Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A coalition of political parties acting through the Action People’s Party (APP) has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop the proposed borrowing of the sum of $22.7b.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2020 and dated March 16, has the Federal Government of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Finance and National Assembly as defendants.
It is praying the court to among other things, set aside or nullify any approval for external loan borrowing made by the National Assembly.
In addition, the suit which was filed by Chibuzor Ezike, counsel to the plaintiff, raised seven issued before the court for determination.
The party also sought for ten reliefs including, “a declaration that it is unlawful and in constituent 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 have not been duly laid before, considered and approved by the NASS as mandatorily stipulated by the law.
He also asked the court to declare as unconstitutional, unlawful and ultra vires the executive powers of the president to take external loans 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.
Also on Monday, a statement by the spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) said it had 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 the 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. Their unpatriotic stand on national issues and lack of vision have become all the more apparent and have turned the Senate into a chamber filled by political Alleluia 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. This means that at this rate, the $22.7b foreign loan will be equivalent to Nine Trillion and Eighty Billion Naira only (N9,080,000,000,000).
”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 added