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The Central Bank of Nigeria

2015 polls: Banks swoop on debtor lawmakers

From Fred Itua, Abuja

SOME Senators and members of the House of Representattives are pres­ently battling to save their properties from being acquired by some com­mercial banks following inability to pay back loans secured and deployed in prosecuting the 2015 elec­tions.

Daily Sun gathered that some affected senators secured loans to the tune of N300 million to obtain party tickets and, also, to run campaigns.

Specifically, two Sena­tors, one from North Cen­tral and another from the South East, told Daily Sun they contested against powerful forces and had to borrow money to ‘buy’ return tickets. “I have been in the National As­sembly for a while now. I moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate in 2011. But, this time around, I spent about N1 billion. Some of us thought it was going to be business as usual. As I speak, the bank which gave me part of the money is harassing me and even threatening to take over my house in Abuja, which I bought when I came to the Senate in 2011. That is different from the fact that they arbitrarily review the interest rate on the loan. I am not sure I can pay off that loan in the next three years with the way things are going. Apart from my statutory salary and allow­ances, I have not got any­thing from this place,”said a lawmaker from the north. A senator from the South South equally lamented: “I have been contesting since 2003. In 2003, I did not really spend money, apart from monies for campaign. But, in 2007, I spent so much. I gave $1,500 each to all the delegates. I won the primaries, but, I was de­nied the ticket. In 2011, I ran against the same man. I did not win even after paying $2,000 to each of the delegates. Luckily, in 2015, I got the ticket. I spent over N300 million just for the last election. If I add up what I have spent since 2003, it is over N1 billion…”

Since the inauguration of the Eighth National Assembly, salaries and al­lowances of lawmakers are, sometimes, delayed for weeks. A senator gave insight into how it has affected finances of law­makers.

“When you take a loan and you have an arrange­ment to pay it back every month, there is a huge fine when you default. I have been receiving my sala­ries and allowances late. And, the bank is fining me heavily. By the time they take out their deductions, I am left with nothing,” a lawmaker lamented.

Speaking on the issue, a House of Representa­tives member from Ebonyi State, Igariwey Enwo, said he was aware that some lawmakers secured loans from commercial banks to prosecute their elections.

“I cannot give specifics. But, I know a lot of people borrowed money to run for elections. There is no doubt about it. There is also no doubt that things are difficult for some of them (lawmakers),” he said.

Confirming how law­makers source loans from commercial banks during elections, a former man­ager of a top bank, who was in charge of corporate banking, Mr. Martins Itua, told our correspondent that as a business devel­opment manager, he was aware of loans granted to some lawmakers.

“I was the head of Pub­lic Sector in my bank and I actually helped some poli­ticians to secure loans. I also remember that one of them lost a house in Abu­ja, which was repossessed by the bank. The truth is that, it was a gamble back then. It was easier because once lawmakers got into office, they were paid al­lowances,” Itua stated.


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1 Comment

  1. Monday Onukogu 6th June 2016 at 8:46 am

    It is no longer business as before. A time is coming when the business of law making will be left for those who are dedicated to render service to Nigeria.

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