Posted by News Express | 29 July 2015 | 3,309 times
The decision of Abia State House of Assembly on July 21 to approve N30 billion loan facility for the government has polarised the assembly along party lines.
Eleven members of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), led by the Minority Leader, Mr. Abraham Oba, (Aba Central), told newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday that they dissociated themselves from the decision.
Accompanied by eight lawmakers at the party secretariat, Umuahia, Oba warned prospective banks and other financial institutions involved in the negotiation to stop forthwith or continue at their own risk.
He said that they were misled by the Speaker, Chief Martins Azubuike, to lend their support for the loan during the executive session.
He said Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s letter requesting for the facility was read at the executive session, where the speaker explained that the facility would be used to tackle the infrastructure deficit in the state, especially Aba.
‘’We were told that the loan would be used to improve the economic well-being of the state,’’ he said, adding that they were also told that it would be used to dredge the Aba River, build roads, among other projects.
He said that some of the APGA members present at the session sought to be properly briefed on the banks involved in the negotiation, interest rate, mode of repayment and other conditions attached to the loan.
Oba said that the Speaker promised to address their fears during plenary but expressed regret that the speaker merely announced that the assembly had approved the facility at plenary.
He said that their fears were heightened after the Economic Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Obinna Oriaku, announced at a media briefing that the N30 billion facility was "misconstrued by the legislators to mean fresh loan."
According to Oba, "The governor’s aide said that the money was not a fresh loan but a summation of all the outstanding debt incurred by the past administration.
"So we noticed that we were deceived and having noticed that, all the 11 APGA members in the House decided that we are no longer going to be part of the deal.
"The speaker did not tell us what the money would be used for, so we are not approving the facility any more. Any bank that is negotiating with the state is doing so at its own risk."
Oba said that Ikpeazu should personally address the assembly on the revenue and debt profile of the state.
He also said that the assembly deserved to know the contractors handling the road rehabilitation awarded by his administration, the contract terms, the bidding process adopted, the duration of the contracts and the contract sum.
Also, the member representing Ikwuano Constituency, Mr. Theophellus Ugboaja, said that ‘’two dummies were sold to us during the executive session.
"We were told that the money would be used to address the problem of infrastructure, especially in Aba, and that the Federal Government has promised to write off all the debts owed by the states across the federation. We were made to understand that other states were accessing similar facilities for developmental projects and that Abia should not be an exception, hence we decided to support the loan,’’ he said.
He denied the allegation that APGA members received N30 million inducement to approve the loan, adding that "we thought that we were doing good and making our own contribution towards the development of the state.’’ (NAN)
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