Con­trac­tors want Kwankwaso probed over N200bn debt

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Yusha’u A. Ibrahim, Kano

Lo­cal con­trac­tors in Kano have urged the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to probe former Gover­nor of Kano state Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso over al­leged N200bn debts.

Chair­man, Kano state branch of Nige­ria Cham­ber of In­dige­nous Con­trac­tors, Al­haji Auduwa Mai­tan­garan, said the former gover­nor had vir­tu­ally crip­pled in­dige­nous con­trac­tors in the state be­fore he left for the sen­ate.

“We have lost over 40 mem­bers who died as a re­sult of ill­nesses they de­vel­oped fol­low­ing the de­lay in re­leas­ing their funds by the former gover­nor. Over 50 oth­ers were sent to pri­son be­cause of huge debt and more than 100 mem­bers are cur­rently on ad­mis­sion in var­i­ous hos­pi­tals cour­tesy of non­pay­ment of their monies,” he said.

He said Kwankwaso only paid 30 per cent of the en­tire projects he ex­e­cuted in four years, leav­ing be­hind 70 per cent un­paid. He said 50 per cent of in­dige­nous con­trac­tors had not been paid their monies.

“Al­haji Idi Bilya our mem­ber died of heart at­tack due to non­pay­ment of his money and an­other mem­ber Al­haji Ibrahim Car­pen­ter who has over

N50m with Kano state gov­ern­ment can­not pro­duce N5,000 now. This is wicked­ness,” he said.

Mai­tan­garan urged the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to probe the former gover­nor, say­ing more facts will emerge from him when probed.

How­ever, the chair­man com­mended the in­cum­bent gover­nor, Dr. Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje for his com­mit­ment to­wards res­cu­ing in­dige­nous con­trac­tors by given them the sum of N200m to set­tle some con­trac­tors.

On the N24bn loan to be se­cured by the Kano state gov­ern­ment, Mai­tan­garan said the union was in full sup­port of it, not­ing that the state is ca­pa­ble of off­set­ting it in the next 20 years.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the state com­mis­sioner of in­for­ma­tion, Al­haji Muham­mad Garba has ac­cused the former gover­nor of spend­ing the N4.1bn pen­sion­ers’ fund in build­ing houses for pen­sion­ers which they can’t af­ford to buy.

Garba al­leged that “Kwankwaso bor­rowed the sum of N4.1bn pen­sion­ers’ funds to build Bandi­rawo and Amana Hous­ing es­tates with the aim that pen­sion­ers could ben­e­fit from the houses, but when he re­al­ized that the houses are too ex­pen­sive for them to oc­cupy, he slashed their prices by 50 per cent and even at that the pen­sion­ers could not af­ford to buy the houses.”

In its ef­forts to re­solve the prob­lem, the present gov­ern­ment had met with the pen­sion­ers and agreed that a cer­tain num­ber of the hous­ing units in the two es­tates should be al­lo­cated to them as part of their en­ti­tle­ments, he said.

How­ever, re­act­ing to the al­le­ga­tions, Al­haji Alin Jal­laba, a po­lit­i­cal as­so­ciate of Kwankwaso, said what the former gover­nor did was not some­thing new in gov­ern­ment.

He ex­plained that “there are laid down rules and reg­u­la­tions on how to bor­row funds from one sec­tor to fi­nance an­other in gov­ern­ment. And I am sure the former gover­nor has fol­lowed due process be­fore he bor­rowed the funds.”

Jal­laba added that had the project been com­pleted be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion of Kwankwaso’s ten­ure, the houses would have been sold and the pen­sion­ers will also ben­e­fit from the prof­its gen­er­ated from the project.

He said in­stead of the in­dige­nous con­trac­tors to ac­cuse the former gover­nor, they should ap­peal to the in­cum­bent gov­ern­ment to off­set their debt gov­ern­ment.

“We should rather com­mend the former gover­nor for ini­ti­at­ing the project and for not bor­row­ing a sin­gle Kobo from out­side,” he said.

Photo: NAN

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Bu­ratai (left), ad­dresses some in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons (IDPs) at the Kuka Reta Camp in Yobe yes­ter­day.

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