Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Debt politics: Shehu Sani speaks on Kaduna’s $350m World Bank loan

Shehu Sani, a former senator representing Kaduna Central, says he was insulted for rejecting the $350 million World Bank loan request by the government of Kaduna under Nasir El-Rufai.

Sani spoke in an interview with journalists on Sunday. On March 30, Uba Sani, governor of Kaduna, disclosed that the state is heavily indebted and unable to pay salaries.

Reacting to the governor’s statement on the huge debt profile of the state, Sani said if his advice had been heeded, Kaduna would not have found itself in the present predicament.

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In 2018, Sani and two other senators from Kaduna State — Suleiman Hunkuyi, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Kaduna North senatorial zone; and Danjuma Laah of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna south-central senatorial zone — rejected moves by El-Rufai to take a $350 million World Bank loan.

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Sani and Hunkuyi eventually lost their bids for re-election and were replaced by Uba Sani and Suleiman Kwari who lobbied for the approval of the loan.

Eventually, the senate rejected the loan request by the Kaduna state government, following stiff opposition by the three senators from Kaduna state.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai left $587m, N85bn debts, 115 contract liabilities for us – Gov Sani

At the time, Sani was the chairman of the committee on local and foreign debt — the senate panel that rejected the loan.

In May 2018, El-Rufai, while flagging off a campaign for local government elections in Kaduna, angrily rained curses and insults on Sani, Hunkuyi, and Laah for rejecting the loan and called on the people to “shave their beards and heads whenever they come to Kaduna”.

Despite the opposition, El-Rufai confirmed the approval of the loan in 2019, explaining that he had backed up the loan request with pictures of rundown schools.

“The hour of reckoning has come for every citizen of the state,” Sani said, reacting to the current fiscal challenges in Kaduna.

“I was insulted for saying no to that loan. The hour of reckoning is here to every person in Kaduna state.

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“Just like the way Lot (in the Bible) warned people, prophets of the past warned people, but they refused to hear and then you see pedition and affliction.

“In the same way, I warned the people of this state, but they were told that the money will bring paradise — land of milk and honey.

“Today, you can see the problems at hand as far as that loan was concerned. If you look at what I said about this state, there has never been any of my predictions that has not come to pass. Today the state is strangulated because of that money which we couldn’t pay.”

“We borrowed $350 million when the naira was N400 to the dollar and we are going to pay when the naira is what it is today.”

The ex-senator said if people had heeded what he had said and “understood me and agreed with me, we couldn’t have been where we are today.”


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