Femi Falana, human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called on the federal government to drop its plan to borrow $29.960 billion to execute key projects across the country.
The soft-spoken lawyer said the government would be putting the collective destiny of the younger generation in jeopardy should it go ahead with the controversial decision.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently asked the approval of the National Assembly to borrow the said loan from the World Bank.
Falana, while speaking at the 2016 annual general conference of Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Lagos, urged the federal government to source for funds locally.
The lawyer, who is a former president of CDHR, said the government should use recovered loot and go after chronic debtors to fund its projects.
He said: “We hear that the federal government wants to borrow 29 billion dollars to fund the economy, my advice is we do not need to do this at such a period in our economy.
“What about the millions of the recovered loots from those who stole our money, our money that are in the hands of those who decided to steal from the treasury?
“I have a report from Nigeria Extractive Transparency Initiative, NEITI which states that the oil companies and NNPC are owing the federal government a joint $20.2b.
“All these should be recovered and used for these projects instead of putting the destiny of the younger generation and those to come in jeopardy as a result of the huge national debt it will bring.”
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a request to the House of Representatives and Senate to borrow the sum of $29.960 billion to provide infrastructure and execute its safety net programmes from 2016 to 2018.
The money, the President said, would be used to finance projects with emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms among others.
He said the devastated North East Zone will get the sum of $575 million from the loan.
Buhari said that proposed projects and programmes will take the sum of 11.274 billion dollars, special national infrastructure projects ($10.686 billion), Euro bonds ($4.5 billion) and Federal Government budget support ($3.5 billion).