HURIWA asks Tinubu to probe controversial N23.72tr CBN overdrafts
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Thursday, urged the incoming administration of the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu to conduct forensic audit of controversial N23.72 trillion Federal Government’s unappropriated expenditure funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its ways and means (W&M) window.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the incoming President must show that the outgoing regime of President Muhammadu Buhari accounts for the mounting debts incurred during his eight-year rule.
The group said to restore sanity and citizens’ trust, Nigeria must send strong signals to corrupt government officials and begin to deal with lawless ex-Presidents like Peru dealt with its former president, Alejandro Toledo, who was jailed last month on money laundering and corruption charges during his tenure.
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The Senate, on Wednesday, abandoned its previous hard line stance and approved the conversion to a 40-year bond of the CBN overdrafts. Now, the country has four decades to repay the bond with liquidation of facilities to be spread to 2063 and CBN’s budget support growing by 2,900% in eight years under Buhari.
Of late, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said several loans have been contracted from multilaterals like the World Bank, the African Development Bank and bilateral like Germany, India, China while the Federal Government keeps issuing promissory notes to settle obligations for which it doesn’t really have the revenue.
According to the DMO, Nigeria’s debt stock is N46.25trn including the debt of the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, noting that the Federal Government is responsible for 84% to 85% of this debt.
The DMO also said while the 2023 budget size is N21trn, borrowing is N10trn.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has succeeded in leaving a bad legacy of debt for Nigeria’s generation unborn. The next government should conduct a forensic investigation of how these so-called debts were incurred and their uses and list out individuals indicted.
“Those culpable for mismanagement of state funds should be put on trial even if they become ex-Presidents or former ministers. Nigeria must begin to deal with corruption and lawless ex-President as seen in the case of Peru so that we can restore sanity.