Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has advised the Federal Government to put on hold its plan to obtain $2bn loan from China.
Falana opined that instead of “plunging the nation into more indebtedness” the Federal Government should double up its efforts to recover some funds amounting to about $200bn which were either not remitted to the Federation Account or stolen from the nation’s treasury. He gave these charges in a letter dated April 8, 2016, addressed to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.
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.”
In the letter entitled, ‘Request for the collection of outstanding revenue of $200bn withheld from the Federation Account or stolen by looters’, Falana threatened to sue the Federal Government if his request was taken for granted.
“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.
He the added:
“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.”