The recent publication by Sahara reporters discrediting the humble efforts of Kaduna State government in giving the state a befitting turn around in both infrastructure and social development prompted the state government to respond to the publication and refer it as a cheap and porous blackmail on the state leadership.
The Media and spokes person of the governor Mr. Ahmed Maiyaki wrote in defense of the state government and stating facts and detailed analysis of the entire project in question.
Titled “The False And Malicious Media Attacks On Governor Yero”
In it Mr. Ahmed describe the sponsored article as ridiculous and damaging to the entire state.
“We view this as unfortunate and an attempt by some agents of chaos to cause disaffection in the state by dragging media outfits to their level of abysmal reasoning and selfish motives.” Mr. Ahmed Said.
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The False And Malicious Media Attacks On Governor Yero
A dangerous trend has been observed in the operation of some media outfits where stories are published without regards to the important ethical requirements of balance and fairness. Many editors have either by omission or commission made public allegations against persons or institutions without waiting to get the response of the other party. This is most unfair and a gruesome rape of media practice which should be hinged on objectivity and accuracy.
It is on this basis that we view the story published by Sahara Reporters on funding of the ongoing Zaria Water Project by the Kaduna State Government. The story was not only a manifestation of deliberate collusion by some aggrieved persons to smear the person of Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero and the state government, but also a pointer that the media may dangerously be playing into the hands of elements that are bent on creating confusion in the society through the spread of falsehood. The story by SaharaReporters titled “Correspondences Reveal How Kaduna Governor Illicitly Diverted $81 Million Loan On Zaria Water Project” is a mere conjecture weaved out of the skewed imaginations of its sponsors. It is further disheartening that no effort was made by the reputable online medium to verify its facts from the state government.
However, to put the records straight and to also provide correct information to the public, we have sourced for official documents that should have guided the editors in publishing what is fact and not fiction. First, the said loan from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) which was the crux of the story has not even been signed. The loan is a tripartite agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Kaduna State on one side and the IDB on the other, but as at this moment, the agreement between the Federal Government and the IDB is yet to be signed. This can be verified both from the bank and relevant agencies of the federal government.
It is therefore an act of mischief and display of crass ignorance on workings of government for anyone to suggest that the loan has been diverted by the state governor. We view this as unfortunate and an attempt by some agents of chaos to cause disaffection in the state by dragging media outfits to their level of abysmal reasoning and selfish motives.
The Zaria Water Project is a multi phased project that comprises of several components. Phase 1 is the construction of Zaria New 150 million liters per day water treatment plant, phase II is construction of Transmission Mains and Service Reservoir, phase III is the rehabilitation of extension and distribution network while the final phase is pipeline extension to benefitting Local Governments. On its part, the Federal Government is constructing the 186 million cubic meter multipurpose Galma Dam at Kuzuntu, the dam is to provide additional water to the Zaria water treatment plant.
The $81 million loan from the IDB is for the second phase of work and it is to provide four (4) dedicated new transmission mains from the 150MLD Water Treatment Plant to service tanks. It is also to fund construction of ten (10) number service reservoirs and two (2) new booster stations. Though the IDB loan is yet to be accessed by the state, nevertheless, government has revised the Detailed engineering design and had prepared the Tender Document for the speedy take off of the project once the conditions for project and disbursement effectiveness are achieved.
Meanwhile, Government has continued relentlessly the implementation of Phase II of the project. The contractors are showing uncommon commitment towards completing the project. A visit to the site could have also assisted the Sahara Reporters to make accurate judgment.
Overall progress work on the Zaria Water Treatment Plant project is presently 86% with progress on civil engineering work at 80% while mechanical and electrical work is at 6 %. However equipments for mechanical and electrical works are already delivered to the site and are being fixed by the contractors. The federal government has also reached 98% percent on the construction of the Galma dam which is an important component of the Zaria Water project. We challenge those making contrary claims to come out with documents that contradict these facts.
A check at the State House of Assembly also shows that the IDB loan as requested with the full support of the legislature. A report of an ad-hoc committee of the House that was chaired by Hon. Matoh Dary Dogara in 2012 reveals that the Assembly after an extensive investigation, recommended that the state should access the IDB loan for the purpose of completing the water project.
Part of the recommendation of that report signed by Hon. Dogara and the committee secretary, Abubakar Musa Al-Hassan provides “that, in view of the fact that full benefit of the whole project will not be realized even if projects on Galma Dam and the Water Treatment Plant are completed without access to the IDB loan to execute the remaining two phases, this Hon. House do resolve and request His Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Distinguished Senators and Hon. Members Representing the state at the National Assembly and Hon. Ministers from Kaduna State to join the state government in fast-tracking the access to the foreign loan and increase budgetary provisions for Galma Dam project.”
It therefore rather sad that due to political misgivings, some of those that have worked assiduously for the realization of the Zaria water project are today trying to throw spanner in the wheel of its progress. We are not unaware of those behind this desperate media campaigns and their wicked but failed mission of attempting to sway the massive goodwill and support that Governor Yero enjoys from the entire people of Kaduna State.
The Yero administration has already demonstrated genuine commitment to the good of the people of Kaduna state and will remain undeterred even in the face of unrelenting smear campaign being sponsored by some aggrieved politicians in the state. The Governor is committed to the completion of the water project and all other projects that were initiated by past administrations in the state. It is no longer news that the cardinal objective of the Yero administration is continuity.
We wonder how an $81 million IDB loan that is yet to be signed by parties involved in the agreement could be diverted by the Governor. We also urge the spin doctors of the negative media reports and their paymasters to know that every penny of that loan is already tied to a specific component of the project and cannot be diverted for any other purpose. That is part of the agreement. At the moment even though the financing is not yet effective progress towards speedy take up of Phase II is being made.