FACT CHECKED! That was a claim by Festus Keyamo on ChannelsTV yesterday morning.
In dismissing the debt cancellation feat of the OBJ govt on Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala’s watch as Finance Minister, Keyamo said there was “no wizardry” about it as it was a mere decision of G8 countries to grant debt forgiveness to some African countries in 2005 and Nigeria simply benefitted. He said it was by no effort of the OBj govt etc etc. He went on to challenge Nigerians watching to google the info and find out. He kept emphasizing that there was nothing to it.
I followed the news at that time 2005) and could remember how things went but I googled all the same. Information is power.
And so, I found that the G8 debt cancellation for the 18 countries was a VERY different matter from the Nigeria debt write-off negotiation by OBJ’s govt with the London and Paris Clubs of creditor nations. Two entirely different cases.
An article from 2005 from Stanford Graduate School of Business said, “Under the G8 proposal 18 nations (Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) as a group will be spared $1 billion to $2 billion per year in debt service for loans from lenders like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.” I didn’t see Nigeria there.
Then, I searched further. The internet is man’s greatest resource. If you know how to search and separate fact from nonsense, no-one can ever deceive you. So I saw this from Proshare:
“In a statement conveying the cheering news to the Federal Government, the Paris Club said that in arriving at the debt forgiveness option for Nigeria, it took special cognisance of the economic reform programmes of President Olusegun Obasanjo\’s administration.
“Only recently, the Group of Eight (G-8) richest nations wrote off $40 billion debt of the world’s poorest countries, 14 of which are in Africa.”
“Nigeria was completely excluded from the G-8 largesse, but officials of the Federal Government and some foreign financial agencies like the World Bank had assured that the nation was being considered for debt pardon under a special package.”
The last two paragraphs here show Keyamo to be either such a blatant liar (in his attempt to deceive) or one so ignorant as not to be trusted with even the most basic of information. Which is a pity.
Again and again I tell Nigerians: Verify, Verify, Verify! Don’t swallow anything they give you. Verify! And if you find they’ve lied to you on any matter, re-evaluate your support. You should give yourself some self-worth, I think.
Emmanuel Zion Ewere Esq is a legal practitioner based in Abuja and arrested public affairs analysts.