The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has cautioned against Secthe reported approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for the payment of the $418 million suspicious debt despite widespread national objection by stakeholders, including state governors, chairmen of local governments and anti-graft agencies.
The caucus urged the President to note that the consent judgement being relied upon for the payment is cloudy, opaque and raises apprehensions of a huge swindle on the national treasure which requires immediate investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The caucus, in a statement issued by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu yesterday in Abuja, called on President Buhari to, in the national interest, immediately halt the payment processes until after the investigations.
“The caucus insists that the objection raised by the Association of Local Governments in Nigeria (ALGON) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, (NGF), in calling for forensic audit into the claims by the creditors, must be taken into consideration. “This is essentially because governance is a collective responsibility of all tiers and as such all views must be considered before such decisions are reached and implemented. “As lawmakers, our caucus insists that the approval to funnel out $418 million out of the national treasure under such hazy consent judgement and in the absence of the forensic audit, smacks of an endorsement of corruption.
“Our caucus urges President Buhari not to allow himself to be misled or entangled in this nebulous enterprise, but to listen to the state governors and allow for the audit, particularly on the particulars of claims by creditors as well as the circumstances leading to the suspicious consent judgement. “The Minority Caucus demands that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice should avail himself of the audit to bring the processes and circumstances surrounding the judgement debt to public glare. “The caucus maintains that the open audit should unravel those behind the consent judgement, the propriety of such measures as well as why the objection by the governors was ignored. “This is more so as the consent judgement predicated the payment of the doubtful $418 million on deductions from allocations to states and local governments, a development that will put unwarranted burden on the already overstrained tiers of government and worsen the economic and infrastructural deficit in the country.”