Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has called for an investigation into how Nigeria found itself in the present situation of huge indebtedness.
Babalola cautioned that something must be done urgently about the state of indebtedness to prevent the country from being crippled by socio-economic crises.
The ABUAD founder spoke in Ado Ekiti on Friday shortly after the induction of 161 fresh doctors produced by the university by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Babalola said, “Nigeria is one of the greatest debtors of the world. To me, let us investigate how we came to owe several trillions of naira. What did we spend it on? I can assure you, most of the money is in the pockets of those who said they collected it.”
The senior advocate asked the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government to take a cue from what former President Olusegun Obasanjo did in 1999 to secure debt relief or cancellation for Nigeria.
“Unless we do that, this indebtedness will cripple this country and it may lead to anything,” Babalola said.
The Debt Management Office revealed in September that Nigeria’s total public debt rose to N87.37tn in the second quarter of 2023.
According to Babalola, the current hardship in the country is rooted in the mismanagement of the economy over time.
“I have seen people, especially in the North, who are agitating because of the fact that the naira is getting worse, food prices are high, no employment, those who are employed are not paid. What is responsible for all these is the fact that there is no money and the naira has no value. Something has to be done about naira and productivity.”
To end the continued exodus of medical doctors abroad, Babalola called for an increase in their salaries.
He said, “As a result of japa (emigration), we have lost so many doctors, professors and young men, this has to stop.
“A way to stop it is that there should be an increase in the salaries of workers, which in my own case I did. We (ABUAD) increased the salaries of our teachers here by 35 percent and we have been paying that every 25th of the month for four months now and we will continue.
“Secondly, Nigeria must be advised to produce. Farmers have left their farms now for fear of those people that will kidnap them. Something has to be done about kidnapping and as much as possible, farmers have to be encouraged to go back to their farms,” Babalola said.
The ABUAD founder, however, advised the fresh doctors not to be discouraged by the present challenges in the country, saying, “The world is a world of problems. It is only those who have the courage to confront these problems frontally and overcome them that are successful in life.”