A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, said if President Muhammadu Buhari was serious about fighting corruption, he [Buhari] would not mortgage the future of the country by seeking a $29.9bn loan. Ever since the economy fell into recession primarily as a result of a significant drop in oil prices, the Federal Government has been looking for ways to get the economy back on track, including its recent application for a $29.9bn loan from external sources.
Though the Senate rejected the loan application on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the President would resubmit the request to borrow the money.
However, Falana said Buhari should stop chasing after the loan, but rather engage in an aggressive recovery of looted funds stashed away in foreign banks by past military rulers in the country.
The lawyer said this at a symposium tagged: “X-raying 50 years of military intervention in Nigeria’s politics”, organised by the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos.
Falana, who explained how the military started corruption in the country, said, “Between 1978 and 1986, this country incurred debts to the extent that we did not know how much we owed under the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. They had to engage the services of a consultant in the West to tell us what we owed, and of course, the London Paris Club gave us a figure. That was the extent to which governance deteriorated.
“By the time [former President Olusegun] Obasanjo was paying the debts, in one fell swoop in 2005, this country parted with $12.4bn for the West to forgive our debts. Meanwhile, they were the real sinners. At that time, on both the principal and the interest, we had paid $42bn. That amount alone could have eradicated poverty in the entire Africa.
“Now again, President Buhari wants to get a loan of $30bn. You know what that means? For generations unborn, we will mortgage their future, except the money is genuinely meant for infrastructural development, which is usually not the case once the money comes in. So Buhari should forget about the $30bn loan when he can get more than that if he goes after our stolen money in the West.”