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Rising Debt Profile, A Direct Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy

The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) is alarmed and very concerned about the unsustainable rise in Nigeria’s debt profile. According to recent figures from the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria now has a debt profile of N31.009 trillion. The DMO figures further indicate that the current high debt stock belongs to the federal, 36 states government and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It is similarly very disturbing that in the three months for which figures were released by the DMO, a total of $287.04 million was spent servicing external debt, while payment of principal sums gulped $70.27 million.

CHRICED is of the considered position that this level of debilitating and unsustainable debt is a direct threat to Nigeria’s democracy, national stability and the survival of current and future generations of citizens. Nigeria’s debt situation is very worrisome because as it stands, it will hobble the ability of future governments with the sincerity to deliver the concrete gains of democracy to the citizens of the country. It is also very strange and untenable that Nigeria’s debt profile has been rising at such an unsustainable rate, without infrastructure and other visible results to show for the huge sums borrowed over the years. Apart from a few projects, which completion have lingered on interminably, Nigerians have had very little to show for the huge debt, which successive governments have plunged the country into.

Despite the huge borrowing, infrastructure in the electricity power sector has remained as rudimentary as ever. This would be seen in the frequent collapse of the national grid, leaving citizens in most parts of the country in perpetual darkness. The lamentable story is also the same with respect to major highways, which have become death traps despite Nigeria’s heavy borrowing from domestic and external sources. The state of education, healthcare and other similar social services are in a sorry state on account of poor governance despite the massive borrowing, earnings and multiple taxation of individuals and businesses.

CHRICED warns that these debts have serious consequences for the country because it is said that he who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing. With this maxim in mind, governments are supposed to be very circumspect when they borrow to fund “projects”. The reality in the case of Nigeria is that there is no circumspection whatsoever in borrowing, and as such, the welfare and well-being of present and future generation of Nigerians is being mortgaged on the altar of the profligate habit of perpetual indebtedness. CHRICED calls on citizens to take due cognizance of these realities and find legal and legitimate ways to pressure the government to stop going down the unsustainable path of reckless borrowing, which would end up overburdening the nation’s finances, and its ability to fend for itself.


Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi
Executive Director

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