The Minority Leader of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has advised the Federal Government to explore trade by barter option in its effort to step up military hardware and train military personnel instead of piling up debts for the country.The APC and Leader of Opposition in the
green chamber through a statement
issued by his research and media aide,
Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart on Sunday in
Abuja expressed dismay at President
Jonathan’s penchant for loans when the
country has sovereign wealth fund,
reserve and excess oil revenue.
He stated that, “the federal government
by setting an illegal benchmark has been
creaming off about $ 30 per barrel of our
crude oil sales which it puts in an illegal
excess crude account. If it insists on cash
it should reach into that illegal account.
Again it also set up the Sovereign Wealth
Fund, a component of which it described
as future generation account. Well
Madam Minister, the Chibok girls
represent the future generation, go into
that account if you must. Assuming the
National Assembly will allow that. But to
incur a further $1billion loan at whatever
interest rate, that is one loan too many
for our future generation to pay off and
the answer is a CAPITAL NO!!!”
Gbajabiamila also said, “the request for
$1 billion loan by the President after
3trillion Naira allocated to Defence in 3
years with nothing to show for it, it’s
evident that the President and his
advisers regard Nigerians as imbeciles
(which they are not). For sake of clarity
an slowpoke is defined as a blockhead or
a dunce.”
The lawmaker advised his colleagues in
National Assembly to restrain
themselves from granting the “perfidious
request” and implored the federal
government to try exchanging oil for
military hardware like other needy
countries have done in the past if truly
Nigeria has weak military equipment
considering the country’s previous
budgets for Defence.
“I personally do not think any more cash
should pass through government at this
time. If indeed more money is needed
for the training of our men and women
in uniform which I doubt, then we should
resort to the time tested trade by barter.
This means of commodity exchange
continues between countries all over. We
can exchange oil for arms if need be.”
“The AL YAMAMAH arms deal between
the Saudis and UK wherein a large
amount of British military hardware was
sold to the Saudi government for
600,000 barrels of crude oil a day comes
to mind. So does the oil for arms deal
between China and Venezuela and the
deal struck by the US in 2011 when over
80 F15 fighter jets were sold to the Royal
Saudi Airforce. The deal included training,
logistics and maintenance.”
In Gbajabiamila’s further advise to his
colleagues in National Assembly to
reasons why they should rebuff any
move to plunge the country into another
debt and elevate corruption, he listed six
posers they must consider before taking
a stand on the request of executive.
“Firstly, a comprehensive audit of what
has happened to all the money allocated
by the National Assembly to Defence in
the last 3 years must be done
immediately. This must be a condition
precedent before a kobo is ever
approved again.
“Secondly, we have the MTEF which laid
out government expenditure framework
for the next 3 years. We must stack this
alongside this recent request and see if
there is any place for such.
“Thirdly, what was the amount of debt
forgiveness or forbearance given to
Mohammed Abacha? That amount if any
must be stacked against the loan sought
to determine whether granting same
makes any sense.
“Fourthly, what are the conditions for the
loan? What is the repayment schedule
and who bears the burden? ( rhetorical
question)
“Fifthly, what did the recently held world
economic forum in Abuja cost
government and what were the
economic derivatives for government to
now turn around months later to ask for
a $1billion loan.
“Sixthly, it was reported that government
had set up a forensic audit to investigate
the alleged missing $20billion from
government coffers. This inspite of the
fact that the finance minister whilst
disputing the quantum of the money
admitted she could not account for
10billion. Where are we with the
investigation?
“These are questions begging for answer
and the National Assembly must get
clear answers to them before even
considering the request not to talk of
rejecting it.”

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