*condemns N600m budget for 7th anniversary
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has expressed worries over the rising debt profile of Ebonyi State, urging the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop the fresh loan request by the state government.
The group also faulted the plan by the state government to spend about N600 million on the forthcoming 7th year anniversary of Governor Dave Umahi-led administration in the state.
The Ebonyi State House of Assembly had recently approved another loan request from the Governor of Ebonyi State, allegedly put at N10 billion “for the purposes of completion of numerous ongoing infrastructural projects in the state.”
But reacting to the development through a statement signed Wednesday in Abuja, AESID’s President Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, his organisation will take every necessary legal and remedial steps towards ensuring that the state government does not further take the indigenes for granted.
“We at AESID urges the EFCC and good spirited Nigerians to please wade in to halt these deliberate and calculated stealing of our lean resources by a government that has made hunger and starvation of the masses it’s official policy.
“AESID will take every necessary legal and remedial steps towards ensuring that the Umahi government does not further take the indigenes for granted by wasting the said plum sum when most families in Ebonyi cannot afford even a square meal due to the excruciatingly biting anthropogenic poverty and hardship foisted on it by the Umahi administration.”
The group queried the powers of the 16 state House Assembly members loyal to the governor having been sacked by an Abuja Federal High Court for defecting to the All Progressives Congress with the Governor in November 2020.
According to the statement, records from the Debt Management Office showed that as at December 2021, the official sub- national domestic debt profile of Ebonyi state stood at over N42 Billion.
“We are also aware of undisputed claims in certain quarters that Ebonyi State government under Umahi has unofficially been making borrowings from some commercial banks in the State without due process or even recourse to the lackeys in the State’s House of Assembly. Our foreign debt profile have also skyrocketed to a whooping about $64M US Dollars. This does not include the borrowing of $150M from the Islamic Bank for the State’s ring road project.
“For a government that inherited a near zero debt burden from his predecessor and has habitually been wasting public funds on non-economically viable or sensible projects, this latest desperation to make our poor Ebonyi a debt stock of the nation is highly condemnable and most unfortunate.
“We can conveniently bet that Umahi has in the course of his deceptive ego-driven, white elephant projects borrowed and lavished what the next government in the State could have borrowed for the next eight years. It is even most disturbing that such humongous borrowings does not translate to the establishment of even a sachet water factory that can generate a Kobo to the coffers our economically strangulated Ebonyi State.
“As though the unconscionable squandering of public funds on frivolities is not already enough, AESID read in the media very recently about plans by the Umahi administration to spend N600M of tax-payers money to celebrate it’s Seventh anniversary in office. For a government which took Ebonyi’s poverty index from about 64 percent to a whooping nearly 80% with the state now officially the poverty capital of the entire Southern Nigeria, Umahi should be ashamed of celebrating the near total debt extinction of the State’s economic life and prosperity.”
On the recent victory of a victim of the Cybercrime law of the State which was recently declared illegal by a Federal High Court in Abakaliki, the statement commended the judiciary for the bold decision of declaring the state law as “anti the spirits and letters of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.