A civic group, Concerned Nigerians, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate an alleged attempt by Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to divert a N150billion loan taken by his government.
The petition signed by the convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju, alleged that the loan could end up as last-minute looting by the Delta Governor to allegedly fund his Vice Presidential ambition.
Delta state governor Ifeanyi Okowa
The Concerned Nigerians group said it was alarmed that the Delta State House of Assembly approved the loan a few weeks before the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary elections.
He expressed the belief that the Okowa government obtained the loan for the purpose of looting.
The rights activist urged the anti-graft agency to investigate and trace the money to ensure it’s not diverted for personal purposes.
The petition reads, “We write this petition to you in our capacity as a pro-human rights and anti-corruption group, seeking the urgent investigation of the Delta State Government, over its attempt to loot the One Hundred and Fifty Billion Naira loan (N150,000,000,000) loan recently approved by the Delta State House of Assembly.
“At a time when the nation is engrossed with the commencement of the electioneering process leading to the 2023 election, it is alarming to note that the Delta State Government has initiated and secured the approval of the Delta State House of Assembly to obtain a humongous loan of N150,000,000,000.
“Curiously, this loan has been approved just a few weeks to the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party where Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is rumoured to have a vice-presidential ambition.
“We are, therefore, constrained to ask: What is the purpose of this loan? In recent times, it has become a practice for State Governments to obtain huge loans under the guise of public interest but subsequently, divert the same into private pockets.
“We recall that just a few months ago, the Kogi State government obtained a similar loan with a view to paying workers’ pension/salary but subsequently diverted same 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 N150,000,000,000 Naira loan sought to be obtained by the Delta State government is an attempt at last-minute looting.
“Sadly, the Delta State House of Assembly who should ordinarily investigate this loan and protect the citizens, is in bed with the Executive Arm and has turned a blind eye.
“We, therefore, call on you to investigate this loan, trace the money and ensure that same is not channelled towards any purpose other than people’s-oriented projects.”
SaharaReporters, New York