The Adamawa State House of Assembly on Monday approved a request by Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to take a N100 billion loan.
The sheer size of the loan request immediately triggered heightened interest in the opposition circle, with a member of All Progressives Congress (APC) leading a verbal protest against it right on the floor of the House.
The House itself had underlined the potential of the request to raise public uproar when it made the planned sitting a top secret, keeping information about it from even highly placed administrative staff of the House and the press crew.
When the House finally sat, newsmen who heard what started as an unverified speculation, rushed to the House complex when sitting was eventually about to commence but were barred from entry into the Press Gallery or anywhere near the floor of the House.
Multiple sources disclosed after the sitting, however, that the House had approved Governor Ahmadu Fintiri’s request to accept bond facilities to the tune of N100 billion.
Discrediting the process leading to the loan approval, the member of the House representing Verre constituency, Abdullahi Umar Yapak who is of the opposition APC, said the process did not follow due process.
Yapak who is the Chairman of House Committee on Interparliamentary, Labour and Employment, said he had to walk out of the plenary when the acting speaker, Pwamakeno Mackendo who led the session, insisted on the loan request being granted.
Yapak said, “I received a text message yesterday that we should convene at the assembly complex. I was not told what the sitting was for.
“When we came in, the deputy speaker who led the plenary in acting capacity brought three letters and I rejected all the three letters. But what baffles me much is the N100bn loan which the governor is seeking.
“I objected to that because there are procedures, there are financial regulations which we have to abide by. There is provision in 2021 budget, a column for domestic borrowing and in that column, we approved only N20bn. Because of that I staunchly stood my ground that we should not approve a loan above N20bn.
“What took place in the House today was wrong because the poor man in the village will not understand what we are doing here. I advised that they should split it to N25bn this year, next year and the remaining two years, they still objected.”
He said he had to walk out of the House after his call for obedience to procedure and House standing rule was ignored.
Governor Fintiri who had on assuming office in 2019 complained that he inherited N140 billion loan, had, before the current N100 billion request, obtained about N27bn loans, including N15 billion infrastructural loan, N9.9bn housing loan, and N2bn COVID-19 loan.
It was not immediately clear what the new N100 billion loan request was for, but our correspondent gathered that the government had earlier said it meant it for development of the agricultural sector.
A statement passed to newsmen in the wake of the controversy over the loan request, indicated that the Adamawa State Executive Council had on Wednesday last week approved the issuance of N100 billion bond “for the Adamawa State Agric Business Support for the period of four years.”
The state Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Dr Umar Garba Pella, was quoted in the statement as disclosing the reason for the bond while briefing newsmen shortly after the council meeting presided over by Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.
The Commissioner said the Council also approved establishment of Adamawa State Agric Business Support Programme, Five agencies and the repositioning of the Agricultural Development Programme.
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