12 October 2017

Nigeria: External Borrowing - Buhari Mortgaging Our Future, Warns PDP

Abuja and Ado-Ekiti — The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concern over the move by President Muhammadu Buhari to obtain a foreign loan to the tune of $5.5 billion.

It said the loan request would amount to consciously mortgaging the future of its unborn generations.

In a statement issued by its spokesman, Dayo Adeyeye, the party said its received with shock, the plan by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to plunge Nigeria into further debt through needless and mindless borrowing of the sum of $5.5 billion.

"Like other well meaning Nigerians, we consider this new bid for a foreign loan of $5.5 billion being sought by the administration of President Buhari as an attempt to push the nation down into the black hole of debt that will affect negatively, the future of this nation," it said.

As a party that governed this nation meritoriously for 16 years and handed over a buoyant economy to the APC in 2015, PDP said it is concerned that by the time Nigerians would have the opportunity to push out the APC government in 2019, the economy of the Nation would have been damaged irreparably.

"For emphasis, we are dismayed at the rate by which the APC is plunging the Nation into debt through local and foreign borrowing without concomitant developmental projects in any sphere of the nation's economy to justify the huge borrowing.

"The figure released recently by the Debt Management Office (DMO) stating that the nation under the administration of the APC government in the last two years of being in office, has borrowed N7.51 trillion. It is mind-boggling.

"Mind boggling because all round infrastructural decay has now reached alarming proportions. The roads have deteriorated, the state of power supply has become worse, and there is no increase in wages to match the skyrocketing inflation.

"As a result, workers in educational institutions and other government agencies have spent more time at home observing strike action than they spent at work; insecurity has sky-rocketed beyond what anyone can imagine, while those in power continue to delude themselves that they are providing plausible leadership for the country.

"We are constrained to ask the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to explain to Nigerians what his government has done with the several huge sums borrowed in the last two years in the name of financing infrastructural development in the country.

PDP said data shows that since President Buhari was sworn-in, the nation's debt has risen by 61.96 per cent in only two years.

"As major stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we are worried that if the National Assembly does not stop this latest demand for foreign loan, the money when released, will go the way of other loans obtained in the last two years without any tangible result to show for it," it said.

Meanwhile, following the $25 billion corruption allegation levelled against the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has declared that the accusation had further exposed the level of corruption being perpetrated under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Fayose branded President Buhari's government as the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria, accusing the president of "treating corruption involving his men as family affair."

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had in a memo to President Buhari last week raised posers on how Baru awarded $25 billion contracts without following due process, which had attracted national attention.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications yesterday, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said: "When miscreants write petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against perceived opponents of President Buhari, EFCC will act immediately, but when known Nigerians, including members of Buhari's government raise allegation of corruption against close allies of the President, the EFCC will look the other way."

"As posited by APC Senator, Shehu Sani, we are in a situation where perfume is being sprayed on corruption when it affects Buhari's men while insecticide is being sprayed on corruption when it involves perceived political opponents of the president."

Speaking further, Fayose said; "While Nigerians are still asking questions as to what has happened to the report of the committee that investigated the $43 million discovered in an apartment at Osbourne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, allegation of $25 billion was made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and as usual, the allegation like others before it, is being treated as family affairs.

"Before now, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu was indicted of corruption by the Department of State Service (DSS) and all that was done by President Buhari was to ask the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to investigate the DSS report. Up till today, nothing has been heard about it and Magu, despite his rejection by the Senate, is still acting as the EFCC chairman.

"Up till today, Nigerians are yet to be told the owner of the Legico Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos inside which the EFCC claimed that it found N448.8 million cash.

"Despite the presence of CCTV cameras, we have not been told the identities of those who brought the five sacks in which the EFCC claimed that it found N49 million cash to the Kaduna Airport.

"As far as I am concerned, President Buhari is not fighting any corruption. He is fighting his political foes and God is not a God of double-standard. This Buhari's government is a government of double-standard."

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