Dickson, Lokpobiri Clash over Bayelsa Debt

Seriake Dickson

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Governor Seriake Dickson and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, have again traded blames over the total debt owed by the Bayelsa State Government.

Lokpobiri, an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart had maintained that the state government owes N800 billion in debt.

He alleged that the state governor had received over N1.2 trillion from the Federation Account, with no serious achievement to show for it, arguing that Dickson had failed to live by the oath of his office.

But in a statement by Dickson’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, yesterday, the governor expressed shock that somebody of the status of a minister could show a ‘demeaning lack of capacity’ for a simple research to find out the truth about the true state of affairs in Bayelsa.

He referred the Minister to a report released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) in September 2018, which he said provided in details the debt profile of all the states of the federation as of June 2018.

He stressed that the DMO, the federal agency which is the authoritative body on states and federal government debt profile put the total debts owed by Bayelsa State at N123 billion.

According to Dickson, somebody with an analytical mind would know from the reports of the DMO that Bayelsa State’s debt as at 2007 was N27 billion representing N1.40 percent of the debts by all the state.

According to him, the current figure of N123 billion representing 3.54 percent of the total debts owed by the states showed in clear times a drastic reduction of the debt burden in spite of the recession occasioned by dwindling federal allocation and the execution of high profile projects in the state.

“It would have been considered sensible to ignore Lokpobiri because of his astonishing penchant for falsehood. However, it has become imperative to prevent this deliberate distortion of facts by unscrupulous politicians with evil intent in the interest of well meaning Bayelsans and Nigerians.

“Lokobiri’s claim that Bayelsa is owing N800 billion is is a falsehood that exists in his hallucinating mind. Figures released by the DMO put Bayelsa’s debt at N123 billion.

“This figure include contractual obligations, pension and gratuities, as the major components.

“The Governor wishes to say without equivocation that Bayelsa is not for bloodthirsty cultists and criminal. Lies and bloodletting which are the strongest credential of Lokobiri cannot create access to political control in our state.

“Lokobiri has failed to take advantage of his position and supposed contacts in Abuja to attract projects to Bayelsa. He should remain silent as he lacks the moral ground to make any commend on the development of Bayelsa,” Dickson maintain