President BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the national assembly to support the executive arm of the government in fixing Nigeria’s transport infrastructure, especially roads and the railways.

Buhari who made the pledge during a dinner with senators at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday, also stressed the desire of the presidency to ensure that Nigeria does not default on payment of projects’ counterpart funding.

The dinner, which started at 8pm, was the first social engagements between the President and the senators since the Senate was inaugurated on June 9 under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki.

“The roads are dead. Those who drive between Lagos and Ibadan will have a lot of stories to tell you. Those who drive from Kaduna to Jebba may have more stories to tell. The same thing is applicable to the East-West road,” Buhari told his guests, stressing that “if Nigeria could get the railways working, lives and fuel would be saved”.

The President also decried the rate at which Nigeria was defaulting in settling counterpart funding on projects, urging the Senate to probe the country’s project counterpart funding in the last five years “and see how them to rectify the situation”.

Buhari reminded the senators that the previous administrations enjoyed income from oil as high as $140 per barrel, but the same product was being sold for only $38 per barrel, thereby drastically reducing the revenue stream of the government.

Despite the revenue challenge, Buhari insists that Nigeria was enjoying tremendous goodwill globally which he would like the senators to sustain with their actions and support for his administration.

“We are enjoying tremendous goodwill outside this country. Whatever we do, let us have it in mind that people have confidence in this government.”

Specifically, he urged the senators to give the 2016 budget the type of consideration given to the screening and confirmation of ministerial nominees.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki who thanked President Buhari for acknowledging their efforts during the ministerial screening, however, promised that the Senate would treat other national issues with the importance they deserve. “Petrol does not know APC or PDP. We will always work hard in the interest of the country in everything we do,” Saraki pledged.

BY Olisemeka Obeche

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