Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Port Harcourt refineries, and Onitsha second Niger bridge.
These three still-uncompleted white elephant projects have become a staple conduit pipe for the successful request and successive embezzlement of international loans in Nigeria over the last two decades.
Recently, under the Buhari-led administration, they have now been joined by two other ethnocentrically motivated, economically counterintuitive project — a local bus system for only Kaduna state and a railway line from Northern Nigeria to Niger, Buhari’s ineffable ancestry.
Courtesy of the accumulation of decades of reckless borrowing without a reasonable payback plan, the average Nigerian citizen, who lives on less than $1 a day, now has the equivalent of $160 in national debt to pay.
Nigeria’s economically retrogressive president has now tendered yet another request for the approval of a new $4trillion from France, Switzerland, China and the World Bank. According to the President, the new loan is crucial to prevent Nigeria from failing to meet the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) which targets clean and renewable energy, access to education, improved agriculture in rural areas amongst others.
Following the previous pattern of spending and the abysmally piss-poor mode of governance over the last six years, the odds are stacked high against Buhari making any good use of these loans except to further line the pockets of opulent cronies. The terrorist activities of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen — two deadly terrorist groups emboldened by a shared religious affinity to the President — have made many local farmers abandon their farmlands for fear of murderous gun-wielding herders. The same goes for many Federal and State schools in the North, whose students have become steady victims of attacks by these terrorists who believe western education is a taboo.
With the current security situation, there is little progress Nigeria can make as a nation towards the UN SDG and its current slew of fantastically corrupt leaders make it all the more impossible.
A loan that purportedly seeks to establish development without tackling paramount security challenges is just another nicely-packaged effort at begging for money to maintain a corrupt lifestyle.