The Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar has accused the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), of signing away Nigeria’s sovereignty through what he called “reckless borrowing” especially from foreign countries.
Atiku, who was the nation’s Vice President under President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a statement today by his media office in Abuja, expressed fear that the terms of those loans could compromise the future of the country.
He recalled that just last week, a cabinet minister confirmed that Nigeria’s sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and that “our inability to service those loans,” could lead to the lender country taking 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 said that he had 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.
“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.”