By Bomba Dauda, Kaduna
A Former Attorney General of Kaduna State, Mark Jacob Nzamah, has chided governor Nasiru el-Rufai’s $350 million loan request, describing it as a catastrophic tsunami.
Elanza News reports that el-Rufai’s loan request is more than the total debt profile of Kaduna state which was incurred in the last 30 years.
But Mark Jacob said that all the institutions concern should put the interest of the ordinary people of the state above government interest saying that the loan request which will take from 5 to 50 years for the state to service is needless.
Nzamah stated this while responding to questions from Elanza News concerning the loan request by the el-Rufai’s led government.
Kaduna is one of the highest indebted states in Nigeria after Lagos. Kaduna is also the highest indebted states in Northern Nigeria, according to findings.
The debt profile of Kaduna state stood at about $234 million that was incurred over years but the present government of el-Rufai is seeking a loan of $350 million from world bank and other financial institutions.
“I personally have issues with the debt profile of Kaduna state before now, and now that governor el-Rufai has applied for a fresh loan further increased my skepticism,” Mark Jacob said.
The lawyer said it was a thing of immense worry, especially when taken into cognisance the state debt profile which stood at $234m as at April, 2015, which comprises the debt incurred over the years.
“Today, we have a governor who has applied for $350m additional loan and if allowed to come to fruition, it will double the state profile,” Mark Jacob said.
Mark Jacob slammed el-Rufai for not considering paying the existing loan but, rather, he wants to add to the debt burden for the next generation to pay.
Nzamah further stated that, he find it very scary the way El-rufai is piloting the affairs of the state adding that if caution is not applied, “we may be heading towards a catastrophic tsunami that it will take us years to reverse.”
“The government, if it has the interest of the people at heart should show particular interest in the people and care about their future but, this is not the case.”
“Kaduna state is second to Lagos when it comes to states with higher debt profile,” Nzamah said, adding that, “Lagos can justify its loan because they are constantly building bridges and roads and a sustainable power generation that ensures efficient supply.”
“If El-rufai applied for the loan at the commencement of his tenure, it would have been sensible but, it doesn’t add up for a government that have barely one year plus to go and is seeking for external loan.”
“Beside, the fact that there is huge debt profile, the timing for another loan is absolutely wrong which shows clearly that the loan is targeted at something else and not development.”
“It is just like a father going to mortgage a family land while on a dying sick bed is mark of irresponsibility and careless disposition of the future of his children. I learnt that the loan will be used for the refurbishing of institutions, blanket provision of developing infrastructures. These are generic terms mostly used by politicians to cover the wholesome distribution of public funds to political jobbers, friends of the governor and family members. So, in summary, I see no reason for the loan application,” Mark Jacob said.
“From 2015 to date, the records available indicate that the state government has engaged in wasteful distribution of state resources and is deeply embedded in act of nepotism in terms of government execution of projects.”
“Recent publication by Restoration Group (APC splinter group) highlighted the mismanagement of state funds and acts that borders on the integrity of the government. As far as the management of public resources are concerned this government has the worst record in-terms of transparency and the just utilization of public funds,” Mark Jacob said.
“Having failed the integrity test, therefore, it will be wrong for anybody to support that more funds should be placed in the hands of such government.”
“Kaduna state is one of the states facing query on Paris Club funds. We have heard some governors stating openly what they have done with the Paris Funds but we are yet to hear what Kaduna state government have done with its own. Kaduna state got a refund of N15, 443, 458, 455. 10m ranking the fifth highest recipient in the country. There is no record of what these monies was used for. Given this backdrop, a government that has no courage to account for funds so far received should not be trusted with more funds, especially when such monies is coming from repayable loan,” Mark Jacob reiterated.