The Bayelsa State Government has described the claim by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, that the state government owes N800 billion as pathetic and the manifestation of a mind in custody of a raving hallucination.
The State Governor, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, said in a statement on Tuesday, that the claim that the state government had borrowed N800 billion only portrayed the depth of ignorance of Lokpobiri about governance in his state.
Gov. Dickson Approached me and we both drafted the Resolution that Made GEJ the Acting President ~ Tambuwal
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In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. FIdelis Soriwei, on Wednesday, the Governor expressed shock that somebody of the status of a minister could show a demeaning lack of capacity for a simple research to arrive at the truth in the interest of the general good.
The governor described the minister’s claim as a manifestation of the peaking frustration of a diaspora politician who has alienated himself from the state and lack the capacity to actualize his political dream to govern the state.
The governor urged Bayelsans and indeed the Nigerian citizenry to discountenance the spurious claim contained in the ill-conceived publication by the minister which he said was in conflict with facts and reality.
He referred the minister to a report released by the Debt Management Office in September 2018, which provided in details the debt profile of all the states of the federation as of June 2018.
He stressed that the DMO, the Federal Agency which is the authoritative body on States and Federal government debt profile put the total debts owed by Bayelsa state at N123 billion.
The Governor said that his administration had even ensured repayment of debts incurred by Lokpobiri’s political godfather and leader, Chief Timipre Sylva, in addition to the steady execution of several big ticket projects across Bayelsa.
He said that somebody with an analytical mind would know from the reports of the DMO that Bayelsa debt as at 2007 was N27 billion representing 1.40 percent of the debts by all the state.
He posited that the debt profile of the state rose astronomically by 300 percent as the state alone had 13.0 percent of the total state debts with N162 billion from 2007 to 2012 during the locust years of Sylva.
According to him, The current figure of N123 billion representing 3.54 percent of the total debts owed by the states showed in clear terms a drastic reduction of the debt burden in spite of the recession occasioned by dwindling federal allocation and the execution of high profile projects in the state.
The Governor challenged Lokpobiri to channel his energy into more productive ventures in the interest of Bayelsans who have been denied federal presence because of his lack of influence and interest in the development of his state.
He challenged Lokpobiri’ to point to projects he had attracted to Bayelsa State since his appointment as the Minister of State for Agriculture.
Governor Dickson said that it was rather shameful that a Minister of State in charge of Agriculture who had failed to attract projects to his own state would come out with spurious, allegations against a government that is repaying the loans of his godfather who unleashed misrule on Bayelsa for years.
“The attention of the Bayelsa State Government has again been drawn to a spurious publication by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, in which he claimed that the state government had borrowed over N800billion between 2012 and now.
“It would have been considered sensible to ignore Lopkobiri because of his astonishing penchant for falsehood. However, it has become imperative to prevent this deliberate distortion of facts by unscrupulous politicians with evil intent in the interest of well meaning Bayelsans and Nigerians.
“Lokobiri’s claim that Bayelsa is owing N800 billion is a falsehood that exists in his hallucinating mind. Figures released by the DMO put Bayelsa’s debt at N123 billion.
“This figure include contractual obligations, pension and gratuities, as the major components.
“The Governor wishes to say without equivocation that Bayelsa is not for bloodthirsty cultists and criminal. Lies and bloodletting which are the strongest credential of Lokpobiri cannot create access to political control in our state.
“Lokpobiri has failed to take advantage of his position and supposed contacts in Abuja to attract projects to Bayelsa. He should remain silent as he lacks the moral ground to make any comment on the development of Bayelsa.”
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