Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, said yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari did not discuss or take any loans during his week-long trip to China.
This is coming as controversy trailed reports that Nigeria was to borrow at least $2 billion from China to finance the 2016 budget, a controversy that was further amplified by a letter written by Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, to the Chinese government asking the country to decline any request for loan from President Muhammadu Buhari who was on a state visit to China then.
Speaking when he appeared as a guest on O&M Sunday Show on AIT, Adesina debunked the loan story, insisting that the trip rather attracted $6 billion worth of investment to the country instead.
“The issue of loan didn’t arise during the president’s trip to China, not even an emergency loan was discussed,” he said.
“The president went there and signed agreements that were in the interest of Nigeria. We should know that this president knows what is good for the country.”
On the letter which Ayo Fayose, Ekiti state governor, wrote to the Chinese government to stop the purported loan, Adesina said: “Every nation has a room for comic relief. If someone chooses to be so idle and be entertaining others, so be it.
“I am sure so many people laughed when they saw the letter.”
However, the Lagos Nigerian Bar Association NBA did not find Fayose’s letter funny or entertaining as its Chairmen and other lawyers condemned Fayose’s action yesterday, describing it as mere irritation and inconsequential.
It should be recalled that President Buhari had last week paid a state visit to the People’s Republic of China with some state governors, the Central Bank governor and some ministers after concluding negotiations for the purported loan and a currency swap deal with the Chinese authorities as part of efforts to revive the Nigerian economy in the face of dwindling oil revenues.
However, on April 12, Fayose had reportedly jetted out to China while Buhari was there, urging the Chinese authorities to refuse the facility being requested by the Nigerian Government though a letter.
He said “all Nigerians”, irrespective of their political and religious affiliations were against any applications for new foreign loans.”
This, he said, was on the grounds that servicing current debt burden already gulps over 25 per cent of the country’s annual budget.
Reacting to Fayose’s letter, a former Chairman of Ikeja Branch of NBA, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, described the letter as of no consequence, since negotiations had already been concluded. He told News Agency of Nigeria NAN that “The letter by Fayose is similar to a situation of bringing a motion for a court injunction for a completed act.
“This letter is a mere irritation especially coming from a sitting governor; I will urge Nigerians and especially journalists to regard his letter as nothing, but a mere irritation.
“Negotiations are already concluded and the Chinese government is willing to release funds to Nigeria.
“Although, it is very disheartening that such a letter is coming from one of our governors, but I think it serves no purpose,” he maintained.
This position however contradicts Femi Adesina’s statement yesterday that no loans were either discussed or received during the President’s visit.
In the same vein, the Ikeja Branch Chairman of NBA, Mr Yinka Farobi, described the letter as “over stepping of one’s boundaries”.
“Fayose was elected as a state governor and not as the president of Nigeria.
“His letter is clearly out of the purview of his powers and I seriously condemn it,” he said.
Farobi also urged Nigerians to be supportive of moves aimed at transforming the Nigerian nation for growth.
Again, the Ikorodu NBA Branch Chairman, Mr Dotun Adetunji, described the letter as a show of rascality noting that although “there is a provision for immunity for a sitting governor, there must also be a limit on the activities of a leader.”
In his words: “There are 36 states in the federation and out of these states, only one governor has courage to write to a foreign authority, urging it to refuse funds to its federal government.
“To my mind, such action is really reprehensible and should be discouraged.
“There is no problem with being an opposition, but if you want to be an opposition, you conduct such opposition in a reasonable manner,” he said.
Adetunji urged Nigerians to show support for the incumbent government in a bid to promote development.
“We must be careful as Nigerians for whatever we do today will be recorded as our history tomorrow.”
On his own part, Mr Spurgeon Ataene, a lawyer, said:“If the loan being sought by the Federal Government is for the purpose of revamping the battered economy, then we should not have a problem with that.
“The only thing we should demand from the government is that the loan should be used for the purpose for which it is obtained in the first place.
“To that extent, all Nigerians must be watchdogs and at all times demand that the benefit of the 2 billion dollar loan must trickle down to the masses.
Another lawyer, Mr Ola Ogunbiyi, said Fayose’s action fell short of the status of his exalted office.
“Fayose is a `security risk’ working against national interest, I think he has too much freedom and should be cautioned all because we are in a democratic rule.
“What he said was wrong, we all know the loan is for our economic growth, for him to have written a letter to another country is wrong.
“The picture he tried to paint is that there is no unity, we have no united front by going to counter the action of the president.
“We all know the President is trying to pave way for the citizenry to have a good business relationship with other countries, but we can see Fayose blackmailing not only the government but the nation as a whole.”
It is however not known if Fayose’s letter is instrumental to the botched loan deal or not.

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