The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) criticized outgoing Senate President Ahmad Lawan, outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, and the entire Ninth National Assembly for enabling the borrowing spree of the former President Muhammadu Buhari.
HURIWA believes this has led to Nigeria’s unprecedented debt profile and economic challenges related to debt repayment.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko asked the about-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly not to become a rubber stamp appendage of the executive arm of government, thereby endorsing every nonsense proposed by the executive at the expense of the Nigerian people.
The group warned against the dominance of the All Progressives Congress in both chambers because this is catastrophic to the nation. Therefore, opposition parties must do all they can to ensure that only the best men and women win top positions in the Assembly so that puppets won’t drive the legislative arm into the pit by rubber stamping anything brought by President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
Lawan on Wednesday said he was not bothered that the 9th National Assembly under his leadership was tagged rubber stamp assembly, saying despite misgivings by some Nigerians over the cordial relationship with the executive, 112 bills out of those passed by the 9th parliament were assented to by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The explanations of Senator Ahmad Lawan are so unfortunate and abysmal. During his time as Senate President, the Buhari administration ran Nigeria into the pit as Lawan ensured he approved every single nonsensical loan by the then government.”
He said it is shameful that the Buhari government moved Nigeria’s debt profile from N42tn to N77tn and this has had attendant effects on debt servicing, which rose from N1.06tn in 2015 to N5.24tn as of 2022 and the debt-service-to-revenue ratio grew from 29% to 96%, these data are according to the Budget Office.
“Under Buhari, the Monetary Policy Rate rose from 12.5% in 2015 to 18% in April 2023 even as the inflation rate galloped to 22.5%, while food inflation galloped to 24% as of April 2023. Even unemployment rose from 10.4% in 2015 to 33.4% in 2020 under Buhari as multidimensional poverty and jobless youths continue to rise to tens and hundreds of millions.
“The 10th NASS must ensure zero tolerance to contract scams by members. The Tinubu government must avoid meddling in the affairs of the legislature, and face the hydra-headed monster of terrorism, banditry, herdsmen attacks, unstable economy, and unemployment, amongst others. He must also ensure his cabinet is devoid of corrupt officials who contributed to plunging Nigeria in the latest ranking of the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International in January 2023.”