Group petitions anti-graft agency over Okowa’s N150billion loan

Blessing Oziwo

Human Rights, Societal Justice and an Anti-corruption group, known as Concerned Nigerians, has petitioned Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate the Dr Ifeanyi Okowa-led government over an alleged attempt to “loot” N150 billion loan recently approved by the State House of Assembly.

The petition dated 6th May 2022 and signed by the Convener, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, addressed to the Chairman of the anti-graft agency, reads in part: “at a time when the nation is engrossed with the commencement of electioneering process, leading to the 2023 election, it is alarming that the Delta State government has initiated and secured the approval of the Delta State House of Assembly to obtain a humongous loan of N150 billion.

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“In recent times, it has become a practice for state governments to obtain huge loans under the guise of public interest but subsequently divert same into private pockets. We recall that just few months ago, the Kogi State government obtained a similar loan with a view to paying workers’ pension/salary but subsequently diverted it into a private account. It took the intervention of your Commission before the money could be returned to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“It is on the basis of the foregoing that we believe that the N150 billion loan sought to be obtained by the Delta State government is an attempt at last-minute looting. Sadly, the House of Assembly which should ordinarily investigate this loan and protect the citizens is in bed with the executive arm and has turned a blind spot.”

It will be recalled that the Delta State House of Assembly approved Okowa’s request on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the plenary.

Since then, there has been uproar by Deltans over what they consider last-minute looting by the Okowa’s administration. Many had queried why a serious government will gun for a massive N150b loan to complicate the state indebtedness up to the tune of N700b.

Many have accused Okowa of eagerly looking for funds to prosecute the forthcoming general elections and to push for his Vice Presidential ambition under the Peoples Democratic Party.

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