By Bature Dan-Inni, Abuja
An opposition party, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) on Thursday lambasts the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Assembly (NASS) over the approval of N37 billion for the renovation of the the National Assembly Complex.
The party argued that the gesture only shows that the ruling APC and its NASS-led members do not care about the Nigerian masses whom majority have been living below the poverty line.
There has been a nationwide outrage for the N37 billion allocated for renovation of the complex. The money is not part of the N128 billion budget of the federal lawmakers in 2020.
It could be recalled that earlier on Tuesday, Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in an article he wrote, said he could not sit and watch the government of Buhari “ruin the future of Nigerians” with his $29.6 billion loan request.
In a statement by Abdul Gombe, publicity secretary of PRP, the party described the allocation as a wrong step and misplacement of priority.
“It negates PRP fundamental principle, considering the fact that it is coming at a time when Nigerians are experiencing excruciating human suffering from hunger and poverty,” the statement read.
“This renovation at the reported humongous amount of N37 billion makes it obvious that the APC as a party does not consider the masses of this nation in its actions. They have shown their total lack of sympathy and empathy to the sufferings of Nigerians. It shows that the welfare and wellbeing of a selected few is the priority of this government to the detriment of the wellbeing of Nigerians.”
Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw his approval of the N37 billion for renovation of the complex, the party said the lawmakers should be reminded that government is a sacred trust of the people and they should discharge this trust by promoting public good which the current leadership of the assembly is not doing.
The party also asked Nigerians to kick against the $29.6 billion loan request made by President Buhari which was rejected under Bukola Saraki-led upper legislative chamber.
But the president presented it again and on Monday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the request will be approved.
PRP said while there might be a need to borrow to finance capital projects, the government has not been addressing the concerns around national debt.
The party said, “The public has not been shown how and where previous borrowing has been used. The rising debt stock may further impoverish the nation that currently spends about 50% of its revenue in servicing existing debts as further spending to service more debts would cripple the economy and send the polity into further social problems,” the party said.
“The citizenry of the state has a right to know the details of these borrowings such as amount to be borrowed, tenor of borrowing, use to which the funds are to be put to and how the borrowings are to be repaid.
“Neither the senate president nor the minister of finance has attempted to address these issues which are germane,” it added.