21 July 2014

Nigeria: U.S.$1 Billion Loan - Corruption Behind FG's Request - APC

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday sought approval from parliament to borrow up to $1 billion abroad to help the armed forces tackle ... ( Resource: Nigeria Leader Wants $1 Billion Loan To Help Fight Boko Haram )

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the National Assembly to properly scrutinise the puzzling request by President Goodluck Jonathan for a $1billion loan to fight the Boko Haram insurgents, saying the federal government would have had no business borrowing money if it had accounted for US$20billion in oil funds or plugged the official stealing of 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said even if the missing oil fund is only between 10 and 12 billion dollars as admitted by the FG, the amount represents more than 10 times the fund which the FG is now seeking to borrow under conditions that are yet unknown.

It described as disingenuous and sheer blackmail the argument that the money is for national security or that it would facilitate the release of the over 200 schoolgirls who were abducted about 100 days ago.

"That argument is hollow. In the first instance, trillions of naira have been allocated yearly - in the past few years - for security and defence, yet the fight against the insurgents rages on with deadly consequences. Secondly, the only reason the schoolgirls have remained in captivity is the sheer cluelessness and incompetence on the part of the Jonathan administration, which waited for all of 19 days before even admitting that the girls were kidnapped in the first instance.

"Therefore, putting more money in the hands of an incompetent and massively corrupt administration can only encourage more incompetence and corruption. That is why we are asking the National Assembly to put national interest above all other considerations by taking a dispassionate, non-partisan look at the president's request.

"What we are saying in essence is that the National Assembly must summon security and military chiefs to explain how the huge funds allocated to the security sector in the past have been spent, before more funds can be pumped into the sector. They must be asked what happened to the military equipment said to have been procured in recent years.

"They must also inquire from the administration why it should be borrowing $1billion when it is yet to account for the missing 20-billion-dollar oil money, plug the daily stealing of 300,000 bpd and unravel the massive frauds that have hallmarked the tenure of this administration (pension fraud, oil subsidy scam, Malabu fraud etc). If after all the scrutiny, the National Assembly still feels it must approve the loan, so be it, but it (National Assembly) must know that its own integrity and credibility are on the line," APC said.

The party also reminded Nigerians that the Nigerian civil war, which lasted three years, was prosecuted by the government without resorting to any external borrowing, due to competent and transparent management of the nation's economy.

"On the contrary, trillions of naira have been pumped into the Boko Haram war in the past five years, and Nigerians still do not have any indication of how soon the insurgency will end or what happened to the huge allocated funds."

Instead, what the tax payers are being asked to do is to shell out more funds to finance the incompetence and corruption of a reckless administration, whose officials fly around the world in jets that burn billions of naira but cannot allow them to be probed by the National Assembly," it said.

APC wondered why the Jonathan Administration that roundly pilloried Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno State, when he alerted Nigerians to the need to adequately equip and motivate our men and women in uniform, has now turned around to admit that the military needs modern hardware to fight the insurgency.

The party said it aligns with those who have cautioned against the National Assembly giving a blank cheque to the Administration, due to its inability to account for the past budgetary allocations for the security and defence, as well as its sheer cluelessness and palpable incompetence.

"This year alone, 20 per cent of the total national budget of 4.962 trillion Naira, which is about 968.127 billion naira, was allocated to Defence. How much of that money has been released so far and how has the funds been spent? What about the equally huge allocations in the previous years?.

"With the Jonathan Administration allegedly spending or setting aside an average of 2 billion Naira to impeach each Governor of APC states, and the PDP-led Administration using the common wealth to bribe voters in a desperate bid to win elections at all costs, approving the 1-billion-dollar loan may amount to giving more ammunition to the Administration to stifle the nation's democracy or even threaten the very existence of the country," it said

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