PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has launched a fierce counterattack against HSBC bank following the bank’s prediction that the Nigerian economy would shrink further if the president wins a second term in office.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement Saturday night, said a bank that is renowned for corruption “has no moral right whatsoever to project that a ‘second term for Mr. Buhari raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration’”.
A UK-based magazine, The Economist, and the HSBC, had predicted, in an article published in July, but cited recently by various Nigerian media organisations, that Buhari will lose the 2019 presidential election to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that should Buhari be re-elected, Nigeria’s economic development will be stunted.
In his statement, Shehu pointed out that the HSBC bank has refused to release to Nigeria the billions of dollars stashed there by former military Head of State, Sani Abacha, and had continued, “until a few months ago, to shield the stolen funds of one of the leaders of the Nigerian Senate”.
“The Presidency wishes to make clear to all Nigerians, and particularly the global banking giant HSBC which said the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari would stunt the economy, that what killed Nigeria’s economy in the past was the unbridled looting of state resources by leaders, the type which was actively supported by HSBC,” Shehu stated.
“From the facts available to our investigation agencies, HSBC’s put down on President Buhari is no more than an expression of frustration over the administration’s measures put in place which has abolished grand corruption, the type which this bank thrives on in many countries.
“They may also just be out to discredit the President out of the fear of sanctions and fines following the national assets that are stolen.
“For many of them, including their friends in the media, they would rather have President Buhari out of their way, for business as usual to return.”
The statement further added that “HSBC had laundered more than USD 100,000,000 for the late General Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London and Geneva”, as well as “the laundering of proceeds of corruption involving more than 50 other Nigerians, including a serving Senator”.
“A bank that soiled its hand with ‘‘millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered….has no moral right whatsoever to project that a second term for Mr. Buhari raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration. Rather, we ask them to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do,” the statement wrote.