By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS—LEADERS and elders of the Southern and MiddleBelt Leaders Forum, weekend, kicked against the plan by the Federal Government to borrow the sum of $27 billion recently approved by the National Assembly.
The leaders, however, expressed worry over the continuous external debt of the country which has risen to over $80 billion in just a few years.
This was contained in a communiqué signed by Chief E. K. Clark (PANDEF), Chief Ayo Adebanjo (Afenifere), Chief Nnia Nwodo (Ohanaeze), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd), Dr. Pogu Bitrus (Middlebelt Forum) and Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
The communiqué reads: “the meeting deliberated exhaustively on various prominent national issues. At the end of the meeting, the meeting “expressed concern over the recent Coronavirus pandemic and urges the Federal Government to redouble on the on-going efforts to protect lives of Nigerians over this plaque which has befallen the world.
“Expressed grave concern over the deteriorating state of the nation in particular as it pertains to the continued assault on peace and security leading to the continuous deaths of countless lives of Nigerians every day.
“In this respect, reminds the Federal Government, that its primary responsibility under the laws of the country is to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. It, therefore, expects that full attention will be given to this matter.
“Rejects in total the continuous external debt of the country which has risen to over $80 billion in just a few years and, therefore, asks the Federal Government to rescind its ongoing effort to borrow more money to the tune of over $27 billion as approved by the National Assembly. It asserts that if not for bad governance, Nigeria would have no business engaging in these reckless to fund overhead and theft.
“Even then, the meeting rejects the lopsided allocation of the proceeds of the huge latest external borrowing plan where the South East of the country is excluded.
“The Leaders reject the continued lopsided appointments within the Federal Government where only certain sections of the country are given priority over others as against the extant constitutional provisions.”