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Afenifere cautions Fed Govt over high debt profile

By Seye Olumide and Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
18 February 2022   |   4:02 am
The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has cautioned the Executive and Legislative arms of government against turning Nigeria into a perpetual debtor-nation.

• Group demands fair deal for North, South
• Frowns at imbalance in NPA headship

The Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has cautioned the Executive and Legislative arms of government against turning Nigeria into a perpetual debtor-nation.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi yesterday, the group cited several instances of loans being borrowed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and expressed dismay over the disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and the Debt Management Office (DMO), that as much as 74 per cent of the country’s earnings go into debt servicing. DMO is a Federal Government agency handling various debts by the government.

It was also disclosed that as of September 2021, Nigeria’s public debt was N38.005 trillion and has not stopped rising.

The pan-Yoruba organisation, therefore, urged the National Assembly to stop acceding to every loan request by the Executive henceforth.

While alluding to the N250 billion to be borrowed from World Bank ‘to solve environmental degradation in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Afenifere maintained that states in the southern part of the country deserve attention too “when we talk of environmental degradation.

SIMILARLY, Afenifere, yesterday, challenged the Federal Government to explain the rationale behind the appointment of three northerners in a row as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

In a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan, the group’s National Publicity Secretary decried the lopsidedness nature of projects siting and appointments being made by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Afenifere spokesman wanted the Federal Government to explain why Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, a northerner, would be the one to succeed Hadiza Bala-Usman and Mr. Habib Abdullah, both of whom are northerners, as Managing Director of the NPA.

“Afenifere wants the Federal Government to explain why Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, a northerner, would be the one to succeed Hadiza Bala-Usman and Mr. Habib Abdullah, both of whom are northerners, as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority. Does it mean that there is no person from any of the three geo-political zones in the South that could hold that office?

“It has been repeatedly, but regrettably, observed that each time a position occupied by a southerner is vacant, such a position is filled by a northerner whereas a southerner is not made to take up an office vacated by a northerner. Yet, such offices ought to be for all Nigerians. Such does not promote national unity,” the statement stated.