John Adams, Minna
Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ahmed Marafa Guni, has explained why the house, on Tuesday, rejected the request by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, to access N21.5 billon Sukuk bond for infrastructure development.
The speaker, in an interview with journalists, in Minna, yesterday, said the house discovered a lot of discrepancies in the bond deal and, therefore, decided to send it back to the Executive. He said the rejection of the governor’s request should not be interpreted to mean that the legislature is at loggerhead with the executive, stressing that the decision was in the best interest of the state.
“The impression should not be created that the legislature is at loggerheads with the executive.“
The house had, at its plenary, on Tuesday, after receiving the report of the special committee on Sukuk bond, headed by Alhaji Abdulmalik Kabir, rejected the governor’s request and said there were hidden costs in the loan which would tie down the state for several years.
The speaker said the request could still be re-presented if those discrepancies are addressed. “The submission of the report does not put an end to the whole issue of Sukuk; if the state still needs the facility, they can represent it after studying all our observations,” he said.
Meanwhile the state government has reacted to the rejection and said it earlier asked the house to step down the request. In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Danjuma Salau, it said it had asked the lawmakers to stop deliberation on the request since Thursday last week.
The government said it had asked the assembly to stay action on the request because of insinuations in some quarters that the money was meant for the 2019 general election campaign.