The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
Presidency: Wait Till 2031, PANDEF Tells Northerners
Pan Niger Delta Forum PANDEF has called on Northerners to wait until 2031 before thinking of producing another President for the country.
Recall that several Northern groups and prominent leaders, especially from the North Central zone of the country have been clamouring to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
PANDEF, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson, said the call was in the interest of national harmony and peace.
The statement reads in part: “The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) is advising and cautioning politicians from the North, seeking to run for the presidency, to wait till 2031, for the sake of national harmony and peace.
“Everyone has the right to take part in the governance of his/her country; to vote and be voted for. But, it’s equally fundamental to uphold the indispensable principles of fairness, equity, and justice. Noting that without these, there can be no overall peace and progress.
“PANDEF avers that it should be, therefore, unthinkable that the North should contemplate clutching onto the presidential seat, in 2023, at the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two tenures of eight years. Nature abhors injustice; the sun does not rise in the east and set in the east.
“We consider declarations, by some individuals and groups, now, suddenly opposing the extant practice of rotational zoning of political offices, particularly that of the Presidency, as unpatriotic and self-serving”.
Sun Awards: We’re Building For Present, Future Generations, Wike Insists …As Kalu, Dare Eulogise Gov
The Sun Man of the Year 2020 and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has reiterated the reason driving the infrastructural development stride of his administration, saying that at the core of the effort was the desire to ensure that he bequeaths a legacy to the present and future generations.
This is as the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, commended Wike for the infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State, just as they said that governor’s statesmanship and apolitical posture were legendary.
The 2020 Sun Newspapers Award ceremony held at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, at the weekend.
Wike, who was represented the Deputy Governor of the state, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, thanked The Sun Newspapers for the honour done to him.
Receiving the award on his behalf, Banigo said the Wike administration had continued to vigorously pursue the new Rivers State vision, touching on every aspect of the state for the present and future generations.
Banigo dedicated the award to God and the people of the state.
She said that since 2015, Wike has used the NEW Rivers Vision to transform the state.
The deputy governor was accompanied by the Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Edison Ehie, and some members of the State Executive Council and some LG council chairmen.
In her opening remarks, daughter of the Publisher of The Sun Newspapers, Neya Orji Kalu, urged the Sun Awards winners to remain consistent in their individual endeavours.
Neya, who represented her father, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, commended the awardees for being singled out among millions of Nigerians for the award, saying it was a great feat.
Noting that they deserved the award, she reminded them that “to whom much is given, much is expected”, and urged them to work together and live in peace for the progress of the country.
She regretted that the award could not hold last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic that ravaged the world and brought economic hardship to many countries of the world, including Nigeria.
Neya paid tribute to all the frontline workers in the fight to contain Coronavirus, even as she called on all to remember those that were lost to the pandemic as well as those that were lost to the senseless killings in Nigeria.
Presenting the award to the governor, the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu commended Governor Nyesom Wike for the infrastructural revolution taking place in Rivers State.
“I have taken official and unguided tours of projects up to Opobo Town. It is quite amazing that Governor Wike is doing so much.
“I am a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the truth must be told that Governor Wike is doing well,” he said.
The senator also commended Wike for his courage to speak the truth to power in the country.
Kalu described Wike as “his good friend who has not allowed political differences to separate them.”
He added that Wike’s choice as The Sun Man of the Year was well-deserved.
Also speaking, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, commended the Rivers State governor for his statesmanship and apolitical posture.
Dare recalled that Wike invited him, an APC member, to commission the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt.
The minister stated that such posture was very good for the political development of the nation.
He described the Real Madrid Football Academy as a model for education and youth development in Africa.
Speaking in similar tone, Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu, who got the Sports Personality of the Year award, dedicated it to Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was physically present to support and felicitate with him, saying he created an enabling environment for him to thrive and excel.
“I’m very grateful to Governor Godwin Obaseki for the opportunity he gave me to serve and if he didn’t entrust the sports sector to me, this would not have happened. He gave me the wings to fly, and I am very grateful to him for it. This is a reason for me to work harder and I do not take it for granted. For us in Edo, we do not complain, we only proffer solutions and that is why things are working well the way they are,” Shuaibu said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, while receiving the Exceptional Philanthropist of the Year award, urged the Federal Government to grant amnesty to the Yoruba separatist leader, Sunday Igboho; and leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
He said he believes in the unity of Nigeria and also believes that with dialogue, the issues that have given rise to insecurity in the country can be resolved.
Onyema said if amnesty could work in the case of Niger Delta militants, it could also be used for the separatist leaders.
The First Lady of Ondo State, Betty Akeredolu, who was given the Most Supportive First Lady award for her advocacy against breast cancer and the many projects she has embarked on to help women in the state, expressed her gratitude to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for his support, and thanked The Sun for the award.
“Thank you for finding me worthy of this award among all the first ladies. What we do is a lot of work to make sure that we make this world a better place than we found it. This work is not just me alone; I have a team that spurred me on.
“For those that follow me in doing what I have done, I want to say thank you and to also appreciate my husband because without him giving me space, I don’t think I would be here. We have made sure that vulnerable women are taken care of in Ondo State even during Covid-19 and today we have an organisation that supports widows and anyone who wants to help us can go to the website and contribute,” she said.
In his response, The Sun Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, Nnamdi Ezeigbo, expressed gratitude to The Sun management for the recognition.
He said: “I feel so honoured. I thank The Sun leadership.”
He called on the government to pay attention to entrepreneurship, saying, “It is high time government paid attention to entrepreneurship because it is the bedrock of any society. Let us build a Commonwealth for our people.
Also, winner of the Investor of the Year award, Dr. Chris Igwe, said he was grateful and highly honoured to receive the award, and thanked The Sun management for the honour.
He said the award is evidence that nothing on earth can stop a man with the right mental attitude from reaching his height in life.
“I dedicate this award to the staff and management of Mainland Oil. I thank everyone that attended this event,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, The Sun Hospitality Icon of the Year, Chief Obi Iyiegbu, popularly called Obi Cubana, expressed gratitude to God for placing him where he stands today.
He dedicated the award to his late parents and his wife who has stood by him all through, his associates and well-wishers as well as his teeming fans.
“You can see the result of our hard work. This is just the beginning; we are going to do more,” he said.
Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, who was the recipient of Political Icon of the Year, thanked The Sun for ensuring through its reportage that there is political stability in the country.
He dedicated the award to President Muhammadu Buhari.
CAFCL Qualifier: Rivers United, Al-Hilal Draw In PH
Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt yesterday at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium played out a 1-1 draw against Al Hilal FC of Sudan in the first leg of the second round of the CAF Champions League in Port Harcourt.
The match, which was thrown open for fans, saw a lot of dignitaries who came to cheer the pride of Rivers.
It would be recalled that Rivers United defeated Young Africans of Tanzania 2-0 on aggregate to qualifier for the second round of the competition.
Speaking with Tidesports just after the game, the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Barrister Aribitoye Okiri expressed disappointment over the players’ lackluster performance.
Top government officials in the state, including the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalipo Harry Banigo, LG council chairmen and commissioners, are amongst other sports men within and outside the state that graced the event
According to Okiri, the state government has done its part by giving the team all the necessary support needed, adding that Rivers United need to play more aggressive football.
He further explained that the pride of Rivers can do better in the second leg of the game going by the massive support by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
“Some time you cannot count on the first result but the final result.
“I am optimistic that Rivers United will do better in the second leg with the current form of the team,” Okiri stated.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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