Senate President Bukola Saraki says the senate’s rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign loan request is not personal.
In October, the president wrote to the senate seeking approval for the borrowing of $29.9bn from external sources.
But the upper legislative chamber threw out the proposal without a debate.
In a statement issued by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki’s media aide, on Thursday, the senate president advised politicians and the media to stop “peddling speculations” about his recent visits to the presidential villa and linking them to Buhari’s request for $29.9bn external loan.
He said in all his recent meetings with Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the issue of the proposed loan never came up for discussion.
He described that the comments of some politicians on the issue as “unfortunate”.
“Like I once told the media, these politically-motivated commentaries are trivialising a serious national issue and presenting it as if it is a personal matter that can be decided at meetings between Saraki and President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.
“The national assembly which I head as senate president has taken a position on the issue as required of it by the laws of the land and legislative conventions.
“At every point, the present national assembly will make decisions based on national interest and we have vowed that we will always act in the interest of our people. That is why despite the fact that members belong to different parties, when national issues come to the floor we forget about party affiliations and act as Nigerians elected to protect the interest of Nigeria.
“A visit to the presidency by the senate president is a normal thing because we need to consult, discuss, exchange ideas and make suggestions to each other from time to time. More importantly, at this time, when the nation is facing economic crisis, there is need for frequent engagements by the presidency and the national assembly.
“It is in fact very unfortunate that these empty speculations by the media are now forming the basis for commentaries by some politicians who are in a position to be better informed. Politicians should stop playing to the gallery or drawing political capital from all issues. When serious national issues are on ground, we should refrain from making statements based on mere sentiments. Similarly, the media should exercise restraint in their reportage and commentaries in order to properly serve our people.
“At a time when we are about to prepare a budget which is aimed at responding to the current recession and our plan is to ensure all issues concerning the budget are ironed out before the budget comes to the floor so that we will have a less tedious process than that of last year, the media should be ready to witness more of these engagements between the presidency and the national assembly.”