Senator Shehu Sani Opens Up on the $350m Loan
………Says, issue should not be personalized
Zainab Tanimu —Kaduna,
North Central Nigeria.
Senator Shehu Sani is the Senator, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District and Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts. The Lawmaker who was on a courtesy visit to the Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat (NUJ) while answering question on the Kaduna State $350m loan opened up on the issue.
Every state he said would have to go through due process. The issue of him being a stumbling block therefore does not arise and that being the representative of the people, he owes it a duty ensuring that things are done the way it ought to be done.
He however expressed disappointment over the allegation on his person which was the basis for the recent protest by some group of women in part of Kaduna town. Kaduna state politics is smeared into the request for loan. He said.
“The National Assembly must be convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the loan must reflect with projects seeking to use the loan before such loan can be signed. The entire request must follow due process. It is not enough you telling us, this is what you want to do with the money. We have to verify number of things. Firstly, what is the debt profile of your state? And if you get this loan, would you be able to pay this loan and pay salaries? Would you be able to pay this loan and pay your contractors? And would this loan not be a burden to our children? Certain requirements must be met.
“I am telling you in earnest that we have approved for some states after verifying the project compliance on what they intended to do. And there are other states not approved; is not only Kaduna. We have about 9 states for which we are studding them gradually and if we are done with that and we are fully satisfied, we would pass the report to the national assembly in general. This is how the national assembly works. Even if my committee approved the loan, it would still be brought to the floor of the Senate before the 109 senators for final approval. Question would be put to them. Do the senate approve on such request, if you get yes, you can celebrate and if it is nay, you are over. Passing a loan request required a lot of processes and all these processes will be done in public and not behind a closed door”. So, before tabling any report to the larger house, one has to do its thorough work and that is what we are doing. Kaduna politics is simply smeared into this request but it is not going to help anybody. Not a sponsored protest can make Shehu Sani append his signature to what is wrong. For someone to say Shehu Sani is a stumbling block, the House of Rep. has not yet approved that of Kaduna. Why are they not a stumbling block? If the House of Rep. has not approved why don’t you reach out to the two sides? The way this things work is that if the senate approves and the House Rep. refuses to approve, you are not yet with the loan. If they approve and we refuse to approve, you are still not there. So this issue should not be personalized.
However, the Senator had raised concerned over the situation Kaduna State found itself expressing the fear that if the loan is eventually approved, in the next three to five decades, the state may not be able to pay the loan.
“If we borrow such amount of money and the money is not used according to what the money is meant for, the danger is that people may not trace the name of those who seek the loan but my name as the Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt that will appear on the file as the person who apex his signature on the file”.
Speaking on the organized protest, he has this to say, “I am a symbol of protests especially in Kaduna State without anybody paying me to do so, so whoever is doing protest in Kaduna is learning from me.”
The State House of assembly, the Senator maintained had achieved 85% of resolving the crisis in Kaduna until it was halted by protest.
“Two weeks ago l received delegation from Kaduna state. They came to my office for two things. They showed concern over the political crisis in Kaduna state and they are working towards resolving it. I appreciated them. We spoke and we understood each other. They came to Senator Lar from Sothern Kaduna and they came to Senator Hunkuyi. I must say that the State House of assembly has achieved 85% of resolving the crisis in Kaduna until some people felt that the best thing is to halt it because if this crisis is resolved, they are over. Secondly, they raised the issue of the loan of which l told them that we are working on it. The governor’s group is divided into two. There are those who are working towards resolving the problem of Kaduna. Resolving the crisis of the party and there are people whose future would be buried if there is dissolution of the crisis. There are also people whose relevance is maintained only if the crisis continues. So, it is left for him as a governor to choose which side to follow.