Kano elders under the auspices of Kano Unity Forum have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking the halting of a move by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje to obtain multi-billion-naira loan from China Development Bank.
Recall that in July 2020, the Kwankwasiyya Movement had also dragged the state government to court over plan to secure €684,100,100.00 from the CDB for the financing of a light rail project in the state.
The petition signed on Thursday by the leader of the group and former Presidential Candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention, NRC, Bashir Tofa, also expressed reservations against the insistence of the governor to obtain the said loan.
Copied to the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of Finance, China government and others, the petition expressed doubt in the loan request, saying that “the exact amount being borrowed is shrouded in secrecy”.
The petition 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.”
“Based on the analysis of the present indebtedness of Kano Sate 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, the group cautioned.
“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.
“After all, the Chinese have become world leaders in these aspects of transformative development,” the petition stressed.
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 is more of a social welfare project, especially in Less developed economies.”
The group, therefore, warned that if the state government refused to heed to their call, they would “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 country expended on the project.