The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the new government of President Bola Tinubu for its “lust for foreign debts” that has put the country on the brink of insolvency.
HURIWA has also described the rapid devaluation of the National currency-the Naira notes as a collective affront on the pride of Nigerians just as it advocated the immediate setting up of a CIVILIAN JOINT TASK FORCE also known as CIVILIAN -JTF made up of social activists, Labour Union leaders, patriotic Nigerians who love the Naira and Nigeria to rally round the Naira note and wage law based strategic advocacy campaign to pressure the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to restore the dignity and value of the Naira notes and save local industries from imminent collapse.
The Rights group condemned the rush with which the CBN is destroying the value of the Naira notes just to enrich cronies of politicians who had stashed millions of dollars in their houses during the immediate past campaign season just to recoup from what they spent to help the All Progressives Congress’s central government win the contentious 2023 General election.
In a statement issued on Monday, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko accused the President Tinubu’s administration of copying his predecessor, who “kept borrowing external loans that they shared and looted away by their officials”.
The rights group said Tinubu has intensified borrowing to spend on frivolities like allowances and salaries for his elaborate and bulky cabinet of over 47 ministers and over 100 advisers already appointed and for purchasing of the legislators at the National Assembly through the gifting of expensive jeep to each of the 496 members at a whooping cost of N160 million per day.
HURIWA has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to introduced STRUCTURAL POLITICAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMME INSIDE HIS GOVERNMENT SO AS TO FUNDAMENTALLY TRIM DOWN THE NUMBER OF APPOINTEES AND RUN A VERY LEAN AND ECONOMICALLY SMART ADMINISTRATION. The group said the EFCC and the DSS must ensure that top government officials doing round tripping with dollars and creating artificial demise of the value of the Naira notes are arrested and prosecuted as economic saboteurs.
HURIWA also questioned why President Tinubu is not catching thieves of the crude oil resources who are already identified by several stakeholders as belonging to the Navy and the armed forces majorly.
“Why is Nigeria losing so much through crude oil thieves? What is the government doing with revenues from the FIRS, Customs, Immigration and solid minerals? Why is this insanity about foreign borrowing with no end in sight and therefore making Nigeria insolvent?” the statement read. It is good enough that egg heads are now heading these strategic beats so Nigerians expect transparency and accountability.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria also criticised the new CBN governor for being “so incompetent” that he has started demolishing local industries by allowing forex for importation of goods that can be locally manufactured and therefore the value of naira is cascading rapidly and the naira is becoming like the Zimbabwean money that you may soon need to convey naira notes on wheelbarrows to buy ordinary loafs of bread.
“Why is Tinubu destroying the Nigerian economy by not running a lean government but wants to appoint hundreds of persons of his party into money guzzling federal government appointments since coming to office in May?” the statement added.
HURIWA cited a report by a media report recently that Nigeria’s total public debt may hit N118.37tn in the next three years, based on the debt projections in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper 2024-2026.
The report said that the Federal Government plans to take N26.42tn loans between 2024 and 2026, and that debt servicing will gulp N29.92tn in three years.
The country had borrowed about N5.05tn between January and June from its N9.62tn borrowing plan for 2023, which means that the Federal Government will likely still borrow at least N4.57tn more this year.
The report added that Nigeria’s total public debt hit N87.38tn at the end of the second quarter, representing an increase of 75.29 per cent or N37.53tn compared to N49.85tn recorded at the end of March 2023.
The increase was primarily due to the N22.7tn Ways and Means Advances of the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government and the naira devaluation that added about N13.38tn to the external debt figure.
“With an N87.38tn debt as of June 2023, the likelihood of N4.57tn new debt before the end of this year, and a plan to borrow N26.42tn in three years, Nigeria’s total public debt is expected to hit and even exceed (due to subnational borrowing) N118.37tn by the end of 2026,” the report said.
HURIWA warned that Tinubu’s government is leading Nigeria into a “debt trap” that will have devastating consequences for generations to come.
The rights group urged Nigerians to rise up peacefully and constructively and demand accountability and transparency from their leaders, and to resist any attempt to mortgage their future for selfish interests.
HURIWA also called on the international community and creditors to stop lending money to Nigeria without ensuring proper checks and balances on how the funds are utilised.
The group said that such loans are only enriching a few corrupt politicians and their cronies, while impoverishing millions of Nigerians who are already suffering from poverty, insecurity, unemployment, inflation, and poor infrastructure, and sudden economic shock of withdrawal of the subsidy that reduces the market asking prices of Petroleum products including fuel and the poor people’s KEROSENE.
HURIWA said that it will continue to monitor and expose the “economic sabotage” of Tinubu’s government, and to mobilise Nigerians to defend their human rights and dignity.