Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, has been urged to stop borrowing excessively to avoid mortgaging the future of the state through accumulated debts.
Gombe Good Leadership Association, a group in the state, made the call to the governor, who turned 60 recently, in a statement signed by one Mohammed Salisu Abdullahi, a trustee of the movement.
It read, “We have been tracking the spate of borrowing by the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya-led government in Gombe State and have noticed that it has borrowed well over N44 billion in just a little over two years and yet he is embarking on obtaining another loan of N35 billion from the Capital Market.
“Already, the Gombe State Executive Council on October 6, 2021 gave its approval for the loan and directed the Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning to write to the Minister of Finance to issue an ISPO of N665,605,647.90 monthly to allow deductions from the state’s federal allocation in settlement of principal and interest accruing on the Suku through a sinking fund to be created for the purpose and the payment of the financial advisory.
“’Service fees of 0.005% of the sum of N175,000,000.00 to Finmal Finance Services Ltd’ (a company owned by Umaru Kwarianga, Chairman of Gombe Investments and Property Development Company, and Campaign Manager of Governor Yahaya’s 2019 election) is worrisome.”
The group argued that debts should only be incurred by the state for the purpose of fast-tracking development at a reasonable cost.
“What is particularly concerning to us is that these excessive borrowings that come with a crushing socio-economic burden and impact on the state are not stimulated or urged by urgent and realistic needs of the state. This irresponsible borrowing if not checked or curbed will end up crippling the state and subject its people to long term economic slavery.
“State debts should not be acquired at the whims and pleasure of state executives but for the sole purpose of fast-tracking development at a comparatively reasonable cost.
“We call on the governor of Gombe State to within seven days of this publication publish in at least one national daily newspaper and one other circulating within the state details of all the debts it has procured including the amounts, purpose for such debts and their link to the development agenda of the government,” it said.
The group warned all banks, which have granted loans to Gombe State to be ready to face legal action should they fail to comply with all regulatory requirements concerning such transactions.
“We are worried that despite the borrowing of humongous sums and of course the earnings of the state from FAAC and IGR, Gombe State is getting poorer by the day, its infrastructure, public institutions and departments are deteriorating at an accelerating rate.
“The rising profiles of the education and health sectors of the state under the previous governments are dimming, and no aspect of the state can be said to have been positively impacted by this borrowing government.
“Indeed, the state is falling apart and the present borrowing spree is indicative of the cluelessness of Governor Yahaya and his team. The government has on paper been awarding contracts but we state boldly that the reality on the ground is not reflective of such contracts,” the statement added.