Politics

Gov Sule, Al-Makura speak on ‘rift over N18bn’ debt

NASARAWA, Nigeria – Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and his predecessor, Sen. Umaru Al-Makura, have denied rumours of a rift between them over alleged inherited debt.

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The duo made the clarification at a joint press briefing in Abuja on Friday following a visit by Sule to Al-Makura, NAN reports.

“At no time have I stated that there was a debt of over N18 billion taken by Gov. Umaru Al-Makura and that it had stopped the running of government.

“For the purpose of clarification, I mentioned to stakeholders during the recent retreat for public office holders that we should all tighten our belts in view of the expenses ahead and the reduction in revenue accruing to the state from the Federation Account.

“I mentioned the need for us to all wake up and improve on our revenue base in order to continue to prosper as a state.

“I mentioned that currently, we are having some deductions from our allocation due to the federal government intervention such as the bailout, which is not peculiar to Nasarawa State,” the governor said.

According to him, debt in the sense being portrayed implied taking serviceable facility from banks, both local and foreign to embark on projects.

“As far as such debts are concerned, there is none taken by Governor Al-Makura and handed over to this administration.

“You cannot call bailout debt, you cannot call budget support debt because these are interventions given to states by the federal government as palliative to be deducted,” Sule added.

Sule maintained that he had great respect for Al-Makura, which had not and would not change given his efforts in developing the state.

On his part, Al-Makura said he considers Sule’s administration as a continuation of his government because they share the same values, vision and hope for the state.

“I am saying with every sense of sincerity that I did not go to any bank to take any loan on behalf of the state government while in office,” Al-Makura said.

He said those seeking to see himself and Gov. Sule fall apart should have a rethink.

“We are here to reassure the people of Nasarawa State that whoever is wishing to see that we have friction with the current administration in the state is chasing shadow,” Al-Makura said.

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