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Kano elders petition Buhari, say Ganduje’s N300bn Chinese loan slavery

NEWSMAN, Kano – Kano State Elders, under the umbrella of the Kano Unity Forum, have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, the  National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Finance, to stop the N300bn loan the state Governor,  Abdullahi Ganduje, plans to obtain from China.

According to the petition signed by its Chairman, Bashir Tofa, condemned Ganduje’s insistence  on obtaining the loan from China Development Bank, adding that the loan was an invitation to  enslavement and vowed never to allow people of the state to be enslaved.

“The first phase of the project costing over N300bn  or may be even the N828bn  mentioned by others, coming mostly from a foreign loan is mind-boggling, to say the least. A rethink is not only needed, but necessary. Except for a few in the official circles, nobody else knows the terms and conditions of the loan agreement,” adding that “the exact amount being borrowed is shrouded in secrecy, The Forum said.

“Based on the analysis of the present indebtedness of Kano State as provided  by the Debt Management Office, it is extremely difficult, almost impossible for Kano State to sustain any indebtedness beyond the current liability portfolio of the state.” The forum further said that “a rail project was never a project that should be done in haste, adding that it was not a medium term project, and if indeed the Chinese want to genuinely help with cheap loans, they should be requested to support critical sectors such as education, health, agriculture, power, science and technology, infrastructure, industry and water supply.

The Kano Unity Forum said it would not give “any self-serving politician the latitude to increase poverty and deprivation within the general public through ill-conceived public works. We shall not be deluded by the attractive idea of good return from the investment. Rail projects world over are known as highly capital intensive with a very negligible rate of return on investment. It is more of a social welfare project, especially in less developed economies“,

While calling on the President to intervene in order to save the state and its citizens from enslavement, the group warned that if the state government insisted on going ahead with the project, they will pursue the case to court and make sure they use other lawful means to stop the light rail project.

Meanwhile the Special Adviser to Ganduje on Media, Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, in an interview said the state government had before followed all the necessary steps and procedures for taking the loan, and there was a need for the elders to understand that the loan was not new as the process started three years ago.

He said after the negotiations for the loan, Ganduje submitted the document to the President, National Assembly and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Justice as well as the Deft Management Office. And “After all these processes, we got approval of the loan. So why are they raising any alarm about it?”

Tanko-Yakasai said the money for the development of the state, and that it was not coming to the state government directly but rather it would go to the contractor from the bank, while the state government would also give its counterpart fund for the execution of the project.  “Why did the elders did not write and question the Federal Government on its ongoing rail project in the country?”  he asked

Also, a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain,  Alhaji Aminu Abdussalam, described the proposed  light rail project in Kano as a waste of resources, and added that at present, all serious governments were more concerned with the welfare of their citizens in view of  the current economic challenges, but the state government was busy trying to access a loan which would not positively impact on the common man.

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