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HURIWA backs Sokoto on #65.7 billion loan

*Commends Sokoto on educational revolution
By Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA)
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The prominent civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has endorsed the decision of governor Aminu Bello Tambuwal to approach multilateral funding agencies to raise a loan of #65.7 billion just as the Rights group praised Sokoto for having a state assembly that is alive to its duties and responsibilities towards upholding good governance.

HURIWA which is a media affiliated platform, lamented that some newspapers in a move to sell their copies decided to give the story a sensational slant to misreport that the Sokoto State governor was approaching lending institutions to borrow money that would be frittered away in buying exotic cars for politicians.

“As a respected human right body, when we read in a section of the media that the Sokoto state government plans to borrow #65.7 billion to buy cars for state officials, we became disturbed. We then decided to send our officials from Kebbi state to undertake a two day investigative tour of Sokoto state and to discreetly look for relevant information on the proposed loan. Our officials came back with qualitative and remarkably positive story to correspond with the official position of the Sokoto state government which has since denied that it planned to purchase cars with the humongous amount of loan. Our officials further verified that Sokoto has become the center of primary educational excellence following a lot of steps put in place and huge investments in primary school system by governor Tambuwal.”

HURIWA also disclosed that the team got a first hand briefing cross multiple sources that the Sokoto State Government announced its intentions to seek a N65.7bn loan to finance different projects in the state including purchasing cars and paying for Hajj – Muslim pilgrimage.

According to the information fed in to us in the HURIWA's head office, our officials attested to the verifiable and concrete evidence that the Sokoto state Commissioner for Information in the state, Isah Galadanchi, had explicitly offered lucid explanation of the decision to secure the loan which according to him was reached following an executive council meeting.

HURIWA quoting the report by the team which also stated that it got official confirmation from the Sokoto State government, the breakdown of the uses of the loan, N320m would be used to purchase cars for judiciary staff and N1bn for Hajj.

"The loan, which would be serviced in 36 months and would not be a liability to be inherited by successive governments, would be used to also facilitate education and health projects, the government said just as HURIWA confimed from multiple sources."

"Another N550m would be spent on procuring 200 generators to provide potable drinking water in rural areas, while N140m would be expended on the procurement of water resources implements.Also, N4bn would be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria agricultural loan facility as a counterpart funding."

HURIWA discovered that contrary to the sensational report misrepresenting the facts of the poroposed credit facility, the sum of N10bn would be sourced to finance the payment of contractors that would execute contracts awarded to them under the State Universal Basic Education Board. Other projects include N3bn for the procurement of fertilizer to be sold to farmers at subsidized rate and N5bn to be sourced for the provision of healthcare facilities within the state. Other developmental projects that would need loans to deliver them are the state housing project at Gidan Salanke, which needs N1.5bn.

HURIWA said :" We therefore think that the Sokoto state commissioner for Commerce, Bashir Gidado was right to have rejected the widespread insinuations in some media that the loans would be spent on irrelevancies. The commissioner had stated that this is a very unfair reportage. These loans have various components such as counterpart funds for Health, Education and Water and Sanitation. The loans are also meant to finance infrastructural developments like building of roads Schools, hospitals and many more. There is a component of these loans that are from CBN through Zenith Bank and Access Bank as Intervention funds for Agricultural Programs. Only a small amount is for purchase of vehicles for Judiciary Staff. There was also a component that is meant to bridge the gap and beat timeline for National Hajj Commission which would eventually be paid back by intending Pilgrims. There was a press conference after the Executive Council Meeting where details were provided, therefore am baffled by your selective headlines."

HURIWA in a statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf urged Governor Tambuwal not to be discouraged by the sensational report but to continue to provide selfless services to the good people of Sokoto State. "HURIWA wishes Sokoto State government the best especially because of the commitments of governor Tambuwal to REVOLUTIONIZE THE EDUCATIONAL SECTOR AND TO EMPOWER THE GIRL CHILD. The First Lady of Sokoto is doing well also".