Rights lawyer sues FG, Finance Minister, Senate President over $800m loan

A rights lawyer, Mr. Abdulganeey Imran has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to stop the Federal Government from seeking additional loan of $800million or any other sum at all, to finance the National Social Safety Network Programme, NASSP, which is purportedly meant to be shared and transferred at the rate of N5, 000 per month to 10.2 million Poor and low-income households.

In the alternative, the Applicant is praying the court to restrain the President from sharing, distributing, tampering with or dealing with any such loan of $800million, granted to the respondents in any manner whatsoever.

READ ALSO:Ecobank’s debt recovery suit against Otudeko adjourned till June 

President Muhammadu Buhari had sought approval of the House of Representatives for a fresh $800 million loan to finance the NSSNP.

The request was contained in a letter read by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, to lawmakers at the resumption of plenary. Recall that the President made similar request to the Senate, last week, a development that generated outcry.

But, the Applicant in suit number FHC/L/C5/908/23 brought pursuant to Order 3 Rule 9 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009, and Section 59, 80, 81, 135 of the Constitution, urged the court to restrain the 1st Respondent (President) from seeking additional loan of $800million or any other sum at all, to finance the National Social Safety Network Program, which is purportedly meant to be shared and transferred at the rate of N5,000 per month to 10.2 million Poor and low-income households.

Respondents in the suit are, the Attorney General of Federation, Minister of Justice, and Senate President.

The applicant also urged the court to direct the Respondents to remit the said sum of $800million back to the federation account of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and for such further or other order as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.

The applicant premised his request on the grounds that the tenure of the present administration of the President Muhammad Buhari seeking to obtain ‘this whopping sum of money’ comes to an end on May 29, 2023, which simply means that he has less than nine working days to the end of its administration and is therefore absolutely impossible for any serious minded administration, especially the 3rd respondent (Senate President) to commence the process of obtaining such loan, scrutinize the term and conditions, get it approved, sent it back to the President, who shall in turn present it to the borrower all within ten days.

 

READ ALSO:Nigeria: Facebook faces N7m lawsuit over investment scam advert

The applicant stated that there was no state of emergency or circumstance of extreme urgency that necessitates and justify the hurriedness in processing and obtaining the $800million, and there is nothing in the letter of request sent by the President to the Senate President that suggest any urgency in the purpose for which the purported loan is being sought.

He further stated that going by precedent, it takes the Minister of Finance, several weeks of painstaking scrutiny, debates, assessments and deliberations on any request that involves request for loans of any magnitude from the executive before such request is determined one way or the other.

He further stated that the Federal Government lacks statutory power to borrow the sum of $800million to finance and or subsidize consumption.

He maintained that there is no available statistic/data to determine and or identify the poor and low-income earners in Nigeria as the similar exercise in the past generated serious controversy, submitting that majority of Nigerians believe that the funds were diverted by the officials for personal gains rather than using same for the purpose for which it was meant.

 

READ ALSO:Case against Tinubu: I have 100 witnesses, Atiku tells Tribunal

The applicants alleged that that some certain loans obtained by the 1st Respondent in the past, were not used for the purpose for which they were processed and obtained, asserting that substantial part of the Sukuk loan, successfully processed and obtained by the 1st Respondent to re-construct Lagos — Abeokuta Expressway were diverted, and constructions work completely stopped.

‘’It is not economically viable for the respondents to continue to obtain and accumulate loans that was purely meant for consumption rather than for capital project when a whopping sum of N6.31 trillion was budgeted for debt services in the 2023 appropriation Bill alone.

‘’The main purpose of requesting for additional loan as stated by the 1st Respondent in his letter to the Senate President was not captured in the 2023 Appropriation Bill as passed by the National Assembly.

The suit has been assigned to Justice Peter Lifu, but no date has been fixed for hearing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: