A human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has advised the Federal Government to shelve its plan to obtain $2bn loan from China.
He said instead of “plunging the nation into more indebtedness” the Federal Government should intensify efforts to recover some funds totalling about $200bn which were either not remitted to the Federation Account or stolen from the nation’s treasury.
Falana gave this advice in a letter dated April 8, 2016, addressed to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, threatening to sue the Federal Government if his request was not taken seriously.
He said, “In the light of the foregoing, we are compelled to call on the Federal Government to muster the political will and courage to recover the aforesaid withheld or stolen wealth of not less than $200bn belonging to the Nigerian people.
“However, if you refuse to accede to our request we shall have no alternative than to initiate legal proceedings at the Federal High Court with a view to restraining the Federal Government from further plunging the nation into external indebtedness.”
Earlier in a letter dated February 12, 2016 addressed to the minister, Falana had urged the Federal Government to jettison its plan to take a loan of $2.5bn from the World Bank and $1bn from the African Development Bank.
Falana had then urged the Federal Government to explore alternative sources of raising revenue to fund the 2016 budget “instead of increasing the nation’s external debt of $64bn.”
He said in his fresh letter to Adeosun on Friday that the minister had assured him that the issues raised in his letter were receiving the attention of the Federal Government.
His fresh letter titled, ‘Request for the collection of outstanding revenue of $200bn withheld from the Federation Account or stolen by looters.’
“In particular, we requested the Federal Government to embark on the recovery of the revenue of $42bn withheld from the Federation Account from 1999 to 2012 by some transnational oil companies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other agencies of the Federal Government.
“In your reply dated March 17, 2016 you assured us that the issues raised in our letter were receiving the attention of the Federal Government.
“We were therefore surprised to learn that the Administration had applied to the Chinese Government for another loan of $2bn.
“In urging the Federal Government to desist from taking the loan of $2bn from China or any other country we are compelled to advise the Federal Government to intensify efforts to recover the nation’s wealth which has been criminally diverted by a handful of local and foreign looters.”