Kano Unity Forum, headed by a former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, against moves by Governor Ganduje to take over N300 Billion loan from China.
The elders who are local based and specialized groups on Thursday expressed grave reservations against the insistence resolve of the Governor to obtain loan from China Development Bank to construct phase 1 component of Light Mono Rail project in the State metropolis.
The petition signed personally by elder statesman, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa on behalf of Kano Unity Forum and made available to newsmen, explained 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”.
The strongly worded statement noted that, “A 1st phase of the project costing over N300 billion, or may be 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.”
Tofa in the signed statement stressed that “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.”
The Forum cautioned that, “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.”
The Kano stakeholders stated that, “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”, adding that “after all, the Chinese have become world leaders in these aspects of transformative development.”
The Group 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 cautioned that, “We shall not be deluded by the attractive idea of good return from the investment. Rail project world over are 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. “