Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, who is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic loans said that no amount of threat will make him append his signature on the $350 million loan being requested by the Kaduna State government without meeting the required due process.
“No amount of protest or any form of intimidation can make me to append my signature on anything that is wrong; all requests must follow due process, such as verifying the debt profile of the state, whether or not the debt will be a burden on the state, among others,” Senator Sani made the clarification while speaking with newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
He described as ‘mischievous’ the insinuations from quarters in Kaduna State government and women protesters over the yet to be approved loan request by Kaduna State government, amounting to $350 million, linked to his person and by extension the committee which he heads.
Last week, some women protested and insinuated that the reason for the unapproval of the loan by the Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, which the Senator is the Chairman, was as a result of his (Senator Sani) political crisis with Governor Nasir el-Rufa’i.
But the Senator, who paid an unscheduled courtesy visit on the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State Council, while fielding questions from newsmen, said the insinuations that he was sabotaging the effort of the state government in getting approval for the loan was far from the truth.
He stated that over 22 states forwarded their requests through the President, which were forwarded to his committee for assessment, adding that other states were requesting for as low as $50 million, while some states are asking for $100 million and that about three states were requesting for about $200 million but Kaduna State alone was requesting $350million, also adding that of all these loan requesting states only in Kaduna was protest held.
“As a committee, we are committed to doing our job effectively without any form of sentiments or political inclinations and we will be guided by the law. We are aware that a loan of that magnitude will need to be repayed back in about 3-5 decades.
“I have a duty that the next generation don’t inherit debt that they cannot pay, and if debt must be left behind, a commensurate infrastructure to justify such debts must equally be left behind.
“On the long run, names of those asking for the loan, those protesting on the streets will not be seen on the file and those that will use the loan and the contractors will not have their names on the file, but those who approve the loan will have their names on the file.
“In view of this, we must ensure that things are done rightly. We must be convinced beyond reasonable doubt what the funds will be used for.
“We have approved for some states who have justified reasons for seeking the loan, and about 9 other states are still awaiting approval and their request is still being examined.
“We are working on the loan request from the remaining 9 states but political considerations will not be part of it. None of the loan request will get approval unless we are convinced of its judicious use,” he explained.
He emphasized that approval for a loan was not only the job of the Senate or his committee alone, adding that it also involved approval by the House of Representatives and it was always done publicly.
“So casting aspersions on my person or sponsoring people to protest against me is certainly not the way to go, the state government and the sponsors of the protest must have a rethink,” he noted.