Laleye Dipo in Minna
A former Niger State governor, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, has said that he did not leave an empty treasury for his successor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, contrary to claims by the new administration.
Aliyu also said he was not owing civil servants salaries as at the time he left office on May 29, 2015.
The former governor made the clarifications in Minna on Tuesday as he marked his 64th birthday with friends and well wishers at his private residence.
Aliyu challenged the government to make public the “handover notes” he left for the new administration to prove he was not speaking the truth.
He gave as an example the sum of N1.4 billion, which he said he left in an “escrow account” for the construction of the Minna international five-star hotel, adding that the money was meant for the payment of the developer after attaining a certain percentage of the job.
“To my surprise, the contractor was invited by this government and given the whole amount. After two months, he (contractor) disappeared from site and has not returned to finish the job.
“Am I to be held responsible? The government that invited and paid the contractor should be asked to account for the money,” Aliyu said.
He insisted that he negotiated and secured the approval for the $181 million Industrial Development Bank (IDB) loan for the dualization of the Minna-Bida road.
“The facility is not only for the dualization of the Minna- Bida road, the other component of the loan was the construction of a Bilingual Language Centre in Minna. We presented five items before the IDB team, only two were picked.
“I went to Jeddah to negotiate for the loan with some of my officials then. Some of them are still part and parcel of this APC government,” Aliyu said, asking the incumbent governor to crosscheck from these people.
He told the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the state that: “The issue on the ground is not about EFCC or ICPC, let the government come out clean that it has not collected the money.”
The former governor faulted the present approach of the government to the Minna- Bida road dualization project, saying that the plan by government to dualize only a certain section of the road and make the rest single lane ” is not acceptable.
“You cannot toll a single lane road. It is morally wrong. Our plan was to dualize the road from Kpakungu to Bida and toll it at both ends, the developer was to collect its money in 25 years,” he said.
Though the former governor supports the repairs to be carried out on some failed sections of the road, he nonetheless cautioned the government against wasting public funds if the entire road will be dualized.
“They should set about doing the major project instead of playing politics with the issue,” he said.
For the first time since leaving office, Aliyu commented on the crisis that plagued the state pension scheme in which his administration was said not to have accounted for about N6 billion being contribution by some workers.
He distanced himself from the allegation, saying that he had to borrow over N1 billion to settle pension arrears when he assumed office.