Miffed by Nigeria’s spiraling debt profile besides worsening insecurity pervading the country, ethnic nationalities have called for immediate end to Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s penchant for borrowing, especially foreign loans, stating that the matter has become a source of serious concern.
This is even as the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), accused the President and his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), of putting Nigeria up for sale.
They were all reacting to President Buhari’s fresh request of approval by the National Assembly’s statutory for external loans in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus Euro €710,m and Grant Component of $125million.
Leaders of the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere and its Igbo counterpart, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, in separate interviews with Sunday Telegraph, said the issue of borrowing without corresponding development to show for it was very disheartening.
Afenifere, through its Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, said that Buhari’s penchant to adopting borrowing as a habit, “is a matter of serious concern.”
He said: “Currently, the quantum of Nigeria’s indebtedness is in trillions while the amount of money we are spending to service loans, foreign loans especially, is greater than the amount we are spending on development projects in the country.
“Yet, there are no concrete indications that the country is deriving commensurate values from the monies being borrowed. In other words, whereas our debt profile is rising astronomically, what is on ground does not, in any way, justify the indebtedness.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo spokesperson, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, laid the cup of blame at the door of the NASS, which he said, was culpable of indulging Buhari by granting the requests.
He said: “The painful aspect of the loan request is that those who designed democracy, designed it so that you can have three arms of government which will serve as checks and balances on one another. “The essence of legislature, it represents the sovereignty of the people but the legislature we have is complacent.
Their duty is to inform the President that the borrowing is becoming too much. We are mortgaging the future of our children.
“And for some of us, we are already old, the (Senate President Ahmed) Lawan, who is the head of the National Assembly, is old, but what about his children? What about the future generation of Nigerians? How can we continue to accumulate loans like this high debt profile?
“When (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo came in, he tried to clear Nigeria’s debt but now it is something that has become insurmountable. It’s the duty of the legislature to checkmate the executive with respect to borrowing but unfortunately, they are not doing that; they are very complacent. It’s very painful.”
To the spokesperson Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ken Robinson, the system has collapsed as the government is bereft of ideas with which to turnaround the economy of Nigeria.
He said: “The whole system has collapsed and everybody seems to be dancing to the tune of the President and they do whatever they like and it is putting the future of Nigeria in jeopardy.
“So, it is a government that is bereft of ideas and lacks proper economic management.
There is no provision for the repayment of these loans that he is borrowing. So, he is just stockpiling debts for future administrations and Nigerians and it is very unfortunate.
“It is more unfortunate that the National Assembly has continuously approved these requests for loans for the President without any proper planning, and we don’t see what the loans are being used for. They are loans that are not even for the development of infrastructure that we will say this was what the loans have been used for.
“There is nothing that we can actually pin point and say this is one thing that these loans have been used for and Nigerians are benefiting from it. So, it is very sad. They are loans that we could even say that they borrowed and mismanaged them. So, we are just putting future Nigerian leaders in a tight corner.
“There are no indications that these loans have been judiciously applied to projects for which they claimed or for purpose which they have been taken.
The point that we need to emphasise here is that the National Assembly has become a rubber stamp National Assembly and every application that the President has receives automatic approval.”
Similarly, the Middle Belt Patriotic Front (MPF), described as unfortunate the plan to take a fresh loan, stating that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will go down in history as the worst in terms of economic blueprint and planning.
MPF, which spoke through its Convener, Comrade Ibrahim Bunu, said that the penchant for loan is pathetic, because the money borrowed is not to construct viable projects that will add to the country’s internal revenue, such as to develop the transport sector, power or petroleum sector so as to stop the wanton spending on importation of fuel, but spending on wasteful things. “I stumbled on a short video by BBC Hausa service yesterday.
This question was put in this way: ‘Do you know that as a Nigerian you are already owing N165, 000 each if the over N33 trillion is to be split to every Nigerian with our population of 200 million people?
“This government met our foreign and domestic debt at N12 trillion, but in the name of a government that came with the mantra of reducing every wastage to its barest minimum, here we are about to be swallowed by excessive debt.
“This government will go down in history as the worst in terms of economic blueprint and planning. Already our naira is exchanging at close to N600 to a dollar. Going by what we were told during campaigns, the President’s promise is not feasible solely because of sheer incompetence,”
Bunu said. He expressed dissatisfaction with the decision of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari and described it as unrealistic borrowing, especially when the government claimed to be fighting corruption.
He urged the National Assembly to checkmate the decision of executives on the plan.
Also weighing in, the PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the administration was mortgaging the future of the country.