A political support group loyal to former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, has tendered a petition to the Chinese government, China Development Bank and the Nigerian Senate, demanding that the 684 million loan requested by the Kano State government for a light rail project be stopped forthwith.
The group under the auspices of Kwankwasiyya Movement, Kano State chapter, expressed worry that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje may be plunging the state into further debt that would mortgage the future of present and incoming generations whose lives were already threatened by immense poverty. Addressing newsmen in Abuja, spokesperson of the Movement, Aminu Abdulsalam, who accused the present government of embarking on what he described as a “reckless borrowing spree from both local and international financiers,” said it was a white elephant project capable of worsening the suffering of the masses.
While lambasting the state House of Assembly dominated by members from the All Progressives Congress (APC) for giving a blanket approval without recourse to the plight of the people, especially during the COVID-19 era, Abdulsalam raised concerns that Ganduje’s government was already neck-deep in a very weighty and messy allegation of corruption involving millions of dollars. Abdulsalam, who was the deputy gubernatorial candidate under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2019 polls, said given the negative socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, contracting more loans to be payable for up to 50 years or more, was ill-conceived, ill-timed and ill-planned, adding that the impact of previous loans received were yet to be felt.
In his words: “Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is once again in the process of renewing its effort of contracting a loan facility to the tune of €684,100,100.00 from China Development Bank for the financing of Light Rail Project in the state . “The total adjusted loan facility is equivalent to N299,533,228,785.00 at the Central Bank of Nigeria official exchange rate and N339,313,649,600.00 at the current parallel market exchange rate of N469.00 to one dollar.
“A state government, which is unable to sustain the standard set by the administration it took over from, in areas of education health, poverty reduction and enhanced social cohesion, has now resorted to ill-conceived white elephant projects.
“Our philosophy only allow for borrowing when it is extremely necessary and on critical programs or projects. It is on record that we inherited the sum of $200 million as loan for the purchase of mosquito nets under the roll back malaria programme, which was contracted between 2004 to 2010, but luckily for our state, we followed due process and exited from the loans component and subsequently our government further engaged in meaningful projects that at the long run eradicated the menace of malaria in the state.