$23bn foreign debt: Buhari, APC owe Nigerians an apology -Atiku

$23bn foreign debt: Buhari, APC owe Nigerians an apology -Atiku

With Nigeria’s foreign debt aggravated hitting about $23 billion, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has demanded an apology on behalf of several million Nigerians from President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

   In a statement from his media office on Sunday and monitored by Daily Times, he said, “Now, we all are aware that Nigeria’s sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and God forbids our inability to service those loans, the lender country would take ownership of choice infrastructure on the Nigerian soil. No negotiation could be weaker than that!

   “Nigeria had a total foreign debt stock of $7.02 billion on May 29, 2015. Today, our foreign debt is $23 billion and rapidly rising. Debt, by itself, is not a bad thing. But debt budgeted for such unproductive ventures, like the proposed $500 million upgrade of the Nigerian Television Authority and other sundry bogus contracts, is debt that leads to death. To trade Nigeria’s sovereignty for this type of profligacy is the height of irresponsibility!

   “Atiku Abubakar has long advocated for a more robust engagement of the private sector and promotion of foreign direct investment as sustainable alternatives through which government could fund infrastructure development. But on the contrary, the Nigerian government under the banner of the All Progressives Congress threaded the direction of looking for cheap foreign loans in exchange for the sovereignty for Nigeria.

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   “Recall that former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration initiated a National Privatization Programme with the sole objective of ensuring that the private sector took some measure of influence in social investment portfolio and, in some instances, provided funding for infrastructure development.

  “There was nothing in that plan that traded Nigeria’s sovereignty for some cheap loans which, in the light of unfolding revelations of sleaze in some departments of government, would have ended in private pockets. The government of the day and the APC must apologize to Nigerians and make an admittance of guilt for taking the country through the throes of subjugation to another country.”

   Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the revelation of obnoxious clauses in the agreements entered by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration with their Chinese lenders in the $500 million loan, has vindicated its stand that the APC has been secretly mortgaging the sovereignty of the nation.

The party said its investigation showed that the mortgaging of the nation’s sovereignty to foreign lenders, including the exposed $500 million loan from China, has been with the active connivance of the APC as a party, even when such is against our national interest.

The PDP in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan said: “Nigerians can recall that our party had on May 28, 2020 alerted that the Buhari administration and the APC had placed our nation on the international auction market with accumulation of foreign loans under nebulous terms.

“The PDP declares that the APC agenda offends our corporate existence as a nation and grossly violates the fundamentals of our constitution as a self-governing state, which grant no space for any form of takeover of any of our national interests by foreigners, under any condition whatsoever.

   “Moreover, such mortgaging of our sovereignty in a loan agreement is in further violation of the oath of office of the President to protect the interest of the sovereignty of our nation. This gambling with our sovereignty amounts to an unpardonable treachery against our nation and the future of our generations yet unborn particularly given the level of incompetence, corruption, treasury looting, as well as betrayal of public trust by officials of the APC administration, which President Buhari had also confirmed.

   “The PDP is further irked by the arrogance being displayed by some officials of the Buhari administration who, rather than being remorseful, are daring Nigerians and the National Assembly over the matter. The attitude of government officials including the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who instead of taking steps to reassure Nigerians, is referring to ceding of control and ownership of assets in the event of default, further raises questions regarding the reliability of the current administration. 

  “The PDP holds that the demand for such toxic terms by the Chinese lenders underscores the loss of confidence by the international community in the Buhari administration, whose corruption has made it so untrustworthy that lenders now demand that we cede our sovereignty as condition.

   “As a pan Nigerian party, the PDP declares that our sovereignty as a nation remains non-negotiable. Nigerians reject such sovereignty-pawning clause and are not ready to mortgage any parts of our country under any guise whatsoever.”

   The party also called on the National Assembly to review all foreign loan agreements entered into by the APC administration and take further urgent steps to retrieve the nation from the international auction.

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Olamide Francis

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