APC: massive corruption behind govt’s request for loan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the National Assembly to scrutinise President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for $1 billion (about N165 billion) loan to fight the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
The party said the administration has no business borrowing money, if it had accounted for $20 billion in oil funds or checked the official stealing of 300,000 barrels of oil per day.
In a statement yesterday in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party noted that even if the missing oil fund was only between $10 billion and $12 billion, as admitted by the Federal Government, the amount represents over 10 times the fund the government is now seeking to borrow under conditions that are yet unknown.
It described as disingenuous and sheer blackmail the argument that the money is for national security or that it would facilitate the release of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted about 100 days ago.
APC said: “That argument is hollow. In the first instance, trillions of naira have been allocated yearly – in the past few years – for security and defence. Yet, the fight against the insurgents rages on with deadly consequences. Secondly, the only reason the schoolgirls have remained in captivity is the sheer cluelessness and incompetence on the part of the Jonathan administration, which waited for 19 days before even admitting that the girls were kidnapped in the first instance.
“Therefore, putting more money in the hands of an incompetent and massively corrupt administration can only encourage more incompetence and corruption. That is why we are asking the National Assembly to put national interest above all other considerations by taking a dispassionate, non-partisan look at the President’s request.
“What we are saying is that the National Assembly must summon security and military chiefs to explain how the huge funds allocated to the Security sector in the past were spent, before more funds can be pumped into the sector. They must be asked what happened to the military equipment said to have been procured in recent years.
“They must also inquire from the administration why it should be borrowing $1 billion when it has not accounted for the missing $20 billion oil money, plug the daily stealing of 300,000 barrel per day (bpd) and unravel the massive fraud that has hallmarked the tenure of this administration (pension fraud, oil subsidy scam, Malabu fraud, among others). If after all the scrutiny, the National Assembly still feels it must approve the loan, so be it. But it (National Assembly) must know that its own integrity and credibility are on the line.”
The party reminded Nigerians that the civil war, which lasted three years, was prosecuted by the government without resorting to any external borrowing, due to competent and transparent management of the nation’s economy.
It added: “On the contrary, trillions of naira have been pumped into the Boko Haram war in the past five years, and Nigerians still do not have any indication of how soon the insurgency will end or what happened to the huge allocated funds. Instead, what the tax payers are being asked to do is to shell out more funds to finance the incompetence and corruption of a reckless administration, whose officials fly around the world in jets that burn billions of naira but cannot allow them to be probed by the National Assembly.”
APC wondered why the Jonathan administration, which roundly pilloried Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, when he alerted Nigerians to the need to adequately equip and motivate our men and women in uniform, has now turned round to admit that the military needs modern hardware to fight insurgency.
The party aligned with those who cautioned the National Assembly from giving a blank cheque to the administration, due to its inability to account for the past budgetary allocations for security and defence, as well as its sheer cluelessness and palpable incompetence.
APC said: “This year alone, 20 per cent of the total national budget of N4.962 trillion, which is about N968.127 billion, was allocated to Defence. How much of that money has been released so far and how have the funds been spent? What about the equally huge allocations in the previous years?
“With the Jonathan administration allegedly spending or setting aside an average of N2 billion to impeach each governor of APC states, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration using the common wealth to bribe voters in a desperate bid to win elections at all cost, approving the $1 billion loan may amount to giving more ammunition to the administration to stifle the nation’s democracy or even threaten the very existence of the country.”
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