Nigeria may collapse over N25.6tr debt, Atiku warns

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…Says over 50% of the nation’s revenue going towards debt servicing

Tunde Opalana, Abuja

Concerned by the country’s increasing debt profile, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has raised the alarm that Nigeria as a nation may crumble under the burden of unsustainable borrowing.

Putting together Nigeria’s current total debt profile at frightening N25.6 trillion, he said the Buhari administration after inception on May 29, 2015, has doubled the nation’s borrowing.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement on Wednesday by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said Nigeria’s debt profile was at a very healthy ₦12 trillion before the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in May 2015.

Atiku lamented that the Buhari government has plundered the country into a serious economic crisis which has severe socio- economic effects on the citizenry.

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 Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile”.

Wondering what this government could have needed that amount for, he said that “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”.

Warning that the country cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries, he said, already, over 50% of Nigeria’s 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,” he said.