Yahaya Bello is Plunging Kogi State Into Debt – James Faleke

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Member of the House of Representatives James Faleke has accused Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello of plunging the state into debt.

According to Faleke, the governor borrowed over N35 billion from two banks less than two years after assuming office, saying the profligacy of the governor has plundered the state into a debt that would take between 15 to 20 years to repay.

He lamented that despite the high indebtedness and huge resources that had accrued to the state under Yayaha’s watch, “there is nothing to show for it”.

A statement signed by him reads: “My heart bleeds for Kogi. I am constrained to step out once more to raise an alarm over the unmitigated profligacy of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, leading the state currently reeling under the weight of some burdensome local bank loans with a repayment plan of more than 15 years.

“Rather than find ingenuous ways of liquidating the debt bequeathed to him by his predecessor, the governor is raising the state’s debt portfolio. The previous government of Idris Wada owed two or three months’ salary when he left office, and handed over a debt of about N800 million only.

“The total debt portfolio was about N45 billion, inclusive of pension arrears. With the intervention of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Wada requested for N50 billion to enable him clear the salary arrears and another bail out of N10 billion for infrastructural development.

“This N50 billion was to be used as follows:

–           N5 billion for two months’ salary arrears of state workers.

–           N45 billion for local government workers and pensioners arrears”.

“Before the funds were released, Wada had left office. Eventually, N20 billion of the N50 billion was released to Governor Bello, while the N10 billion for infrastructure was also released fully. So, the total bailout to the state was N30 billion

“Almost simultaneously, Bello’s government got monthly allocations for the state and local government areas with an average of over N5 billion monthly for 18 months running now.

“Surprisingly, the governor has taken loans of over N35 billion from two commercial banks since his assumption of office.

“The state has also collected over N14 billion reimbursements from the Federal Government for infrastructure and environmental works done by the state under the previous administrations.

“On the heels of these is the Paris-London Club loan refund, the first tranche of which was N12 billion and N6 billion as the second tranche released last week.”

“I have come to the conclusion that posterity would be harsh on critical stakeholders in the state, including me, if we fail to talk about the current free fall into a humongous indebtedness the state is being led to by its current manager.

“For record purposes, Yahaya Bello to my mind is a very lucky man. He came to office after we spent our resources to defeat an incumbent. Just imagine the enormous resources as enumerated above and what Kogi should have achieved with a purposeful leadership.

“But alas! What do we get? Many workers (state and local governments) are still being owed a minimum of three months, and some councils a maximum of 17 months arrears, despite the allocations running in excess of N200 billion since 2016.

“May we ask the House of Assembly, which granted approval for the loans, what the governor has done with it? And since it is an open secret that no single road project has been completed among other things, why are the lawmakers quiet? Kogites demand answers from them as they are supposed to be their representatives.”

Credit: The Nation

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