Okowa Debunks N850bn Loan Allegation

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, debunked insinuations in some quarters that his administration had borrowed over N850 billion since it assumed office in 2015 till date.

Okowa, who spoke in Asaba, at an interactive session with journalists, described the allegation as “a lie from the pit of hell.”

He said his administration only asked for a bridging-finance facility of N150 billion from a consortium of banks on N217 billion owed the state by the federal government, after an approval by the House of Assembly.

The governor said the required amount was later reduced to N100 billion, with necessary recourse to the House of Assembly, adding that out of the amount, the government got N91 billion, which had been utilised.

According to him, “Out of the amount, N10 billion was spent on state and local governments’ pensions, while the balance was deployed into projects we listed in the application to the House of Assembly, including the Koka Flyover and Interchange, Mariam Babangida Leisure Park and Film Village and Ughelli-Asaba Dualisation.”

While noting that the facility was not a loan as erroneously and mischievously insinuated by the opposition in the state “for cheap political point”, he said the projects had been completed and inaugurated while two were ongoing, and advised critics of his administration and those seeking the number one position in the state to speak the truth to people.

Okowa also said remarkable progress was made by his administration in healthcare delivery, education, infrastructural and human capital development, emphasising that no fewer than 2,000 kilometres of roads and1,000 kilometres of drains had been constructed by his administration.

He said the creeks and other riverside communities in Ijaw and Itsekiri lands had a fare share of road and bridge projects in spite of the cost, adding that the Ayakromo Bridge project was ongoing, with a new contractor in charge following its repudiation as a result of poor performance by the former contractor.

“The rumour that we have borrowed N850 billion was a lie from the pit of hell. It is unfair for anybody trying to be the governor of the state to deceive the people. We have structured our finances with superior thinking. When we borrowed money, we borrowed reasonably to finance our projects.

“We have constructed over 2,000 kilometres of roads in the state. We have constructed a lot of bridges and we are still constructing more. We are still working on the bridge on the Beneku River, the Orherhe Bridge project and others. We have revoked Ayakromo Bridge project and re-awarded it to a more competent contractor,” the governor said.

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