The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the February 23, 2019 election, Atiku Abukakar, on Wednesday said the increase in Nigeria’s debt profile was becoming alarming under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said the situation was more than a source of worry, adding that it had reached the stage where all genuine lovers of Nigeria ought to raise the alarm.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Paul Ibe, titled, ‘Sounding the alarm before Nigeria collapses under unsustainable debt,’ Atiku stated that on May 29, 2015, the nation’s debt profile was at a “very healthy N12tn.”
He, however, said after four years of alleged profligate spending and irresponsible borrowing, Nigeria’s debt doubled to N24.3tn by December 2018.
The former Vice-President said, “As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the Buhari administration added an additional and unprecedented N560bn debt to our national debt profile.
“What could this junta have needed that amount for? If you take those dates into account, they fell on the period of electioneering, when monies were freely distributed by officials of this government in the name of Tradermoni and other election gimmicks that were discontinued after the election.
“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowing in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrow, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters of extreme poverty and the global capital of out-of-school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.”
Atiku said that as someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he had the moral authority to call those who were turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.
He stated that Nigeria could not continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries.
According to him, over 50 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue is going towards debt servicing and not even debt repayments.