The Senate Committee on Environment has raised the alarm that it discovered about N16 billion smuggled into the 2022 budget of the Ministry of Environment for servicing of debts believed to have been collected by State governments.
Chairman of the panel, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, made the revelation during the presentation of his committee’s report before the Senate Committee on Appropriation in Abuja.
He said about N6 billion was also added to the ministry’s 2021 budget, for which it was queried by the committee, stating, “only for it to be brought back in next year’s budget, this time to the tune of N16 billion.”
Ekweremadu explained that the loan was exclusively approved by a global institution for the State governments with a moratorium of 10 years.
He wondered why the ministry kept reflecting the facility in every budget cycle.
The chairman urged the appropriation committee to write to the Ministry of Finance to retrieve the N16 billion.
Fielding questions from journalists, Ekweremadu, who declined to mention the states that collected the loan, said he foresees a “grand plot to defraud the Federal government.”
The former Deputy Senate President expressed confidence that the appropriation committee would get to the root of the matter, and handle the case in the best interest of Nigerians.