Please Consider Forgiving Nigeria’s Debt – Buhari Begs World Leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, begged world leaders to consider forgiving Nigeria’s debt.

We tracked two other stories from the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, within the week in review.

1. Call for debt forgiveness

On September 21, President Buhari lamented that developing countries were having issues with servicing their external debt and, therefore, appealed to world leaders to cancel the debt of countries roped in this challenge, Nigeria inclusive.

Buhari made the call at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77), in New York, the United States of America.

“This equally calls for the need to address the burden of unsustainable external debts by a global commitment to the expansion and extension of the debt service suspension initiatives to countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges as well as outright cancellation for countries facing the most severe challenges,” he said.

With governance being a continuous process, Buhari may have tacitly admitted the debt crisis into which he has launched the country, a big burden the next administration must carry.

His call, therefore, serves as a warning to the dangers ahead, long after former President Olusegun Obasanjo had negotiated Nigeria out of the debt trap.

What must not be denied by the Buhari administration is that Nigeria’s financial woes cannot be divorced from the unproductive economic policies, and outright mismanagement of the economy under his over seven-year leadership.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), in the second quarter of the year, Nigeria’s debt rose to $103.3 billion, mostly due to local borrowing to finance budget deficit.

The unsustainable debts incurred by Buhari cannot but be regarded as a sad legacy, if truth must be told. Indeed, the possibility of him repeating the feat achieved by the then Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2005, which saw Nigeria’s external debt cancelled, is slim. This is the ugly reality he, and Nigerians must embrace.

Two other talking points

2. Presidential commendation for NDLEA

The Presidency, on September 20, praised the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for its seizure of a large consignment of cocaine worth $278,250 (N194,775,000) after raiding a major warehouse in a secluded estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement, quoted him as saying “I deeply appreciate the work that you have put into the eradication of the drug menace.”

The Buba Marwa-led NDLEA deserves the commendation from Buhari. The seizure, nonetheless, shows that despite the tremendous efforts of the Agency, illicit drug business is still very much alive in the country.

The commendation should, therefore, serve as a strong motivation for the Marwa team, as they cannot afford to slow down in the fight against drug traffickers. This calls for Buhari to continue to provide the Agency with everything needed in this national assignment.

3. Dealing with corruption in Africa

On September 24, President Buhari challenged African leaders to rid their countries of corruption.

According to a statement issued by Adesina, he threw the challenge at a H
high-level side event in New York, the United States.

Buhari asserted: “Corruption has dwarfed our growth and tainted our nations and continent. Africa remains at the far end of the development index and concerted efforts made in the last few years need to be sustained, deepened by good governance and accountability that are guided by the rule of law.”

It is no-brainer that corruption has battered many African countries. The President’s statement only accentuates all the distasteful tales that have been told about corruption. It is rather sad that despite Buhari’s resolve to stamp out corruption from the Nigerian polity, it keeps getting worse.

While it is good to inspire other African countries to fight off corruption in their polity, it would be more pleasing to see the President put in more effort in the anti-corruption war in the country.

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