Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has raised the alarm over the nation’s increasing debt profile, stating that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was “turning Nigerians into beggars.”
The former vice president said the nation’s N25.6trn debt was becoming more than a source of concern, especially as over 50% of the nation’s revenue was going towards debt servicing and not debt repayments.
This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by his media aide, Paul Ibe.
Atiku recalled that the nation’s debt profile as of May 29, 2015 when President Buhari took over was ₦12 trillion.
He said: “However, after four years of profligate spending, and even more irresponsible borrowing, our national debt doubled to ₦24.3 trillion by December 2018.
“As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile.
“What could this junta have needed that amount for? If you take those dates into account, they fall 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 borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out of school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.
“As someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.
“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments.
“We raise this alarm as responsible citizens and call on other lovers of Nigeria to speak up as we have no other nation to call our home, but Nigeria.”