By Dipo Olowookere The $22.7 billion loan request of President Muhammadu Buhari has been approved by the Senate. The upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly authorised the President to ahead with the external borrowing on Thursday during plenary. This followed the laying of the report by Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts on the 2016 -2018 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan by Senator Clifford Ordia. The issue had generated a heated debate between the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan and the Minority Leader, Mr Eyinnaya Abaribe. Mr Lawan had said, \u201cWhat is here is what is to finance our capital budget and therefore, it is important that we are conscious of the fact that we need to have the capital aspect of the budget funding. \u201cIt is important that the executive takes note of those areas that are left out and in the next phase we consider those areas that are left out.\u201d But Mr Abaribe, while responding, disagreed with the Senate President. He said, \u201cSaying that this is part of the capital funding of our budget presupposes that this has come to us and we have approved it which is not the position. \u201cThe position is we approve some of this. It is when we get to approving the capital projects that we can determine which of the projects will improve our economy.\u201d The Senate, while reacting to Mr Abaribe\u2019s comment, noted that, \u201cI said we are going to vote on the recommendation. And there is nothing like line by line. It is normally the recommendations that are voted on. \u201cWe know what the projects are. We cannot go clause by clause because there are no clauses. What we vote on is the recommendation of the committee and they are itemized on the report.\u201d In his contribution, Mr Solomon Adeola commended the Chairman for working within the time frame, but asked, \u201cThe Committee chair informed the Senate that there is one item that was erroneously added. Does this figure increase the side of the load or reduce it?\u201d Senator Adamu Aliero, while contributing to the issue today, asked, \u201cDid Nigeria borrow this money to construct the Lagos - Abidjan road and what do we expect in return? \u201cIf you look at the other part of the country, nothing is said about the North East. The application of the loan is lopsided and I have not seen why huge loans like this will be concentrated in only one section of the country. We should include critical projects that should be covered on this road.\u201d The lawmakers critically looked into the report, they went into an executive session, which lasted about an hour. The Senate President, after the meeting, said members deliberated on the issues bordering on workings of the Nigerian Senate in particular and the National Assembly in general. The request was later approved.