Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has threatened that he would commence legal action against the federal government if it does not jettison its plan to secure a $3.5 billion (about N700 billion) loan from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The renowned lawyer made this known in a statement he made public on February 14 where he stated that his earlier letter which he sent to the Finance Ministry on February 5 to jettison its plan to secure the loan has not be responded to.
The latest letter read: “Since you have not deemed it fit to react to the serious issues raised in the letter, kindly be informed that we shall commence legal proceedings not later than February 29, 2015, with a view to compelling the Federal Government to recover the said loans, royalties, levies, and other recoverable revenues of not less than $66.5 billion.”
Falana had said in his initial letter that instead of taking the loan, the government should direct the anti-graft agencies to recover all loans and revenues accruable to it.
He said: “From the information at our disposal, the federal government is owed not less than $66.5 billion (about N13.3 trillion) which ought to be recovered without any further delay.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) had also stated that the five cycles of independent audit reports compiled by the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, showed potential recoverable revenues of not less than $20.2 billion.
He also urged the federal government to contact Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning if it needed more information in respect of the matter, saying: “The potential recoverable revenues are said to have arisen from ‘underpayment/under-assessment of taxes, royalties, levies and rents.’
Falana added that the Central Bank of Nigeria, in 2006, apportioned $7 billion out of the nation’s external reserves to 14 Nigerian banks to “manage.”
Only recently, Falana asked the International Criminal Court to investigate former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Colonel Sambo Dasuki over misappropriated $8billion vote for weapons.
Okonjo-Iweala dismissed the call as a “desperate joke by an integrity challenged charlatan”.