$350m loan: Deputy governor Bantex clarifies stand
The Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Arch Barnabas Bala Bantex has made clarification about his position on the $350m World Bank loan, putting to rest insinuations that he reportedly said no Nigerian State would get the apex bank’s approval if Kaduna lost.
In a strongly-worded media statement signed by the Deputy Governor and made available to Politics Today in Kaduna, Arch Bantex noted that an off-the-cuff remark by someone so passionate about the loan issue was in a bid to point out the moral burden on the Senators who approved the loans for States other than the Kaduna that they are representing.
Bantex, in the statement, also wondered why a loan approved by the House of Representatives, after the World Bank assessment team gave Kaduna a clean bill, should be rejected by the Senators representing Kaduna State for political reasons. He also expressed concern over the fact that the World Bank had since 20th June last year granted approval of the loan, only for their three senators to work against it.
Deputy Governor Bantex delivered an amazing speech, touching on the lingering complaints over the conduct of the three Kaduna Senators, at a function of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and spoke extempore briefly, leading to insinuations compelling him to make the clarification.
The $350 million World Bank loan issue has made the three Kaduna senators, Shehu Sani, Suleman Othman Hunkuyi and Danjuma Lah the butt of heavy media attack by people in the State for their suspicious roles in the rejection of the loan. There are fears that the rejection of the loan request by the Senators could undermine their political fortunes in Kaduna, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Full text of the Deputy Governor’s Media Statement
I wish to clarify statements I made yesterday at a ceremony of the Barnawa branch of the NBA, regarding the World Bank loan for Kaduna State.
As Deputy-Governor of Kaduna State, I am understandably unimpressed by the specious and unbecoming arguments that certain Senators employed to deny my state a loan for which the World Bank had adjudged it eminently qualified. This same Senate passed loan requests for other states, including some that the World Bank has not yet approved.
I therefore decided to point out the moral burden involved in refusing to endorse a loan request that had been approved for Kaduna State by the World Bank since 20 June 2017. If the World Bank’s positive assessment of the finances of a state is deemed irrelevant by the Senate, why would it accept the assessments made of other states by the same bank? If the House of Representatives endorsed the loan based on the facts before the honourable members, why should the Senate let the frustrations of a few individuals lead them to abandon facts for sentiment?
In trying to highlight these points, I inadvertently strayed beyond affirming my sense of outrage. It is certainly not for me to suggest how the World Bank chooses to relate with the Federal Government of Nigeria and its subnational entities. In fact, we do not wish the unfair treatment meted out to us on any other state or entity that is seeking development finance to build human capital and enhance their economic prospects.
I regret the insinuations that came in off-the cuff remarks I made after delivering the Governor’s prepared text at the NBA event. It is neither my view nor that of the Kaduna State Government. These views have already been well articulated by the Governor and the Commissioner of Finance.
Barnabas Yusuf Bala
Deputy Governor of Kaduna State
Tuesday, 17th April 2018