JUST IN: Crisis Rocks Akwa Ibom Over N150 Billion Loan
Information reaching Ibom Focus says that Crisis Rocks Akwa Ibom Over N150 Billion Loan
A fresh attempt by Governor Udom Emmanuel to coerce members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly into approving a fresh loan, a month after receiving a 4.7 billion Naira Loan in January 2022, met a brick wall and caused commotion in the Assembly.
A source told our reporter on Saturday, 26th February, 2022 that the request was met with protest as members feared a possible public backlash if the latest loan request is approved.
This did not go down well with the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, who was said to have been directly mandated by the Governor to ensure total compliance of members.
According to some members of the Assembly, the latest move has generated a huge storm in the Assembly as members lament that they are being used as conduit pipes by Udom Emmanuel.
A good number of members reportedly directed the Speaker to tell the Governor to stay action on his latest request, or disclose the purpose of the loan, how it would be spent, repayment plan and life span of the loan.
In a desperate move to contain the members who were against the loan request, the Governor directed the Speaker to negotiate a deal with them, promising to grant automatic tickets to members seeking second term or higher elective offices, contracts to first term members who are not seeking second term, slight increase in imprests among other juicy promises.
The members also reasoned that the governor can’t claim to be using the funds for projects completion since virtually no project has been commissioned in recent times.
When Ibom Focus sent message to Hon. Commissioner of Information, Ini Ememobong through Facebook messenger on this allegation, he refused to respond.
Ibom Focus also notice that the commissioner always Refused respond when sending him message about Akwa Ibom issues.
A source who pleaded anonymity said: ” We are watching with dismay, the litany of failed projects scattered around the state. Is it the Etinan – Uyo road? Where are the mini industries he mentioned some months ago? Where are the Mexican cows he promised? Where are the CCTVs that the house approved a huge sum for after the endSARS protest? Our retired primary school teachers have been scammed by the governor who asked them to go for verification exercise, and thereafter did nothing as we are talking now. He should come clear on how he spent the previous loans and what he wants to use this one for.”
He stated that another worrisome financial recklessness on the governor is the issue of the refunded N 171 billion from the federal government, which he denied collecting, but later admitted that he used it to clear the debt the state owed the First Bank PLC which was N141 billion.
The action of some of the Assembly members, according to our checks, is also buoyed by their disagreement with the Governor on his choice of Pastor Umo Eno as his preferred successor.
They see it as payback time as the Governor is suspected to use recent loans to bankroll the ambition of his anointed aspirant. Despite a ceremonial endorsement of Umo Eno by the House, it is known that individual members have their choice aspirants. It was gathered that the said ‘endorsement’ came after Governor Udom threatened members who disagree with the choice with impeachment.
Another source who would not want his name mentioned said that individual members were miffed with the governor for paying attention to non important projects. He queried, “how do you commit billions to building a worship center and promoting your candidate to ensuring the welfare of the citizen?” He commended the house for rejecting such moves by the governor and insisted that the governor is doing it to make his successor suffer for paying unnecessarily heavy loans having known that his anointed candidate will fail the guber election.
It would be recalled that before the January 2022 loan, the Assembly had approved 18.7 billion Naira, 7 billion Naira and 10 billion Naira respectively for the Governor in 2021 alone.
While the loan debate continues to rage in the state, an attempt by the Leader of the Assembly, Udo Kierian to justify the 18.7 billion Naira backfired as he was severely criticized for saying: “afterall 30 years from now, I’m not sure how many of us will be available to repay this one. So, for me, I think it is good enough for us to tie into it.”
The internal debt profile of the state stood at approximately 2.42 Trillion Naira as at the end of June 2021, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
Crisis Rocks Akwa Ibom