How Nigerian governors accumulated N5.8tn debts for incoming administration

fraud, bribery and corruption

In the midst of the current economic crisis, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the 28 governors of states who are stepping down on May 29 or seeking reelection have amassed roughly N5.8 trillion in sub-national debt.

The Debt Management Office’s examination of the sub-national debt reports served as the basis for the debt numbers. 11 governors from the 28 states will run for reelection in March.

In addition to Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Babagana Zulum of Borno, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Mai Buni of Yobe, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, and Abdulrahman Abdulrazak of Kwara state are also governors.

Those that will not be seeking re-elections are Emannuel Udom (Akwa Ibom); Samuel Ortom (Benue) Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); David Umahi (Ebonyi); Mohammed Abubakar (Gombe) Aminu Masari (Katsina); Bello Bagudu (Kebbi); Abubakar Bello (Niger); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Darius Ishaku of Taraba.

Nasiru El-rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, Abdulahi Ganduje, of Kano, Victor Ikpeazu, of Abia, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, of Enugu, Ben Ayade, of the Cross Rivers, and Nyesome Wike, of the Rivers are among the other governors who are not running for re-election.

The sub-national loans are divided between internal borrowings from regional lenders and external borrowings from foreign or global lenders like the World Bank.

The DMO’s website released the domestic and external debts as of September 30 and June 30, 2022, respectively.

Using the Central Bank of Nigeria’s exchange rate of N449.53 to a dollar as a basis, sub-national debts as of Thursday were estimated to be N4.38 trillion in domestic debt and nearly $3.15 billion in overseas debt.

Lagos has the greatest debt, according to the report, with N877.04 billion in domestic debt and $1.27 billion in international debt. Kaduna is next, with a $586.78 million external debt and a domestic debt of N86.86 billion.

Rivers has the third-highest debt, with N225.51 billion in domestic debt and $140.18 million in international debt. Cross Rivers is the fourth-highest debtor ranking with N175.2 billion in domestic debt and $215.75 million in foreign debt.

Ogun follows with N241.78 billion in domestic debt and $122.73 million in international debt.

Others include Bauchi (N144.28bn domestic debt and $172.76m external debt); Enugu (N89.89bn and $123.02m); Kano (N125.19bn and $109.42m); Abia (N104.57bn and $95.63m) and Adamawa (N122.48bn and $77.01m).

Other debtor states are Akwa Ibom (N219.62bn and $46.567m), Benue (N143.37bn and $30.47m), Borno (N96.33bn and $18.7m), Delta (N272.61bn and $60.05m), Ebonyi (N67.06bn and $59.84m), Gombe (N139.1bn and $46.93m), Jigawa (N44.41bn and $27.61m), Katsina (N62.37bn and $55.82m), Kebbi (N60.13bn and $42.40m), Kwara (N109.55bn and $45.94m), and Nasarawa (N72.63bn and $53.73m).

Also on the list are Niger (N98.26bn and $69.27m), Oyo (N160.07bn and $76.97m), Plateau (N151.90bn and $33.74m), Sokoto (N85.58bn and $37.13m), Taraba (N90.81bn and $22.28m), Yobe (N92.86bn and $23.09m) and Zamfara (N109.69bn and $29.33m).
The FCT owed N112.49 billion in domestic debt and $25.38 million in foreign debt.

Up to 81.72 percent of the N5.36 trillion in subnational internal debts and 69.08 percent of the $4.56 billion in external obligations were owing by these states and the FCT.

Dele Afolabi, Director, Portfolio Management Department of the DMO, mentioned that each state was supposed to turn in quarterly statistics on their domestic debt. States would be able to get more assistance if they were open about their debt profiles, he continued.

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