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Shehu Sanni Faults Senate Approval Of $22.7bn Loans To PMB

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Former Senator, Shehu Sani has faulted the approval by the Senate to President Muhammadu Buhari in securing foreign loans of 22.7 billion dollars for Nigeria, saying that the administration has finally mortgaged the future of the nation and further plunged it into debts that cannot be repaid in half a century.

He said considering the circumstances surrounding the approval of the loans, the country’s overall interest and its future were not taken into consideration by the National Assembly, rather the commissioned agents, who are the beneficiaries of the foreign loans, are at advantage.

Sani reacted to the approval of the lawmakers to the loans that the 8th Assembly rejected, insisting that “the approval will plunge Nigeria into a deeper pit of debt.

“It is going to mortgage the future of our children. It is unfortunate that Nigeria has exhibited the London and Paris club, and also drag itself into the Washington and Beijing club. And we are very likely to remain there for a very long time. The debt profile of Nigeria is unsustainable. Most of the reasons why we are going to borrow money are not really tenable.

“We cannot repay this debt so easily, and what I know very well is that if this debt was approved under Jonathan, President Buhari and APC could have been in the forefront of protesting against it”.

“It is unfortunate that the very people who have raised issues on our national debt when they were in opposition or in Labour, today they have found themselves to be leaders in terms of promoting and also piling up debts for Nigeria. If we are not careful the whole country will be under the control and mortgage web of those foreign creditors’ institutions”.

Sani also remarked that “foreign debt is slavery, and we have simply worked ourselves into it under Buhari,” stressing, “as far as I am concerned, we supposed not to have reached this very level of poverty in the country if the past debt profile was well managed”.

“Debt should only be for critical infrastructure that would promote development and drive growth in our country. But, how can Buhari’s government that says it is netting over one billion naira every day through the closure of borders, and how can the government that says it has saved money as a result of subsidies and other critical measures, now go to borrow billions of dollars?”

“And, if you look at the revenue profile of Nigeria today, from what accrues to the country we will continue to service this debt for over half a century. And I don’t think that will go well for the nation”.

Adducing further reasons why Buhari’s government should not plunged the country into further debt, Senator Sani remarked, “there are critical infrastructure that simply needs a private-public partnership where the private sector will invest money, at the same time the profit would be shared by the public and the private sectors”.

“We don’t need to borrow money to build airport, we don’t need to borrow money to build infrastructure that will generate money, when if there are private interest that are ready to lend their money and to invest. So, I think the administration of the National Assembly have gotten themselves on the wrong side of history by getting us into debt. And this will continue to be an issue for the next 50 years.”

He also said that the 8th National Assembly refused to grant approval to Buhari request for foreign loans in order to protect the country’s critical interest, noting that “what matters to us then is the interest of the country and not the government, and serving the interest of somebody or becoming subservient to the executive”.

Sani further stressed: “We were concerned about our place in history and not piling up debts that the future generation will not be able to repay. So our signatures and approvals was very pressure to us and that was why we exercise restraint in terms of approving foreign loans.

“What you need to understand is that commissioned agents who facilitate this loan are only interested in their own commission. And loans are not charity, they must be repaid and with interest. So, those banks and those institutions and countries that are lending Nigeria money are simply investing for their own children, grandchildren and countries”.

“And as it is now, we are most likely to get into a quagmire of debts. During our time we rejected approval in order to save the country and save our children from being re-colonised by foreign creditors, so we were concerned of the future of our nation”, he added.

On the 350 million dollars acquired by Governor Nasir El-Rufai under the 9th National Assembly, remarked: “I wish the Kaduna Government and people luck, but during our time we rejected the loan for two reasons, first, the state is highly indebted to the tune of over 240 million dollars and we believe that if we add 250 million dollars that will strangulate the economy of the State and will also mortgage the future of the State”.

“And we rejected it also for the fact that there were also no defined reasons on how that money would be expended transparently. If the present National Assembly has seen it from a different perspective than the way we say it, we have no problem with that. But, I believe that history will be able to judge between the decision we took at that time and the one they have taken know”.

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Rivers: Tensions Grow As Wike, Fubara’s Supporters Clash, Baby Hurt

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A baby was reportedly tear-gassed and became unconscious on Wednesday as supporters of the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, clashed with the loyalists of ex-governor Nyesom Wike in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that the clash happened during a government medical outreach in the Eliozu community, Obio/Akpor LGA.

Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that trouble started when officials of the state Ministry of Health were carrying out a medical outreach for women at the Eliozu Health Centre.

It was gathered that no sooner had the programme started than some supporters allegedly loyal to the factional Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule, arrived at the venue to find out the reason for the gathering.

The venue is said to be near the residence of Amaewhule, who is the leader of the 27 lawmakers loyal to Wike.

But supporters of the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Obio/Akpor LGA, Chijioke Ihunwo, loyal to Fubara, who were at the venue allegedly stopped them from accessing the venue, leading to a heated argument and subsequent clash.

Following the fisticuffs, stones were pelted from several directions, as the medical outreach was disrupted abruptly.

A few minutes later, a team of anti-riot policemen arrived at the scene, firing teargas to disperse the opposing groups and quell the situation from getting out of hand.

It was gathered that a child was tear-gassed during the mayhem and became unconscious.

The situation led to the relocation of the medical outreach to a state-owned medical facility at the Waterlines axis of Port Harcourt where the programme was launched.

Reacting to the incident, the Obio/Akpor CTC Chairman, Chijioke Ihunwo, accused Amaewhule, of leading policemen to disrupt the outreach.

Ihunwo stated, “This morning there was an incident at the Eliozu Health Centre where the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, led some security men to disrupt a programme by the Ministry of Health.

“A few minutes later, some policemen came and started beating up our women, shooting tear gas at pregnant women who were at the Health Centre.

“We want to say that Obio/Akpor Local Government Area will not be under siege. We want to call on the President, Bola Tinubu that the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of the FCT are tarnishing the image of your government.

“We are calling on you to rein them in so that Rivers State can have peace. Let the FCT Minister concentrate on his job in Abuja and leave our dear governor alone.”

When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident.

Iringe-Koko, in a short message to our correspondent, said the police responded to a distress call over the scenario, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

She stated, “A distress call was received from the health centre in the Eliozu community today, 24th July 2024, where supporters of two separate political factions were engaged in a fight.

“The police responded by sending operatives to the scene to restore law and order.

“The police deployed anti-riot tactics, including the use of canisters, to disperse the crowds. An investigation into the matter has been initiated.”

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Protest: Nnamdi Kanu, Diaspora Voting Make List As Organizers Unveil 15 Demands

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Organizers of the planned nationwide protest, scheduled for August 1 to August 10, have unveiled their key demands from President Bola Tinubu’s government.

The nation’s economic situation has propelled citizens, particularly the youths, to plan a mass protest nationwide.

Despite efforts by the government to quell the move, the youths are insisting on embarking on the protest in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

Former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore, who is one of the organizers of the movement, forwarded the demands to our correspondent on Wednesday.

The looming protest titled, “Days of Rage”, “EndBadGovernance” is aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the economic situation of the country.

Among other things, the intending protesters want the FG to return the fuel subsidy, address issues in the power sector, release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, and allow for diaspora voting during general elections

According to Sowore, Nigerians are asking the FG to “Scrap the 1999 constitution and replace it with a people-made Constitution for the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a sovereign National Conference followed by a National Referendum.

“Toss the Senate arm of the Nigerian legislative system. Keep the House of Representatives and make lawmaking a part-time endeavour.

“Pay Nigerian workers a minimum wage of nothing less than N250,000 monthly.

“Invest heavily in education and give Nigerian students grants not loans. Aggressively pursue free and compulsory education for children across Nigeria.

“Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally and demilitarize the South East. All ENDSARS and political detainees must also be released and compensated.

“Rationalize public owned enterprises sold to government officials and cronies.

“Reinstate a corruption-free subsidy regime to reduce hunger, starvation and multidimensional poverty.

“Probe past and present Nigerian leaders, who have looted the treasury, recover their loot and deposit it in a special account to fund education, healthcare and infrastructure.

They are also demanding the “Restructuring of Nigeria to accommodate Nigeria’s diversity, resources control, decentralization and regional development.

“End banditry, terrorism and violent crimes. Reform security agencies to stop continuous human rights violations.

“Establishment of a special energy immediately to drive massive corruption-free power sector development.

“Immediate reconstitution of the electoral body, INEC to remove corrupt individuals and partisan hacks appointed to manipulate elections.

“Massive investment in public works and industrialization will help employ Nigeria’s teaming youths.

“Massive shake-ups in the Nigerian judiciary to remove cabals of corrupt generations of judges and judicial officers that continue denying citizens access to real justice.

“Diaspora voting”.

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday appealed to Nigerians to shelve the planned protest, urging youths to keep faith and believe in the ability of his administration to transform Nigeria.

 

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Stop Demarketing Dangote Refinery, Indigenous Companies – MAN Cautions FG

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has cautioned the Federal Government from demarketing local industries.

The Association also called for caution from major actors, government agencies, and regulators in the oil and gas sector of the economy regarding the Federal Government-Dangote Refinery saga.

MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said government agencies that provide regulatory oversight functions should promote an enabling business environment for local investments to thrive.

He said no regulatory agency should cast a shadow over a homegrown investment like the Dangote Refinery.

According to him, the allegations of poor quality, and monopolistic tendencies levelled against Dangote Refinery by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) were unsubstantiated.

Ajayi-Kadir stressed that local investors in Nigeria, particularly the Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) play a vital role in driving economic growth, paying taxes, creating jobs and fostering development within the country. As such, these investors must be protected and given the necessary support to thrive in this business environment.

He said a business colossus like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, with investments in diverse sectors of the economy and across the Continent of Africa, should be accorded all needed support to grow and invest in more sectors and positively impact the well-being of the people.

 

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