Why Bayelsa is unsafe under Dickson – Lokpobiri explodes over debt saga

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Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, has declared that Bayelsa State was unsafe because Governor Seriake Dickson is corrupt.

The minister, in a rejoinder on Thursday signed by his spokesman, George Oji, said he was disappointed Dickson was denying the N800 billion indebtedness.

Dickson had in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah, said the minister was peddling falsehood.

He stressed that the DMO, the authority on states and federal debt profile, put the debts of Bayelsa at N123 billion.

But Lokpobiri challenged the governor to explain how he spent the money, including $216 million external loans his administration allegedly incurred since 2012.

He asked the governor to render an account of how he also spent over N1.2 trillion the state got from the federation account in the period.

Lokpobiri said Dickson should equally explain the billions of naira allocated to councils, and internally generated revenue.

The statement said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the minister insists that the state is indebted to the tune of N800 billion (domestic) and $216 million (external)”.

The minister accused Dickson of borrowing N222 billion internally and $28 million externally in 2012 and threatened to publish amounts the governor borrowed every year from 2012 till date.

He described as lies claims by the governor that the state owed only N123 billion as domestic debts.

“The actual loan profile of Bayelsa State can readily be gleaned from the Debt Management Office (DMO), the official Federal Government outfit, which domiciles all loans for all levels of government in the country, which is open for the public to access on the website of DMO”, the statement said.

“The minister, who questioned the impact of the huge debts and accruals on the lives and wellbeing of the people of the state, draws a nexus between massive corruption and wastes by the governor and the astronomical rise of insecurity in the state.

“He insists as usual that the reason why Bayelsa State ranks very high as one of the most insecure states in the country is because of the pervading corruption and wastes that has become the hallmark of the Dickson administration.

“The minister maintains that had the governor deployed the loans and other financial accruals to the state to positive, wealth-creation and developmental projects, the social problems bedevilling the state today would have been minimally addressed and insecurity would also have been nearly non-existent.

“Once again, the minister advises the governor to settle in and face the task of providing leadership and good governance, which is the statutory obligation he owes the people of Bayelsa State.”

Culled from here

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