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Ogun Students Petition Assembly Over State’s Rising Debt, N15b loan

By Bolaji Odunuga, Abeokuta

Students in Ogun State under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Joint Campus Committee, NANS JJC Ogun state axis, have raised alarm over the current debt profile of the state and the alleged plan by the Sen. Ibikunle Amosun’s administration to secure another N15billion loan.

In a petition made available to journalists in the state capital, Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria, on Monday, Falola Olasunkanmi, the Chairman of the state chapter of NANS, asked the Speaker of the state Assembly, Suraj Adekunmbi and his colleagues in the Assembly, to stop any attempt to pass any bill aiding the borrowing of another N15 billion.

“The House of Assembly should move a motion compelling the Executive to publish the debt profile of Ogun State within the next seven days in the national newspapers while no loan must be approved by the State House of Assembly until this is done” Falola declared.

The student leader, who expressed fear and suspicion about the shoddy approach to the borrowing, vowed to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the state does not take another loan expressing willingness to stop the excessive borrowings of the present government in the state.

In his words, Olasunkanmi said “In this particular case, we are sworn not to leave any stone unturned to stop what we consider wicked attempts to mortgage the future of the entire young citizens of Ogun State. If we keep mute the coming generation will never forgive us”.

The students however expressed their readiness to support loans that will be transparent and have direct positive impact on the people.

“If our demands are effected, Nigerian students will be forced to stage a peaceful march on Oke-Mosan in no distant future,” the student leader vowed in the statement.

Rumours went into town penultimate week that the Amosun administration wrote a letter to the state House of Assembly seeking permission to borrow  N15 billion.

Below is the unedited petition as written to the Speaker House of Assembly; Ogun

=A DRAFT OF THE PETITION BY NANS=

Monday, 3rd February, 2013

To:

The Speaker,

Ogun State House of Assembly

Through:

The Clerk,

Ogun State House of Assembly

Oke-Mosan,

Abeokuta

Rt. Honorable Speaker Sir,

RE: PROPOSED ₦ 15 BILLION LOAN BY OGUN STATE GOVERNMENT

The recent proposal by the executive arm of the State Government to secure a loan facility of ₦ 15 BILLION has become a serious concern to the entire population of Nigerian Students in Ogun State because we are in doubt of the sincerity of this process, we are not comfortable with it and therefore we want the loan process to be stopped forthwith.

We need to state, for the avoidance of doubt, that historically, the Nigerian students have been in the vanguard of struggle against anti-peoples policies by government, both at the state and national level. Nigerian students have stood against the Nigerian-Anglo Defence Pact in the 60s, and against obnoxious tuitons and levies on parents, exemplified by the now famous “Ali Must Go” protest in the late 70s.

In this particular case, we are sworn not to leave any stone unturned to stop what we consider another wicked attempts to mortgage the future of the entire young citizens of Ogun State.If we keep mute the coming generation will never forgive us

ISSUES

Sir, we shall support loans that will aid development of our State but having appraised the issue critically, some of the fundamental issues we have raised among ourselves are:

1. Sometimes in March 2013, there was a crisis in the House of Assembly over a proposed loan of N15billion but till date no public statement has been made to that effect and we remain in the dark over it.

2. We are aware that a Debt Management Office was to be set up by the government to engender a transparent process on loans and borrowings by the State Government, a bill was sent to the Assembly, passed and assented to by Mr Governor but till date, the whole Nigerian Students are in the dark over the stage we are on this.

3. We are also aware that the name of Mr Hassan Taiwo Adekunle was sent to the House of Assembly by the governor as the nominee for the Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO) and it was confirmed but our last check revealed that Mr Adekunle has been redeployed back to his previous post as the Director of Finance & Accounts of the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

OUR DEMAND

Sir, the entire Nigerian Students hereby demand as follows:

(1) The House of Assembly should move a motion compelling the Executive to Publish the Debt Profile of Ogun State within the next 7days in National Dailies.

(2) No Loan must be approved by the State House of Assembly until:

A. (1) Above is satisfied.

B. A debt management Office is created and activated in line with the Assented bill to that effect.

Failure of (1) & (2) above to be effected will force Nigerian Students to stage a peaceful march on Oke-Mosan in no distant future.

CONCLUSION

In view of the aforementioned, Nigerian Students plead with the Honourable members of the Assembly to use every means at its disposal to stop this unprofitable venture that the executive is to embark upon as there are no convincing and justified reasons yet why the loan should be taken.

While we remain confident of your office and the entire members of the House, be assured of our maximum cooperation.

Yours faithfully,

Falola A.Olasunkanmi
Chairman,
National Association of Nigerian Students (Ogun JCC)

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