HURIWA Cautions Against $2.1bn World Bank Loan For North-East

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A Pro-transparency Non-Governmental organisation- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has cautioned against further dragging the country down the foreign loans' quagmire with another loan package from the World Bank in the guise of rebuilding North East of Nigeria devastated by armed Islamists particularly when the war on terror hasn't successfully been fought and won and the masterminds prosecuted and punished for their monumental crimes against humanity.

'Why are we learning to run even before we walk? Why can't we do first things first rather than always chase after money that may eventually be frittered away even if the expenditures are to be coordinated by consultants from those multilateral agencies who would drain a lot of the funds on servicing their consultants and not delivering the real dividends to the victims?"

HURIWA said that World Bank and International Monetary Fund's conditionality especially for repayments are shrouded in the muddy waters of deceit, double-face, farcical, overwhelmingly fraudulent and harmful to developing societies of the World and therefore Nigeria must be circumspect and not dabble into such huge traps of been reclassified as a heavily indebted nation once more.

The group said that in as much as rebuilding the livelihoods and the destroyed infrastructures of the affected areas were imperative how to go about generating resources for rebuilding these communities must not be mired in huge controversy of international loans barely few years after Nigeria reportedly paid over $12 billion cash to London and Paris clubs of creditors as repayments for purported longstanding loans that were dubiously collected and frittered away by political leaders.

HURIWA said it would make more sense since the United States, France and United Kingdom have pledged to cooperate with the new Federal administration that donations rather than World Bank loan would have been more desirable. "Was it for World Bank's credit facilities that the Federal Government trooped into the United States with a large team of politicians to meet with President Barack Obama and other officials of the United State's administration and hierarchies of the multilateral Bretton wood's funding institutions? Why waste tax payer's fund running to several billions in Naira value just to go and beg World Bank for loans when the United States and other World Powers are known to have generously raised donations to reconstruct communities similarly devastated by terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and even the Palestinian towns destroyed in the recent Palestinian versus Israeli bombardments?".

The Rights group also wants the Nigerian Government to first win the war against the murderous terrorists, bring the masterminds to swift and efficient justice whether locally or before the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands, then the Federal Government must hire independent forensic auditors from reputable global firms to ascertain how the humongous federally shared and redistributed allocations to the three most affected North East States from the terrorists attacks namely Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States were spent particularly for the over 20 local government areas of the three States captured and controlled by terrorists for nearly seven Months shortly before these areas were liberated in early March by the immediate past Federal administration.

HURIWA said it was imperative that these governors of the affected North East States are subjected to intense forensic financial scrutiny to get to the roots of how funds redistributed from the Federation accounts for the purposes of the respective local government areas were spent since almost all of the affected local government areas councils were sacked by terrorists and held for over 6 months and the local people driven away some to as far as Niger Republic and Cameroon. "Why is Nigeria keen on another World Bank Loans that may not be transparently handled and when the federally sourced funds may have been frittered away or looted? Let the Nigerian Government look to local sources of rebuilding the North East or get our Western powers who are now friends to donate the funds the same way that Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and Iraq were all rebuilt without those countries mortgaging their countries' future through World Bank credit facilities?”

HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari Yesterday in Washington, D.C hailed the decision of the World Bank to grant Nigeria $2.1 billion loan for the rebuilding of the devastated north east of Nigeria.

The $2.1 billion Dollars would reportedly be spent through International Development Agency, IDA, an agency of the World Bank known for its low interest loan to government.

The statement added that the World Bank was eager to move in quickly to give out the loans and also give succour to the people of north east, who have been at the mercy of an insurgency that has claimed over 20,000 souls”.

But HURIWA has dismissed this World Bank's loan package as Greek's gifts that are harmful to Nigeria's economy on the long run and warned against mortgaging Nigeria to another intractable indebtedness and enslavement that would be left for our children's children to service after we the elders have frittered the fund.

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Articles by Emmanuel Onwubiko