Plateau PDP Expresses Concern over Lalong’s Alleged Concession of Jos Market to Islamic Bank
Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Plateau State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concern over the alleged concession of Jos main market by the state Governor, Simon Lalong, to an Islamic bank (JAIZ Bank).
The market, which hosted traders from across Nigeria and West Africa in the past, had been in ruin since 2002 after it was gutted by fire. But Plateau citizens would rather leave it that way than to cede it to any Islamic organisation considering the religious sentiments in the state.
In a statement issued by the state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. John Akans, PDP said it has it on good authority that the state government has reached an advanced stage in signing a Memorandum of Understanding, (MOU) with JAIZ Bank with the view to handing over the entire market to the said bank to run for 40 years at the cost of N10 billion.
He added that: “This is coming just shortly after the governor informed Plateau citizens that over N4 billion has been spent by his government on the same main market without giving account of how it was expended.
The party said: “We dare to ask why Lalong is rushing to sign an MOU of N10 billion at the expiration of his tenure, and what happens to the N4 billion already spent on the same project?
“Lalong should explain to the Plateau people the logic in mortgaging a market with a fiscal multiplier effect in the state income that will benefit the citizens for N10 billion naira lease for 40 years, while founding flyover bridge costs of N18 billion; what is the ratio?”
The state PDP also accused the governor of making moves to convert public property in the state to private ownership and further loot the state finances ahead of the 2023 general election, saying: “It is very disheartening and sad that instead of Lalong to use his remaining few months in office to do something meaningful and people-oriented projects, he has chosen to continue with his reckless and fraudulent posture of looting the state.
“Under his watch, unprecedented corruption and betrayal of public trust have continued unabated. His imposed stooge, Nentawe Yilwada, is shamelessly going round campaigning for another chance to continue with the maladministration and looting of Plateau State.
“We see this action as a wholesome criminal act by the APC administration in the pilfering and conversion of public assets to private ownership and a deliberate and elaborate plan to leave the state bankrupt before handing over in 2023. No wonder some state civil servants were last paid in April 2022.’’
The party added: “We want to warn, particularly those involved in this criminal endeavour, to desist from this nefarious act of betrayal and lawlessness as we will hold them accountable for their conduct after they leave office.
We want to let the governor and his team know that we have the complete records of all inventory of Plateau State assets. We know what was handed over to him in 2015 by his predecessor as well as the true and present financial status of the state.’’