The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by a non-governmental organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability, that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP in a statement yesterday hailed the judgment that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn.”
But DMO in its rebuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
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It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations,” DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the FG following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had ‘no explanations on the status of the project.’ She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project.
Giving his judgment, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action.”
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB),” SERAP said.