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President Buhari defends N77 trillion debt

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President Muhammadu Buhari has given a robust defence of his administration’s N77 trillion debt.

According to him, the loans were largely used to fund capital projects for the people’s benefit.

He explained that his focus on infrastructure was a deliberate action to create wealth and stem poverty.

President Buhari also justified the closure of Nigeria’s borders with neighbouring countries and the appointment of Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) as Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The President spoke during the inauguration of some landmark projects of his outgoing government, including the Second Niger Bridge, which was named after him by Southeast governors.

The other projects inaugurated virtually by Buhari are the Ikom Bridge in Cross River State, the Loko-Oweto Bridge linking Nasarawa and Benue states, a section of the Kaduna-Kano dual carriageway, federal secretariats in Anambra, Bayelsa and Zamfara states as well as Customs new headquarter building in Abuja.

The President said the funds were used to buoy economic development, create more employment and make Nigerians prosperous.

Emphasising that his government was transparent, especially in the application of public funds, he jokingly warned: “If anybody with force moves, I have a good relationship with my neighbours. Niger Republic people will defend me.”

The President, who emphasised that he shared the concerns of Nigerians over the debts, reminded them that the wealth of other nations was traceable to their investments in infrastructure made possible by debts redeemed over decades.

He said: “As we look at the debt profile, I urge us to also look at the assets and investment profiles, some of which were paid for by debt and some by investment income.

“In eight years, I am proud to say that we have doubled Nigeria’s stock of infrastructure to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) from about 20 per cent to over 40 per cent and that is no small undertaking.

“The projects that we hand over today (yesterday), apart from others, such as rail, sea and airports, a gas pipeline that had been previously completed, symbolise our country’s sharp focus on delivering prosperity