Legal icon and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Afe Babalola, has stressed the need for President Bola Tinubu to seek debt relief for Nigeria from the country’s international creditors.
He emphasized the need to seek a reduction in the interest of the loan and the loan itself in order to save Nigeria’s economy from collapse.
Recalling how former President Olusegun Obasanjo got debt relief for Nigeria, Babalola said it is time to call Obasanjo to advise the Tinubu government on how to get it done.
Speaking on Sunday in Ado-Ekiti during the 6th Induction Ceremony of the 2023 graduating set of the College of Medical and Health Sciences of ABUAD, Babalola, if Nigeria does not seek debt relief, the country’s economy may be crippled with the way things are going.
The legal luminary also lamented that the loans accrued by the government have unfortunately been embezzled by some private individuals.
He emphasized that the sorry state of the economy and the frustration of the people are responsible for the protests across some major cities in the country.
He said, “Nigeria is one of the heaviest debtors in the world, I have written articles about it, let us investigate how we came to several trillions of dollars, what do we spend it on? I can assure you, these money are pocketed by those who said they collected it.
“Let us call on Obasanjo again to advise the present government. When we were in serious trouble in the 90s, after he took over, he went round all the creditors and begged them, one, to peg the interest, two, to even reduce the indebtedness and today, we are better for it.
“Unless we do that, this indebtedness will cripple this country and it will lead to anything. I have seen people especially, in the North who are agitating because of the fact that the naira is getting worse, food prices are high, no employment, and those who get it are not paid. Something has to be done about it.”
Speaking further, Babalola condemned the recent killings of two traditional rulers in Ekiti State and the hike in food prices.
He urged the government to intensify efforts at tackling insecurity so that farmers can access their farms without fear and enable all Nigerians to be producers of crops by investing in Agriculture.
Babalola also advocated an increase in the salary of teachers in the country to bolster their teaching delivery towards achieving and sustaining quality education in the country, as it has been in the 20th century.
His words, “Monarchs are killed, it is an unusual development, so, what is behind all these is the fact that we have no money, our money has no value, our currency is as worthless as toilet paper, something has to be done about naira and productivity.
“Farmers have left their farms now because of kidnappers, something has to be done about kidnapping and farmers have to be encouraged to go back to their farms.”