‘Wealthy Nigerians should bail us’
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari put forward a proposal for an external loan to the tune of $29.9 billion which has been turned down by the National Assembly on the ground that embarking on such a thing will only set the nation backward.
The idea was also greeted by massive criticisms among many Nigerians, human rights organizations, financial and electronic experts and others, with the exception of few who still hold the belief that the nation needs the loan for it to come out its socio-economic quagmire.
ENCOMIUM Weekly sought the views of some legal practitioners on the request, and they called for a restrain in the step to avoid worsening the country’s debt status.
‘He should ask wealthy politicians to bail the country out, not external loan’
– Barr. Mohammed Fawehinmi
I don’t believe Nigeria should go for any external loan at all because the country now is in its worst shape. Why do we need to embark on external loan when we have wealthy politicians who have enriched themselves because of their positions in the country?
For instance, we have among former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s kitchen cabinet members, Senator Andy Ubah, who was also former governor of Anambra state for a very short while, who has declared to the Code of Conduct Bureau that he has N4 trillion. Then, he should be able to forfeit half of it for the sake of Nigeria if he truly loves the country. We also have Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and one of the leaders of All Progressive Cnngress (APC), who is worth over $50 billion. So, if he loves the country, he should also be able to forfeit half of it to solve our dear country’s problem.
Then, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is worth more than N8 trillion. So, he should be able to forfeit half of his wealth to save Nigeria from the present economic situation being a progressive and if he truly loves the masses and Nigeria as his fatherland. We also have Rabiu Kwankwaso who was two times governor and a minister of defence under Obasanjo. He’s worth over $528 million cash in a US bank account. He should be able to save the country by forfeiting half of it.
Then our man who himself is Mr. No Corruption, that’s Rotimi Ameachi. With the amount he declared before the CCB which he made while in government as governor of Rivers state, he should be able to do away with half of it if he’s truly a patriotic Nigerian.
We also have the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. He’s the number 3 citizen. He still earns salary as former governor of Kwara state despite being a serving senator. He’s very wealthy, and should be able to forfeit half of his money as well to show us he really loves the country. Then, Senator Godswill Akpabio, a two time governor of Akwa Ibom state under Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a serving Senator also in PDP. Akpabio should show how much he loves Nigeria by forfeiting half of what he has declared before the CCB to help the country out.
Finally, all the ex and serving governors should make all the assets they declared with the CCB public so that they can all detach half of whatever they declare because they also stole from the country’s purse. By doing that, they will show that they love Nigeria and Nigerians because now, we have a president who is ready to put everything in place. He’s a man of integrity, well respected and a man of his words. So, in order to show love for the masses of this country, all these people should make whatever they have public.
It’s a time for Operation Empty Your Pocket. We don’t need to keep embarrassing ourselves, going for any external loan when we have all these people who have more than required to save the country and help Buhari to succeed in his bid to move us forward.
‘It will only increase our debt profile’ -Barr. Fred Agbaje
I am not in support of any external loan at the moment. Embarking on that will only add more to our debt profile. But if Buhari can convince Nigerians that after collecting the loan, it won’t fly back to where it comes from as we experienced in the past, he can go ahead. We have also seen in the past where the money meant for the purchase of sophisticated weapons to fight Boko Haram insurgents was diverted and shared by few Nigerians. So, if he’s sure that the loan will be used for the purpose for which it’s requested, he can go ahead.
But what I think the president lacks is strong and reliable economic team that can turn the fortune of this country around, not any external loan at all. So, left to me, I don’t see any need for it.
‘Taking the loan will amount to more debt for the country’
The President has been complaining much about the terrible state of Nigeria’s economy, and I believe he’s also getting good advice on how best to solve the problem. If $29.9 billion external loan can help to cushion the effects of the current recession and such an amount is easily accessible, then I think we need it at this critical moment. However, if selling off some of our dormant assets would also help, then we shouldn’t consider taking the loan at all because it will surely amount to more debt which spells further doom for the country and its masses, especially with the interest that will follow. But the bottom-line is that the President should seek good economic and financial advice before taking the plunge.
‘I am not totally in support of the loan’
-Barr. Chris Nwaokobia
I have consistently held on to the belief that President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Nigeria better than he met her, but I am not being wishful and presumptuous. Should things remain the way they seem around the power corridor, my optimism may not subsume the deafening cynicism of critics and naysayers.
Ever so often times we’re treated with policy programmatic that appears not extensively researched. The fuel price increase came as an end to the fuel subsidy scam, so we were made to believe that less than six months after, fuel subsidy was back because the policy wasn’t deeply interrogated. Now, the uncertainty in the Forex regime has compelled the return of subsidy. So, we do not pay more than N145 for a litre of fuel.
Remember the fear expressed by critics of Buhari, and some due in the word supporters of his like your sincerely when the price increase came about.
We’re now confronted with another policy programmatic that appears profound on paper, the need to borrow $29.9 billion to fund infrastructure and other critical sectors of the economy. Nice one, you would say, but I yet have the same reservations that intended N500 billion social relief payout to the have-nots throws up. Until something is done pretty fast and effectively too to stem the rate of inflation in the land, more money in the system will means more inflation, more recession, more abandoned contracts and more poverty.
Our dear President must re-jig his cabinet and bring on patriots with penchants for research. He needs men who must interrogate all available economic normative and narratives for the good of the country to avoid bidding for any external loan.
Buhari does not need yes men who laugh when they’re not tickled but men who are genuinely concerned and interested in helping him leave profound legacy.