20 September 2018

Nigeria: Bayelsa Governor, Minister Differ On State's Debt Profile

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, have expressed divergent views on the debts owed by the state.

The minister had alleged that the Dickson led administration had incurred the N800 billion domestic and $216 million external from 2012 till date in spite of getting over N1.2 trillion from the federation account for the same period.

Lokpobiri, a former senator who hails from Bayelsa State, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, the state capital noted that the figures at his disposal were a result of cumulative computation of yearly borrowings from the first tenure of the Dickson-led administration.

He said figures reported by the debt management office were on yearly basis.

But Mr Dickson through his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Fidelis Soriwei dismissed the claim and put the debt owed by the Bayelsa government at N123 billion.

Mr Soriwei had claimed that Mr Lokpobiri was a 'Diaspora' politician who was out of tune with happenings in Bayelsa.

"We wonder where he gets his N800 billion any time he wants to criticise the government," Mr Soriwei said.

Checks at the debt management office put Bayelsa's debt burden as at June 2018 at N 123 billion.

Mr Lokpobiri accused Mr Dickson of tactically maintaining silence deliberately on foreign debts and the other sundry funds accruals to the state.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the state is indebted to the tune of N800 billion, domestic and 216 million dollars external," the minister said.

He accused Mr Dickson of borrowing a whooping N222 billion domestic and 28 million dollars external debt in 2012 alone.

Mr Lokpobiri threatened to publicly disclose all the amounts the governor had been borrowing every year from 2012 till date.

He described as lies, the figure of N123 billion being talked about by the governor as the amount the state government presently owes and urged the administration to disclose all facts about the financial status of Bayelsa.



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