‘Zamfara govt committed to servicing Ecobank loan’
The Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bauchi State, Alhaji Sani Gwamna Mayanchi, had explained the state government was committed to servicing its loan to Ecobank, but had been constrained by the financial crisis that had hit all the states due to crash in crude price on the international market.
Ecobank Nigeria Plc had taken the Zamfara state government and six others to court over a N1.5 billion loan the latter allegedly obtained in 2009 by the Alhaji Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi administration from Oceanic Bank Plc, which Ecobank later acquired.
On September 30, 2015, Justice Okon Abang of a Lagos Federal High Court ruled that the AccountantGeneral of the Federation should ensure Zamfara State began paying the judgment sum with interest from deductions from its funds in the Federation Account. The judgment sum, with interest, as ordered by Justice Abang, totalled N3.1bn.
But the Zamfara State government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) appealed the judgment and prayed the High Court for a stay of execution.
Last Tuesday, Justice Abang dismissed the prayer and instead, ordered commercial banks in which Zamfara state’s funds are domiciled to appear before the court on November 6, 2015 to explain why such funds in their hold should not be seized to settle Ecobank’s loan.
Mayanchi told the Daily Trust yesterday that the state government was still going ahead with its appeal, but nevertheless, the state government has “a clear agenda for repaying the loan.”
The APC spokesman explained that when the incumbent government of Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari assumed office, “it realized part of the loan had been serviced by the government that secured it.” Consequently, Gov Yari, he said, met the management of the bank and both parties agreed the loan would be repaid instalmentally.
“How do they expect the state government to pay N3.1bn at the current situation? The state governments have been enmeshed in financial crises and can’t even pay salaries,” Mayanchi stated.
The Ecobank management was insisting on the execution of the court order, as told the Daily Trust yesterday by Mr Austin Osopkor, the bank’s Head of Corporate Affairs. The Gombe State Agency for Microfinance Banks has explained that the customer based in newly established 11 micro finance banks in the state has hit over 50,000.
The Special Adviser of the Gombe State Governor on Microfinance banks, Alhaji Mohammed Adamu Damji stated this yesterday in Gombe, Damji said the number indicated the acceptability of the 11 microfinance banks in each of the 11 local government areas of the state.
He said the banks were established after the state received N2 billion from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost the economic activities of rural dwellers.
Damji said the banks kicked off successfully with sound credit facilities and presently have over 50,000 customers in less than one year.
He said the banks distributed soft loans to over half of their customers who have started paying the loans despite challenges of insecurity that affect the north eastern part of the country.
From left: Permanent Secretary FCT, Engr. John Chukwu; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Dauda Shuaibu Kigbu; Representative of the President, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal; Managing Director SCC Nigeria Ltd Engr. Yuval Levy and Group Executive Director Exploration & Production NNPC Dr. Maikanti Baru, during the official commissioning ceremony of the ultra modern steel pipe manufacturing mill, held at Ushafa, Abuja yesterday.