Barnabas Bantex, deputy governor of Kaduna State, has expressed regrets over the comments he made on the senate’s rejection of $350m loan request by the state government.
Bantex, who represented Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state at the law week of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Barnawa, Kaduna chapter on Monday, had declared that the World Bank would not grant loan to any state without the inclusion of Kaduna.
But in a statement he personally signed on Tuesday, Bantex said he made “off-the-cuff” remarks at the programme.
“I wish to clarify statements I made yesterday at a ceremony of the Barnawa branch of the NBA, regarding the World Bank loan for Kaduna state,” he said.
“As deputy-governor of Kaduna state, I am understandably unimpressed by the specious and unbecoming arguments that certain Senators employed to deny my state a loan for which the World Bank had adjudged it eminently qualified.
“This same senate passed loan requests for other states, including some that the World Bank has not yet approved.
“I, therefore, decided to point out the moral burden involved in refusing to endorse a loan request that had been approved for Kaduna state by the World Bank since 20 June 2017.
“If the World Bank’s positive assessment of the finances of a state is deemed irrelevant by the Senate, why would it accept the assessments made of other states by the same bank? If the house of representatives endorsed the loan based on the facts before the honourable members, why should the senate let the frustrations of a few individuals lead them to abandon facts for sentiment?
“In trying to highlight these points, I inadvertently strayed beyond affirming my sense of outrage. It is certainly not for me to suggest how the World Bank chooses to relate with the federal government of Nigeria and its subnational entities.
“In fact, we do not wish the unfair treatment meted out to us on any other state or entity that is seeking development finance to build human capital and enhance their economic prospects. I regret the insinuations that came in off-the-cuff remarks I made after delivering the governor’s prepared text at the NBA event. It is neither my view nor that of the Kaduna state government.
“These views have already been well articulated by the governor and the commissioner of finance.”