a closed matter, you have to come up with a substantive motion.”

The President of the Senate further called on the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee in the 9th Senate, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, to speak to the issue.

“I submitted the report after due consultations with all the agencies like the Bank of Industry, Agricultural Development Bank, Minister of Finance, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency and other agencies that are involved in the palliatives or grants.

When we were deliberating, we included all Senators from each geopolitical zone and were meeting. The Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, attended the meeting twice. The meeting continues. The time that we wanted to submit the report, I called the Chief Whip, but he was in Maiduguri. When they submitted the signature sheet to me, I saw that you (Ndume) signed the report of the Committee like any other member. Other members of the committee signed.”

The statement by Senator Musa further led Senator Ndume to interject, insisting that he was yet to see the report. In response, Senator Musa noted: “But you signed it. You signed it, and it is not an interim document. It is a final report and it has been adopted. It was debated here and adopted.”


READ ALSO: DBN: Senate to investigate uneven disbursement of N483bn loan


The truce

At that point, the Senate President ruled that the motion be stepped down for further consultation, noting that the motion could be brought back for debate in future.

“Let me make it clear that the fact that the motion is stepped down does not mean it cannot be reintroduced.”


Sharon Eboesomi

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