Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Former Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt in the 8th Senate, Shehu Sani yesterday advanced reasons the 8th Senate turned down the federal government loan request for $30 billion, stating it was to save Nigeria from sinking into the dark gully of a perpetual debt trap.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter to the 9th Senate re-presented a request for the loan that was turned down by the 8th Senate.
Sani who is now the Director in the African Centre for Peace and Development in a statement said, “We don’t want our country to be recolonised by creditor banks.”
He later stepped up his statement with his comment on his verified tweeter handle, saying, that those proposing the $30 billion loan request would have taken to the streets protesting, if not that they were not in government today.
According to the senator, “Our external debt in 2015 was $10.32 billion and it escalated to $22.08 in the second quarter this year, which is 114 per cent, if we had approved that loan request, our external debt could have catapulted to over $52 billion and that is not sustainable.”
He explained that with the current escalation of borrowing, “we will be walking into debt Slavery and move from landlords to tenants in our country. They will always tell you that even America is borrowing and I don’t know how rational it is to keep on borrowing because another country is borrowing.”
Senator Sani said that If Nigeria kept listening to bankers and contractors, then, “we will keep borrowing and burying ourselves and leave behind for our children a legacy of debt burden.”
He stated that loans were not charities, as most of those encouraging more borrowing were parasitic consultants, commission agents, rent seeking fronts and contractors.
He called on the 9th Senate and indeed the National Assembly to be cautious, saying, “We must be cautious”.
In his verified tweeter handle, the senator from the 8th Senate wrote, “I have no doubt that if those occupying the position of power today were in the opposition and the government made a request to borrow $30 billion, they could have not just condemned it but will lead a protest against it no matter the reasons advanced.”