Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Saturday, slammed the Presidency over comments that Chinese loans have helped to build infrastructure in Nigeria.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the South-East has been excluded from the so-called projects the Federal Government used humongous loans from China on.
The group flayed the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.), for splurging the irrational Chinese loans on irrational projects with no tangible economic returns including the Kano-Maradi railway construction to the Niger Republic and many other projects in the President’s hometown of Daura in Katsina State and other places in northern Nigeria.
Recall that presidential spokesman Femi Adesina on Friday told Ambassador Cui Jianchun and the new Deputy Chief of Mission/Ministerial Councilor, Zhang Yi that Chinese loans have been very beneficial to Nigeria’s infrastructural development.
In the last seven years, the All Progressives Congress government has embarked on a borrowing spree with Nigeria’s debt to China increasing from $3.26bn as of September 30, 2020, to $3.59bn as of September 30, 2021. The figure has moved incrementally in the last one year.
Reacting to comments made by Adesina, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The claim by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina that Chinese loans have contributed greatly to Nigeria’s infrastructure is substantially false. These Chinese loans must have been pocketed by top government officials because there is no evidence of any satisfactorily executed national strategic infrastructure by President Muhammadu Buhari in the last seven years.
“Take, for example, the South-East geopolitical zone whereby the Enugu-PH highway is a total shamble, the Onitsha to Owerri highway is also in a bad state. All major highways linking the South-East and South-South are in bad state.
“Whereas, the Buhari regime has lavished the Chinese loans on profitless investments in northern Nigeria and Buhari’s relations in the Niger Republic. In fact, insecurity in the President’s backyard in the North-West has overrun the Kaduna-Abuja train services. Terrorism has even forced the Nigerian Railway Corporation to cancel all train movements.
“Just like his lopsided appointments with northerners as heads of security agencies, Buhari’s nepotism spread like tentacles to the distribution of projects across the six zones in Nigeria with the South-East being the most marginalised.
“Nigerians have all major reasons to vote out Buhari’s APC in next year’s election. Inclusion must be a watchword in the next crop of leaders to be elected at the polls in 2023. No narrow-minded candidate with parochial and tribal prejudice should make it to Aso Villa. All Nigerians should enjoy the dividends of democratic governance without being judged by their ethnic affiliation or religious affinity.”
August 13, 2022
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).