Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for attending the just concluded G7 meeting with a shopping list of Nigeria’s problems.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria made his position known Wednesday at a civil society round table on the state of the nation organized by the Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) in Lagos.
The group of seven (G7) industrialized nations in the world had urged Mr. Buhari to attend the event, which was hosted by Germany, with a ‘wish list’ for their consideration and assistance.
“Our president went to the G7 and we are happy. And he went there with a bowl, ‘please do this for us, do this for us’”, said Mr. Falana.
“Again, we must interrogate that has our situation become so bad that we have to ask for external support? When we have not mobilized the energy, the potentials of our people to turn this country around.
“And please, let the new regime be told that the dangerous prescriptions of the IMF and the World Bank and the G7 that we have followed since 1986 that the Structural Adjustment Programme was imposed on Nigeria, those prescriptions have reduced Nigeria to a banana republic. Since then we have been managing poverty, what they call poverty alleviation, not poverty eradication, because this system can never abolish poverty”.
The lawyer also enjoined Nigerians to stand up to government over its choice of economic policies.
“There are alternative economic programmes to the ones that are forced on Nigerians every time”, Mr. Falana said.
“It’s either its privatization, which is the selling of our public assets, or retrenchment or downsizing of workers, or trade liberalisation so that all manner of goods are brought to our country to destroy our industries.
“And that is what has happened today, all the textiles industries in Kaduna and Kano and Aswani all of them are gone. All those warehouses in Oregun, Apapa, and the rest were for storing goods produced locally. Now they are all becoming churches and event centres”.
On the inability of some states to pay their workers, Mr. Falana blamed it on the indolence of their governors.
“I’ve seen our media in the last week trying to concentrate all attention on Osun State, whereas Osun is owing six months”, said Mr. Falana.
“There are states that are owing 9-10 months. I’m not saying this to justify what is going on. Please, can we have a broader perspective with respect to the management of the affairs of our country?” he urged.