By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said that the debt burden of the country which has skyrocketed to $23 billion is very toxic and could compromise the nation’s sovereignty as most of the debt was taken for profligacy.
The Waziri Adamawa had two months ago called the attention of the country to the reality of reckless borrowing by the present All Progressives Congress (APC) administration and how the terms of those loans could compromise the future of the country.
The former Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement on Sunday said that a cabinet minister just last week confirmed his fears on the dangers of such unchecked penchant of the present administration to borrow.
Making reference to the fears expressed by the Minister, Atiku 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 further advocated for a more robust engagement of the private sector and promotion of foreign direct investment as sustainable alternatives through which government could fund infrastructural development.
He lamented that on the contrary, the Nigerian government under the APC threaded the suggestion for cheap foreign loans in exchange for the sovereignty for Nigeria.
He said that 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.