By Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano
A group of Kano elders called Kano Unity Forum has Petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Finance, against moves by Governor Ganduje to takes over N300 Billion Loan from China.
The group headed by a former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Alhaji Bashir Tofa on Thursday expressed grave reservations against the insistence by Governor Ganduje to obtain a loan from China Development Bank to construct phase 1 component of Light Mono Rail project in the State Metropolis.
The petition signed by elder statesman, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa on behalf of Kano Unity Forum that was made available to newsmen, states that “save for few in official circles, nobody else knows the terms and conditions of the loan agreement”, adding that “the exact amount being borrowed is shrouded in secrecy.
“A 1st Phase of the project costing Over N300 Billion, or maybe even the N828 Billion mentioned by others, coming mostly from a foreign loan is mind-boggling, to say the least. A rethink is not only needed but necessary.
“Based on the analysis of the present indebtedness of Kano State as provided for by the Debt Management Office (DMO) Nigeria, it is extremely difficult, almost impossible for Kano State to sustain any indebtedness beyond the current liability portfolio of the state.
“It needs to be noted that a rail project is never a project to be put in haste as we observed that it is neither in the medium nor long term plans of the State Government.
“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 statement further said, “after all, the Chinese have become world leaders in these aspects of transformative development.”
The group finally declared that “Kano Unity Forum would not give any self-serving politician the latitude to increase poverty and deprivation within the general public through ill-conceived public works.”
The Forum further cautioned that “we shall not be deluded by the attractive idea of a good return from the investment. Rail project world over is known as highly capital intensive with a very negligible rate of return on investment. It’s more of a social welfare project, especially in Less Developed Economies.
“In the event, however, KNSG chooses to remain impervious to this well-intentioned intervention,
we will diligently pursue court processes and other lawful means to stop the Light Rail project.”
The signed statement further assured the Chinese of its readiness to ensure the next administration in the state repudiates the
agreement altogether and disregard any responsibility for whatever money the Chinese expended on this project.