Wike gets Rivers Assembly’s nod to borrow N10b



THE Rivers State House of Assembly has authorised Governor Nyesom Wike to obtain a N10 billion loan to run his administration and rehabilitate dilapidated roads.

But the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it is curious that Wike would be talking about taking a loan barely two weeks into the administration and wondered if it is not a ploy to defraud the state through phoney loans.

The Speaker of the Assembly, Ikuinyi Ibani, said the decision to seek for N10 billion from Zenith Bank which the state is already owing over N15 billion, had become imperative because the new government met an empty treasury last month and has been unable to function effectively.

“Approval has been given for a N10 billion loan from Zenith Bank to finance vital development projects. As you are aware, the new government inherited an empty treasury from the outgone government. Evidently, this situation has made it very difficult for us to function effectively. Consequently, in order to kick-start development activities and deliver on our promises to the people of Rivers state, we have considered it very necessary to secure a loan facility to the tune of N10billion only from Zenith Bank projects,” Ibani said.

The Speaker explained that the loan would be secured and serviced from the state government’s value added tax. He disclosed that the funds will be used to repair roads, the House of Assembly complex and other projects.

The State APC Publicity Secretary, Chris Finebone, alleged that the loan is part of the new government’s strategy to waste resources on phantom projects like the ‘No Pothole Project’ which Wike commissioned under suspicious circumstances on the day of his swearing-in.

He accused the new administration of creating a quick avenue to channel and launder funds to private pockets.

Finebone warned banks against granting the N10 billion loan.

Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi had in his valedictory speech said the state was the least indebted in the country with a loan portfolio of N17.7 billion to banks owed as follows: Agriculture loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria – N2 billion and Zenith Bank Plc – N15.7 billion.

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