An aide to the Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Mr. Michael Nwabueze, has accused the Governorship candidate of the Labour Party in the state, Dr. Alex Otti, of lying over stoppage of a loan which the state government sought from the African Development Bank, AfDB, in 2017.
Otti, had in an interview with journalists confirmed writing to the authorities to stop the loan, stressing that the state government was yet to account for the federal allocations it had received and previous loans collected.
He alleged that the state government falsified documents to get the loan and did not seek the approval of the state House of Assembly about the loan request.
However, Nwabueze in a statement signed by him, insisted that the loan request was approved by the state House of Assembly, and explained that in 2017, Abia was among 10 states given accelerated approval to borrow a total sum of $1.5 billion from multilateral agencies and France, as well as the part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan whose approval the Presidency had sought in August 2016.
He stated that other states such as Kaduna, Ogun, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Enugu, Ondo and Katsina that got same approval with Abia State, had accessed the loan while Otti petitioned the authorities to stop Abia from getting the loan.
His words; “Otti claimed that there was no approval by the state House of Assembly for the facility, it was reported in some medium that “there were conflicting reasons why the loan was being applied for. While the Speaker of the then state House of Assembly reportedly said it was to be used for infrastructure development, a government source said it was meant to settle workers’ salary arrears.
“Obviously, the facility was approved by the state House of Assembly for infrastructure development whereas Otti’s phantom government official without name or designation told him in his dreams that the facility was for payment of workers’ salary arrears.
“In 2017, Abia was among 10 states given accelerated approval to borrow a total sum of $1.5 billion from multilateral agencies and France. As part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan whose approval the Presidency had sought in August 2016. The other states were Kaduna, Ogun, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Enugu, Ondo and Katsina.
“The loan approved for Abia was for Abia Rural Access and Mobility Project which was expected to deliver at least 10km of roads in each of the 17 LGAs with all relevant statutory approvals obtained and verified by the National Assembly before assent. All the other states duly obtained their respective facilities and used same to develop their states including states with much lesser repayment capacity than Abia. In any case, neither the federal government nor AfDB would approve a facility without verifying capacity to pay back and relevant legislative approvals.