Abuja - Three former Nigerian Presidents have been accused of spending frivolously since the country returned to democracy in 1999.
The former Presidents are Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
According to a report by Premium Times, the former Presidents indiscriminately granted a catalogue of fuzzy loans in off-budget spending to government agencies and foreign countries in what appeared an attack on the nation’s oil savings.
While some of the withdrawals might be explained as prudent in terms of meeting exigencies associated with economic crisis, the manner they were done were underscored as weak resource governance and mere financial gaieties.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 doled out $5 million as loan to Sao Tome.
Obasanjo also paid out $40 million as loan to Ghana in the same year.
These loans reportedly came from the Statutory Stabilization Fund Account.
In 2006, Obasanjo approved the withdrawal of N18 billion from the reserve account as loan to the Federal Government for its Pioneer Consumer Car Scheme for public servants in paramilitary agencies.
Under Yar’Adua, about N80 billion was taken from the Excess Revenue Domestic and Non-Oil Excess Revenue Accounts as amount borrowed to pay States’ London Club Debt Buy-back.
On the part of immediate past President, Jonathan, series of loans approved by him were to defence and security.
His actions impacted the most in depleting the nation’s oil reserve.
In December 2013, Jonathan gave approval for the release of N5.5 billion to the Office of National Security Adviser for an undisclosed purpose.
In the same manner, he equally approved a loan of N2.56 billion to Chief of Naval Staff Coast Guard in December 2013 for equally undisclosed purpose.
Other loans given to the military in 2013 included a N7.3 billion loan to fund Military Pension Scheme, N8.48 billion loan to Fund Military Pension Scheme, N2.36 billion loan to the Army as Operation Internal Security and N10.8 billion loan to Ministry of Defence Headquarters.
Other loans granted between 2013 and 2014 included a N9.19 billion loan for subscription to Islamic Development Bank shares; N2.35 billion loan to the Department of Petroleum Resources as 4% Cost of Collection for month of September, 2014; N8.27 billion loan to the Federal Ministry of Power, another loan of N1 billion to the same Ministry of Power; N3.36 million to the Federal Ministry of Finance for verification of solid minerals and N350 million loan to Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc.
All the loans, which remained outstanding by October 31, 2015, violated Nigeria’s fiscal responsibility law.
The country’s Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) is currently examining the loans and grants to ascertain those that need to be written off.
- News 24