…gives 21 days ultimatum to Edo PDP to refund all loans
Following reports of the role played by the Peoples Democratic Party-led administration in raising the debt figures of Edo State, with the collection of over N100 billion local and foreign loans, the Reform Mandate Forum (RMF) has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to halt the repayment of the loans obtained by the former PDP administration in the state.
In a letter entitled “Stop Paying Debts Incurred by the PDP” and addressed to the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, the group led by Chief Efosa Uyi-Wamagbe, said: “having x-rayed the issues recently raised by the Edo PDP with respect to the debt profile of Edo State, we are constrained to advise the Government of Edo State under the leadership of Godwin Obaseki to stop servicing the huge debts inherited from the PDP government in Edo State with immediate effect.”
Uyi-Wamagbe stressed that “as citizens of Edo State, we believe that every individual should account for his actions while in power and also give account to the people of the state when it is necessary. Sir it is our considered view that the former PDP government should be invited to address the people of Edo State on the various debts he incurred and what he spent them on.”
The group explained that “from our records, we noticed that the following debts were collected during his regime: N34billion from the African Development Bank for Water in Ojirami Dam, Ikpobha River Dam and the Ugboha Water Works projects in 2003; US$45million collected from the Paris Club to fund Benin Technical College rehabilitation in 2005; N3billion collected from the Chinese EXIM Bank in 2003 to dualise the Benin-Ekehuan-Gelegele road up to the Benin River estuary to open the Benin River Channel for business activities.”
The organisation maintained that these debts are verifiable in the Debt Management Office (DMO) data sheet, available, and in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) records. This debt over hang inherited from the PDP including the locally sourced loans from First Bank, Afribank and other banks amounts to over N100 billion today.
The group continued: “We noticed that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole did not make much noise about this inherited liability because as a responsible government, he thought that government is a continuum particularly when the debts were incurred for the overall development of Edo people.
“However, investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which later culminated in the prosecution of key actors in the former PDP government, shows very clearly that these monies were diverted for completely different purposes.
“Sequel upon the EFCC’s investigation and the judgement given by the Enugu High Court, we wish to call on the Governor of Edo State, to immediately stop servicing these loans and rather members of the PDP government should be invited to cough out all the loans incurred under their administration. This is because it is very clear except (otherwise proven by the Supreme Court) that the people of Edo State never benefited from the loans but were collected for personal aggrandisement.”
The group said it believes “very strongly that once they are able to take this liability away from the present government of Edo State, the debt liability hanging over the head of Edo State government will reduce and it will mean that only the World Bank loan incurred under Adams Oshiomhole will be left for repayment.”
Uyi-Wamaghe said that “as a responsible group we have followed very keenly developments in Edo State in the last ten years and we believe very strongly and more so with evidence that the Action Congress/All Progressives Congress-led government has demonstrated more responsible governance compared to the PDP led by a man who barely made a pass degree in History – Chief Dan Orbih.
“Mr Governor sir, kindly yield to our prayers to allow the former PDP government to refund all the loans purportedly collected on behalf of Edo people to enable your government concentrate on the repayment of the genuine loan given to Edo State by the World Bank which has been judiciously spent by former Governor Oshiomhole and right now the whole world can see what you are also doing with the inherited projects especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UBE, SEEFOR, CSDP, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other joint partnership projects which were never there under the PDP government.
“Sir, we give the Government of Edo state 21 days’ notice from the date of receiving this letter to call Mr Lucky Igbinedion to refund all our loans after which we will take the next steps as may be advised by our Board of Trustees.”