My friend screamed ‘praise the Lord’ when we heard Nigeria was owing N55trn — Adeboye


General overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Pastor Enoch Adeboye on Sunday recounted his friend’s reaction after learning the nation’s debt profile had risen to N55 trillion.

Adeboye spoke while delivering his sermon during an interdenominational church service held to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary and the 45th anniversary of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

Recently, Nigerians have been raising alarm over the country’s debt especially as President Muhammadu Buhari seeks Senate approval for new loans of $4.054bn and €710million as well as grant components of $125m for 15 proposed projects.

Adeboye told the gathering that included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, and other top government officials that he would have avoided preaching at the service if he was told that the event also had to do with the nation’s independence anniversary.

He said the invitation he received only indicated that it was about the anniversary of CAN.

He said, “I have a friend that we schooled about the same time and we were born at about the same time. He is a great optimist. When we heard that Nigeria was owing N55tn, he said ‘praise the lord’, and when I looked at him with a question on my face, he said those who are praying for Nigeria are many and that the creditors know that if Nigeria does not survive, they won’t be able to get their money back.

“When he heard that the interest we have to pay on our debt is 98 per cent of our income and that even the Senate has approved that we should borrow more, he said ‘glory be to God’.

“I said how would you say glory be to God? He said ‘when what you owe is more than what you can pay, the creditors have a choice. It is either they forgive you your debts or you go ahead and declare bankruptcy. They get angry and then they come and seize the most valuable thing you have.’

“He said the most precious thing they can seize in Nigeria is the Aso Rock. When I said, what is there to thank God for in that? He said ‘have you not been listening to the news?’ He said the President said he would love to visit Daura every two weeks.

“So, he said if they seize Aso Rock, his (Buhari’s) request would be granted, he won’t have to visit Daura every two weeks. He will just move the seat of power to Daura.”

Adeboye, however, urged the public to always thank God despite the challenges in the country, while adding that all would be well.

In his speech, Osinbajo said despite all that had confronted the country, some states in Nigeria had larger economies than 15 African countries.