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Following the controversies that trailed the deal by the Plateau State Government and an Islamic bank (Jaiz Bank) to rebuild Jos Main Market, Governor Simon Lalong has warned politicians from using economic initiatives as a campaign weapon which has the danger of scaring away investors from putting their money in the state.
The governor described the controversies as unnecessary and a distraction orchestrated by politicians who want to score cheap political points.
Lalong, who as at the foundation laying and unveiling of the Palm Estate in Dwei, Du District of Jos South Local Government Area being developed by Odigbo Properties Ltd, described the initiative as one of the benefits of restored peace and stability in the state
He commended the developer for choosing the state to provide housing for the citizens who are in need of houses due to the huge deficit in the sector.
On the Jos market, he said, “Let me make it abundantly clear that the Jos Main Market will forever remain the property of the Plateau State Government managed by the Jos Main Market Authority while the 40 year lease is for individuals that will buy the shops and not Jaiz Bank. I appeal to our people not to pay attention to the propaganda and political exaggerations being peddled that the market will be sold out to an Islamic bank.
“Apart from the fact that all willing and able citizens will get the opportunity to buy the shops, government will ensure that nobody is excluded or given undue advantage on account of faith, political affiliation or ethnicity.
The market is going to be run as a business and nothing else. I plead with our citizens not to make utterances or take actions that will scare away investors from coming into the state particularly at the time when we are gradually rebuilding the economy. Even though we are at a political period, let us always separate politics from governance as Plateau State is greater than our individual ambitions.”
The people of the state have been worried that Lalong did not contract the building of the market to any other commercial bank but an Islamic bank. They feared that given the religious sentiments that characterise the state, the 40-year contract shouldn’t have been with an Islamic bank that could result in a religious crisis in the future.
But Lalong has insisted the Islamic bank was the only one that indicated interest in the contract that will last for 40 years with the bank taking control of 60 per cent of the market.