Nigeria: Abia Lawmaker Writes Ikpeazu, Seeks Explanation On N27.4 Billion World Bank Funds for Aba Roads

3 March 2023

Umuahia — After months of haranguing over the alleged misappropriation of the N27.4 billion World Bank funds, a member of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Obinna Ichita, has formally written Governor Okezie Ikpeazu seeking for explanation on how the fund was utilised.

Ichita, who represents Aba South state constituency, had been complaining that there was nothing to show that the World Bank money had been properly put to use. He, therefore, activated the Freedom of Information Act to ask the Abia governor to account for how the said money was spent.

The lawmaker in a two-page letter through his counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, requested Ikpeazu to immediately furnish him with accounting details of how the State Government utilised the funds.

In the letter made available to journalists, the legal firm said they were authorised by Ichita, a Principal Officer of Abia State House of Assembly, representing Aba South State Constituency to write Governor Ikpeazu on the matter.

"We write this letter on the firm instructions of our said client to request Your Excellency to furnish us the following information within the deadline set by applicable law:

"The accounting details of how the Government of Abia State spent the N27.4 billion (Twenty-Seven Billion, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (or the equivalent sum in dollar) which the Government of Abia State had received in full from the World Bank for road construction and erosion control projects in Aba, specifically Port-Harcourt Road, Uratta Road, Obohia Road, Ohanku Road and Ngwa Road.

"The name and business address(es) of the contractor(s) that executed any of the projects mentioned in the preceding paragraph; and copies of the contract awards documents. The cost of the execution of each project," he added.

Ichita, reminded the Abia chief executive that he had in several for a, "informed the people of Aba" that the World Bank funds had been received in full by the state government, citing a live radio programme of 29th May, 2020.

"On 7th March, 2021 during the 2021 Convention and the N20 million Visual Studio Fund lunch of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Aba Presbytery at St. Andrews Parish, No.1 Azikiwe Road, Aba, Your Excellency, again, publicly acknowledged the receipt of the said money in full by Abia State from the World Bank.

"Your Excellency, it is pertinent to state that this request for information is made pursuant to the provisions of Freedom of Information Act, which requires compliance within strict deadlines. We therefore await Your Excellency's timely response," the letter read in part.

In a chat with journalists on the issue, the lawmaker explained that he decided to demand accountability on how the funds were spent because the projects for which the money was meant were still in deplorable condition.

He said his constituents were directly affected by the bad condition of the roads in the commercial nerve centre hence they needed to know how such a huge sum of money meant to alleviate their sufferings was spent

Ichita stated that public office holders should not forget that they only hold public offices in trust for the people hence they should be ready at all times to render accounts of their stewardship.

He warned that if the Abia governor fails to respond positively to his request within the stipulated time frame, the law would take its full course and the governor would bear the consequences.

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