HURIWA criticizes FG over remark about Chinese loans

says that Southeast was not benefited by endless loans

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a civil rights advocacy group, criticized the presidency yesterday for claims that Chinese financing have aided in the development of the nation’s infrastructure.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, claimed in a statement that the South East was not included in the alleged projects for which the Federal Government used the enormous loans from China.

The group criticized President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for wasting irrational Chinese loans on projects with no discernible economic benefits, such as the construction of the Kano-Maradi railway to the Niger Republic and numerous other projects in his hometown of Daura in Katsina State and other northern regions.

Recall that on Friday, President Adesina’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, informed Ambassador Cui Jianchun and the newly appointed Deputy Chief of Mission/Ministerial Councilor, Zhang Yi, of the importance of Chinese loans to Nigeria’s development of its infrastructure.

Nigeria’s debt to China increased from $3.26 billion as of September 30, 2020, to $3.59 billion as of September 30, 2021, according to Onwubiko, who claimed that over the past seven years the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has been on a borrowing binge. The amount has increased incrementally over the past year.

In response to Adesina’s remarks, Onwubiko stated: “Femi Adesina’s assertion that Chinese loans have made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s infrastructure is demonstrably incorrect. There is no proof that President Muhammadu Buhari has successfully implemented any national strategic infrastructures during the past seven years, suggesting that these Chinese monies were pocketed by senior government figures.

“For instance, in the South East geopolitical zone, the Onitsha to Owerri route and the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway are both in terrible shape. All of the main roads connecting the South East and the South South are in poor condition.

However, the Buhari administration spent Chinese financing on unsuccessful ventures in northern Nigeria and Buhari’s ties to the Niger Republic. In fact, the Kaduna-Abuja railway services are currently nonexistent due to the insecurity in the President’s backyard in the Northwest. Even the Nigerian Railway Corporation had to halt all train movements due to terrorism.

“Buhari’s nepotism spread like a tentacle to the distribution of projects across the six zones in Nigeria, with the South-East being the most marginalized, similar to his unbalanced appointments with northerners as heads of security agencies.

Nigerians have numerous good reasons to reject Buhari’s APC in the upcoming election. Inclusion must be a guiding principle for the next group of leaders who will be chosen by voters in 2023. There should be no tribal and narrow-minded candidates elected to Aso Villa. Without regard to their ancestry or religious preferences, all Nigerians ought to benefit from democratic governance.

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