The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the last elections, Atiku Abubakar, has lashed out at President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for plunging the country into huge debt burden.
The former vice president in a statement by his spokesman, Paul Ibe, said the increased borrowings of the administration will spell doom for the country if the government is not called to order.
Atiku said as a key driver in the process that saved the country from debt burden some years ago, he has the right to caution the present administration over the allegedly reckless manner in which it takes foreign loans to pay salaries and spend on dubious programmes.
The statement read in part: “The increasing debt profile of our dear nation, Nigeria, is becoming more than a source of concern. The situation is now at the stage where all genuine lovers of Nigeria ought to raise an alarm.
On May 29, 2015, our national debt profile was at a very healthy ₦12 trillion. However, after four years of profligate spending, and even more irresponsible borrowing, our national debt doubled to ₦24.3 trillion by December, 2018.”
The statement continued: “As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile.
“What could this junta have needed that amount for? If you take those dates into account, they fall on the period of electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.
“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out of school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.
“As someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.
“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments.
“We raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.”