The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on the National Assembly to examine the request by President Goodluck Jonathan for its approval to borrow $1 billion to further equip the security forces in the fight against terrorism in the country, saying the administration has no business borrowing money if it had dealt with the issue of corruption.
The national publicity secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, said on Sunday that if the government had been able to account for the missing $20 billion in oil funds or plugged the official stealing of 300,000 barrels of oil per day, it would not need to borrow money for any reason.
Mohammed stated that with the on-going clampdown on the opposition, for which billions of naira used to induce support of the President’s agenda, approving the $1 billion loan may amount to giving more ammunition to the administration to further stifle the nation’s democracy or even threaten the very existence of the country.
“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…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,” the APC said.
The party also asked the National Assembly to summon the security and military chiefs to explain how the huge funds allocated to security sector in the past had been spent before deciding to approve more funds to the sector.
“If after all the scrutiny, the National Assembly still feels it must approve the loan, so be it, but it must know that its own integrity and credibility are on the line,” it said.
The party also reminded Nigerians that the Nigerian 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 wondered why the Jonathan administration, which criticised the governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, when he alerted Nigerians to the need to adequately equip and motivate men of the security forces, has now turned around to admit that the military needs modern hardware to fight the insurgency.
“This year alone, 20 per cent of the total national budget of 4.962 trillion Naira, which is about 968.127 billion naira, was allocated to Defence. How much of that money has been released so far and how has the funds been spent? What about the equally huge allocations in the previous years?” the party questioned.