Lead Story  |  News  

Buhari queries finance ministry over alleged loan diversion

By Mohammed Abubakar, Abuja   |   10 August 2015   |   10:30 pm  

Buhari 16• Says Nigeria’s elite must do more for country • Orders agencies to harmonise biometric data

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday demanded for a full explanation from the Ministry of Finance on the foreign loans obtained for rail projects but diverted to other purposes.

The presidential directive followed a presentation by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Transport led by its Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Bashar, who took their turn to brief him on the activities of the ministry and its agencies at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying that it was disappointing to find that foreign loans obtained in line with signed agreements were moved from one project to another.

Bashar specifically told the President that of a substantial part of the loan of USD1.005 billion from the Chinese Exim-Bank, obtained for the construction of a standard gauge rail-line linking Lagos to Kano, was moved elsewhere.

Bashar had informed the President that only USD 400 million of that loan remained with the Ministry of Finance.

The angry President said: “I hope that due process was followed before such diversions were carried out. Taking money from one project to another has to be done properly.”

The President, who regretted that government had over the years failed to meet its counterpart-funding obligation on some projects, leading to such projects being left uncompleted or abandoned, added that there was a clear need to streamline, harmonise and prioritise on-going projects in the transport sector.

Bashar also briefed the President on other challenges facing the transport and maritime sectors such as encroachment on railway land, lack of security on inland waterways and the confused nature of agreements between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and ports concessionaires.

But Bashar, while briefing State House correspondents, later confirmed that laying of tracks on the Abuja-Kaduna rail project has been completed and locomotives, which had already been paid for, are still being awaited as the ministry intends to start operations on the route by December this year.

Bashar, who pointed out that the rehabilitation of old narrow gauge rail-lines was ongoing while Lagos to Kano route had since been resuscitated, also disclosed that rehabilitation work has started on Port Harcourt-Kano and Kano-Gombe rail-lines.

Meanwhile, Buhari has called on Nigeria’s elite to be prepared to contribute more meaningfully towards helping the country overcome its current challenges.

Buhari, receiving the out-going President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Donald Kaberuka, said that privileged and influential citizens clearly have to do more now than in the past to help the country deal successfully with its economic and security problems.

“With the consequences of falling oil prices, lack of revenues, and insecurity, Nigerian elite must now wake up and provide the right guidance in their communities and also lead the economy on the right path more than they used to do”, the President said.

Kaberuka told Buhari that some development institutions like the World Bank, German Development Bank and the European Development Bank had already indicated their readiness to provide long-term loan facilities to small businesses in Nigeria.

He assured the President that the AfDB would always support economic projects in Nigeria.

And to check duplicity in data management, Buhari has directed government agencies to harmonise the collection and usage of biometric data in the country instead of replicating efforts in this regard.

Speaking after being briefed on the activities of the National Population Commission (NPC) by the Chairman, Eze Duruiheoma (SAN), who led other national commissioners to the Presidential Villa, Buhari wondered why each agency would gather its own biometric data when such data could easily be shared.

The directive was against the backdrop of Duruiheoma’s revelation that the commission needed about N273 billion to conduct the 2016 national head count, out of which N10 billion was required urgently.

For Buhari, however, “it will be more cost-effective if you work together. It helps even the credibility of the election process, as Nigerians of voting age can be identified easily.”

Government organisations that at present collect biometric data include the NPC, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), among others, who have been urged now to collaborate, as adequate data is necessary for planning and development.

Duruiheoma had told the President that a biometric-based census was being proposed to eliminate multiple and ghost respondents, while making the outcome easy to audit.



  • Joseph

    Let Nigerians wait to hear from Okonjo-Iweala. I trust her with a fact and figure response.

    • mac adoye

      How can you talk this way. Did you trust yourself well? Stop talking or you will one day pay for what you don’t bay

  • emmanuel kalu

    There are some good questions by the president and directive that are clear and simple. there is no reason every MDA should be doing it own biometric. They all need to work together and ensure that resources are used effectively. However i would advice the president to have clear and short deadline for all this directive.

  • Charles Rc Akubuo

    Just wait, she will definitely answer them all questions regarding her tenure.
    She did her job to be best of her ability. I’m just so sorry that some Nigeria are ungrateful, so her selfless service to the nation.

  • agbobu

    AND GOODLUCK JONATHAN, PATIENCE JONATHAN, DEZIANI, NGOZI, ETC AND YOUR GANG OF VERY MASSIVE, VERY RECKLESS AND VERY OBSCENE LOOTERS, YOU CAN ONLY RUN BUT YOU CAN NOT HIDE. WE WILL LOOK FOR YOU AND FLUSH YOU OUT ANY WHERE IN THIS PLANET AND MAKE YOU RETURN ALL THE STOLEN LOOTS AND FACE THE LAW AND JUSTICE OF THE LAND. EVERY DAY IS FOR THE THIEF BUT ONE DAY IS FOR THE OWNER WE THE PEOPLE QED AND END OF STORY

    • Gumel

      My bro Agbobu I know u are sincere staunch supporter of this Administration so equally do I but we should not be carried away by emotion hatred and sentiments becoming partly vindictive partly wanting to see justice done .We should remember what u love for yourself u love it for your bro. Yes the previous Administration had their own faults but should not be carried by hatred and vengeance should seen as a kind of witch hunting. Every one is innocent unless proven guilty by the competent Authority or court so let the Court or the EFCC do their jobs we only watch from far but must be given fair trial and fair treatment that is what we called justice not jungle justice or the trial by the media which to me is no trial is only emotion vindictiveness and sentimentality. Even the worst enemies like Boko Haram members should be given fair trial not to talk of former Government officials. So we have to tread carefully like Baba go slow whatever he is doing the right thing n we are behind him but we are not sycophants n praise singers I don’t believe in that believe only in fairness even against myself that’s how I am.

      • agbobu

        WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE AS WE ARE ALL CALLING FOR A VERY FAIR, VERY VERIFIABLE, VERY HUMANE JUDICIAL PROCESS AND TRIALS OF ALL ACCUSED PERSONS. I GUARANTEE YOU THAT THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO GET FROM THIS ADMINISTRATION. HAVING SAID THIS IF YOU SAW WHAT I FOUND OUT AND EXPERIENCED FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN, WHERE CLONING, FORGING, ETC OF DOCUMENTS ARE THE ORDER OF THE DAY AND WITH APPROVAL FROM GOODLUCK JONATHAN HIMSELF. WITH GOODLUCK JONATHAN AS PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA, NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS DO NOT NEED ENEMIES. ALL CORRUPT PERSONS AND LEADERS ARE ENEMIES OF NIGERIA AND THE GENERATIONS YET UNBORN. .

        • Gumel

          I know u are sincere but still don’t worry let us be focussed and help the present Administration achieve its goal fairness to all Nigerians.

    • ufoma

      Another talkative!!!! Go and bring them to book, children blabbing!!! Its easy to loot! Corruption on pages of newspapers!!! so if you take loan from bank, you can’t use some portion of it for other purposes when the need arises.

      • agbobu

        THEN TELL WE THE PEOPLE HOW GOODLUCK JONATHAN GOT 500 MILLION DOLLARS TO ESTABLISH THE FARM IN ABUJA/ TELL US HOW PATIENCE JONATHAN ACQUIRED THE BUNKERING VESSEL ‘MV PATIENCE’ USED TO CARRY CARRY STOLEN CRUDE? TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO THE STOLEN 20 BILLION DOLLARS FROM THE CBN AS EXPOSED BY THE THEN GOVERNOR OF THE CBN SANUSI AND WHICH LED TO HIS REMOVAL AS THE CBN GOVERNOR. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CRUDE OIL EXCESS ACCOUNT AND WHO AUTHORISED THE UNLAWFUL WITHDRAWALS. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOREIGN RESERVE THAT WAS ALMOST HALVED IN A SPACE OF ONE YEAR UNDER GOODLUCK JONATHAN. TELL US ABOUT THE ILLEGAL OIL SWAPS AND THOSE THAT BENEFITED FROM THEM. TELL US ABOUT MASSIVE FUEL IMPORT SUBSIDIES AND THOSE WHO BENEFITED FROM THEM. TELL US ABOUT THE OVER BLOATED CONTRACTS THAT WERE NOT EXECUTED BUT ALL THE MONEY COLLECTED AND THOSE BEHIND IT. TELL US ABOUT ALL THOSE STEALING OUR CRUDE OIL WILL GOODLUCK JONATHAN AND HIS GANG LOOKED TO OTHER WAY. TELL US ABOUT THE OBSCENE IMPUNITY, SHAMELESS RECKLESS AND I DO NOT CARE TYPE OF ATTITUDE THAT WERE THE NORMS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN.. IT GOES ON AND ON. IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN WE HAD FIVE PRESIDENTS, PATIENCE, DEZIANI, NGOZI, AGBUA AND JONATHAN WHO WAS THE WEAKEST. PLEASE STOP DEFENDING THE WORST ENEMY OF NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS GOODLUCK JONATHAN, PATIENCE JONATHAN AND THEIR GANGS.

  • Ikorodua

    ‘DIVERTED TO OTHER PURPOSES’. Which other purposes? We must be clear and specific.

  • honesty NO1

    Why is buhari talking of due process in this blatant looting of the loan obtained for a purpose? Is it ok to obtain a loan under the pretext of providing a rail road for the masses and later loot the money. PMB,Nigerians can no longer continue to swallow this poison being given to Nigerian people on a daily basis. You must get to the bottom of where the money went QED.

You may also like