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$22.7b loan request: Opposition party sues Buhari, AGF, others

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A group of opposition parties – the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP), has sued the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari and others over move by the government to borrow $22.7billion.

CUPP, in a suit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja through one of its members, Action People’s Party (APP), is praying the court to among others; restrain the Federal Government from further engaging in any form of borrowing.

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In the suit filed on Monday by APP’s lawyer, Chibuzor Ezike, the party particularly wants the court to set aside or nullify any approval for external loan granted the Federal Government by the National Assembly.

Other defendants in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/2020 include that Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Minister of Finance and the National Assembly.

Part of the reliefs are: A declaration that it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the National Assembly to offer to undertake any guarantee for the requested external loan made by the President when the terms and conditions of the said loan has not been duly laid before, considered and approved by the NASS as mandatorily stipulated by the law.

The party is equally praying the court to declare as unconstitutional, unlawful and ultra vires the executive powers of the President to borro external loan and participate in the negotiation and acquisition of any external loan without proper legislative framework by the NASS.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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In a statement on Monday, CUPP’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere said his group has also written to all the lenders to halt the loan request in view of the pending legal action.

He said “The loan request is riddled with project lopsidedness, lack of financial prudence, secrecy, plan to use loan for frivolous projects, over costing of projects, corruption, misapplication and incompetence.

“The Senate leadership has clearly and unambiguously shown it is not on the side of the people and it is not representing the Nigerian people but their selfish interest.

“There unpatriotic stand on national issues and lack of vision has become all the more apparent and have turned the Senate into a chamber filled by Political Allelluya boys.

“Fellow Nigerians, the exchange rate of the Dollars due to certain vagaries including gross mismanagement of our economy is now chasing N400 to a Dollar.

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“This means that at this rate, the $22.7b foreign loan will be the equivalent N9, 080,000,000,000 (nine trillion and eighty billion naira only)

“This is more than the entire 2019 budget and just a little less than the entire 2020 budget.

“How can a government borrow its entire budget yet citizens are in doubt as to the contents of the loan package,” he said.

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