$22.7b loan : Court told to stop President Buhari immediately
The Coalition of Opposition Political Parties, CUPP, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court to stop him from borrowing the proposed $22.7 foreign loan.
The lenders, Presidency, and the National Assembly are also named in the suit seeking to stop Buhari from accessing the loan.
CUPP, in a statement, signed and made available to the press by its National Publicity Secretary, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said the move to stop the borrowing was due to the alleged project lopsidedness, lack of financial prudence, security, alleged plan to use the loan for frivolous projects, over-costing of projects, corruption, misapplication, and incompetence.
The coalition lambasted the Senate leadership, describing it as rubber-stamp for forcing through approval of the loan even without Senators seeing the breakdown of the loan expenses as required by the law, adding that President Buhari needs ideas and competent and not the loan.
The opposition political parties declared the loan as a plan to sell Nigeria into economic slavery and financial colonialism.
CUPP acting through one of the registered political parties/coalition members said it has just commenced a legal offensive to stop the proposed borrowing of the sum of $22.7b by the Buhari government and also written to all the lenders to halt the loan request in view of the pending legal action.
The opposition party said it views the loan being sourced from various international lenders as a poorly executed plan to sell Nigeria into economic slavery and financial colonialism for which Nigeria was redeemed by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
The statement added, “We declare that the loan request by the President is the greatest singular act of disservice any leader could have done to this country. The loan request is riddled with project lopsidedness, lack of financial prudence, secrecy, plan to use the loan for frivolous projects, over costing of projects, corruption, misapplication, and incompetence. Nigerians must know that of this loan, consultants are expected to take an alleged whopping 40% of the loan while projects are to purportedly take the remaining 60%.
“We have taken this patriotic action because we believe that the President Buhari led corruption weakened government is just sourcing for funds to consolidate the APC govt looting jamboree and use the leftover to prosecute the 2023 general elections and not for the pretense of infrastructural development which it shoddily presented to the National Assembly. We, therefore, condemn the rubber stamp leadership of the Senate for forcing through the approval of the Loan by the Senate even when Senators had not seen the breakdown of the loan expenses as required by law.
“The Senate leadership has clearly and unambiguously shown it is not on the side of the people and it is not representing the Nigerian people but their selfish interest. There unpatriotic stand on national issues and lack of vision has become all the more apparent and have turned the Senate into a chamber filled by Political Allelluya boys.
“Fellow Nigerians, the exchange rate of the Dollars due to certain vagaries including gross mismanagement of our economy is now chasing N400 to a Dollar. This means that at this rate, the $22.7b foreign loan will be equivalent of Nine Trillion and Eighty Billion Naira only (N9,080,000,000,000). This is more than the entire 2019 budget and just a little less than the entire 2020 budget. How can a government borrow its entire budget yet citizens are in doubt as to the contents of the loan package? This loan request is the height of Buhari’s APC led Govt insensitivity, irresponsibility, and wickedness.
“Fellow citizens, both indigenous and foreign experts have pointed out the unsustainable trajectory of our country’s debt with the current upswing in borrowings, Nigerians will one day wake up to find that they are now tenants in their own houses. The Muhammadu Buhari regime would have sold our dear country to China and some nations in Europe. The opposition cannot sit and watch Buhari squander our present and our children’s future. Our nation’s leaders worked hard to clear Nigeria’s foreign debt after the return of democracy in 1999 and opposition would not allow any government to “plunge Nigeria back into another debt”.
“It has become manifestly clear to the Nigerian people that what our President Gen. Muhammadu Buhari Rtd needs is ideas and competent hands and not the 22.7 billion dollars foreign loan request. The problem with Nigeria is not lack of money but lack of governance capacity in the regime which from all available indices has made our economy worse, security precarious and life very cheap. This regime is indeed a disaster. It is peopled by political alleluia boys. We warned of the lack of capacity by the APC and their master whose idea of koboko economics is now outdated. It is a government high in sound but empty in ideas parading students of home economics who grandstand as world-class economists.
“We have a government that is more interested in its uninhibited quest for power and holding unto power than knowing what to do with the power for the benefit of the people. After hijacking the Parliament, emasculating the judiciary and crushing the electoral process Nigerians are now faced with the consequences of a regime that is hustling like traders in the Alaba market for Chinese and other foreign loans. Nigeria has now been thrown into a state of economic hiatus and quagmire. This is a loan bazaar, a frivolous borrowing, unsustainable come and chop and modern-day slavery.
“Unemployment, insecurity, crushing debt burden, unbridled corruption, the emasculation of government institutions, impunity, etc are now the order of the day. Otherwise, how could a government want to borrow $500 million (Five Hundred Million Dollars) which is the equivalent of N200, 000, 000, 000:00 (Two Hundred Billion Naira) only just to pump into its propaganda TV machinery called NTA?
“This is a television station that is not commercially viable but only carries government propaganda which the government does not even pay for. What then is the business plan for the recovery of this loan or is the government comfortable to tell Nigerians that citizens should pay for their propaganda? Let NTA be made viable by airing other views and they will generate revenue like AIT, TVC, Channels, STV, etc. Allowing the loan will be condoning evil most especially under a government which budgeted only about $500 million for its education sector despite having over 15 million out of school children is earmarking the same amount for just propaganda machinery upgrade.
“In view of the above, we call on the House of Representatives to redeem the image of the Nigerian Parliament already compromised by the Senate and serve as the true representative of the people by officially rejecting the dangerous loan request or ensuring the proposal is revisited by ensuring project balancing, removal of frivolous items that cannot repay the loan, removal of the outrageous alleged 40% payable to consultants and eventual reduction of the amount and setting up of a mechanism to monitor the disbursement. All items that are not economically viable should be removed. In short, the House should focus more on the loan being rejected because it is economically evil.
“Nigerians must rise and stop Gen Buhari and his APC political alleluia boys from plunging Nigeria into her worst economic crisis and bankruptcy.
“Furthermore, in view of the lopsidedness of the projects, the frivolous nature of some of the projects, the lack of evidence of the economic viability of the projects, inflated cost of the projects, lack of competency and transparency to monitor the loan disbursement, over-bloated cost to consultants, the Nigeria opposition Coalition CUPP in pursuit of public interest of Nigerians including the unborn generation who are the ones largely to pay for the avarice of this government today launched multiple legal offensives with public interest suits filed at the Federal High Court seeking to stop the move by Buhari led Federal Govt to borrow away the future of Nigeria and sell Nigeria into Economic Slavery and irredeemable financial hiatus with the $22.7b loan plan.
“The opposition has also written letters of petition to the foreign lenders to halt the process of continuing the consideration for the $22.7b loan, we have warned them to save their money for now and await the outcome of the Court action which we believe will put paid to this fiscally irresponsible move.
“Also in view of the pendency of the court action and in total deference to Nigeria judicial sovereignty, we warn the foreign lenders including their brokers and briefcase lobbyists to suspend all actions pending the final determination of the suit challenging the legality of the loan and in the event of default or disrespect to our laws which amounts to contempt, the opposition if and when we come to power in 3 years will not honour a borrowing bazaar that was consummated during the pendency of an action in Court.
“We have sued the Federal Government and the National Assembly in a separate suit and also sued the lenders to stop them and their agents from mortgaging our economic future by consummating a faulty loan deal which will put their depositors money in danger and also fund an owambe urge and shopping extravaganza of a government weakened by corruption and lack of competence and now hustling for loans on the street of China and Japan to cover their financial recklessness that has put Nigerian economy into dancing Atlanta dance of death.
“We have asked the Court to grant the following prayers:
“A DECLARATION that having regard to the provisions of Sections 19, 20, 21, 22, and 27 of the Debt Management Office Establishment) Act, the 1st and 2nd Defendants(The Federal Govt of Nigeria and President Buhari) while acting in concert with the 3rd and 4th Defendants(Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Finance) cannot undertake any external loan or borrowing on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without adhering to the national borrowing programme for the succeeding financial year as may be presented before and duly approved by the 5th Defendant(National Assembly
“A DECLARATION that it is unconstitutional, unlawful and ultra vires the executive powers of the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) to undertake to borrow external loans or participate in the negotiation and acquisition of any external loan without the proper legislative framework and approval of the 5th Defendant(National Assembly) in an openly debated, considered and deliberated session of the parliament, where the details of such external borrowing, project financing and projected repayment modalities will be openly debated and considered by the legislature.
“A DECLARATION that the purported approval of the 5th Defendant(National Assembly) for the external borrowing by the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) having not been done in accordance with the legislative procedure of open debate and consideration of executive request is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
“A DECLARATION that the exercise of the executive powers of the 2nd Defendant( President Buhari), viz-a-viz the acquisition of external loans and its expenditures on any project, cannot be carried out in a lopsided manner without taking into account the interests of all the component federating units, or in a manner that ensures predominance of some states or geo-political zones over the others or imbalanced economic development or disregard to the entrenched principles of federal character.
“A DECLARATION that the 5th Defendant(NASS) cannot casually approve the request of the 2nd Defendant(Buhari) to borrow any external loan or participate in the negotiation and acquisition of any such external loans without first carrying out the proper legislative oversight and scrutiny of the loan request, due consideration of the national borrowing programme for the succeeding financial year as well as debate of the viability and feasibility indices of the projected expenditures and the repayment modalities.
“A DECLARATION that it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the 4th Defendant(Finance Minister) to offer or undertake any guarantee for the requested external loans made by the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) when the terms and conditions of the said loan has not been duly laid before, considered and approved by the 5th Defendant(NASS) as mandatorily stipulated under the law.
“A DECLARATION that the action of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Defendants in undertaking to borrow external loans or participating in the negotiation and acquisition of any external loan without complying with the mandatory provisions of the law with regards to the specification of the cost-benefits, the economic and social benefits to which the borrowing is intended to be applied, viability/feasibility test on the sustainability of the borrowing and project financial as well as loan repayment projections is unlawful, contrary to the intendment of the law and therefore null and void.
“AN ORDER setting aside and/or nullifying any request for approval for external borrowing made by the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) to the 5th Defendant(National Assembly) for being unconstitutional, ultra vires the powers of the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) and for non-compliance with the law.
“AN ORDER setting aside and/or nullifying any approval for external loan borrowing made by the 5th Defendant(National Assembly) as any guarantee purportedly offered by the 4th Defendant(President Buhari) in pursuance thereof.
“AN ORDER OF COURT setting aside and/or nullifying the request for external loan/borrowing made by the 2nd Defendant(President Buhari) for fundamental failure to specify the cost-benefits, the economic and social benefits to which the borrowing is intended to be applied, viability/feasibility test on the sustainability of the borrowing and project financial, loan repayment projections as well as for being lopsided and in breach of federal character.
“We hope to salvage Nigeria yet again from the precipice. Our patriotic interventions since 2018 have saved the country multiple times from imminent collapse and we shall continue to do so for the sake of our children and their children.”