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N20b Loan: Group Protests, Rolls Out State’s Indebtedness

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Group, Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDES) Monday, July 14, protested against alleged Edo State government plan to obtain N20b (Twenty billion naira) from the Nigeria Capital Market few weeks to the Edo State Governorship elections.

The group also alleged that the Godwin Obaseki-led government intends to obtain another $100Million and $150m loan from the World Bank respectively, just as it described the act as ” reckless, irresponsible and ignominious for the Obaseki-led state government to obtain another loan.”

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Co-covener of the group, Kola Edokpayi and Felix Osemwengie Isere, Esq in a statement titled ‘we reject the attempt by Governor Godwin Obaseki to mortgage the future of Edo youths by his recent moves to obtain another N20b loan’, noted that the state’s domestic debt profile stands at N84.76 billion, hence it will amount to a calculated attempt by the Governor to mortgage Edo youths future.

” As if these are not enough,  we have received reliable information that Godwin Obaseki also intends to obtain another $100Million loan from the World Bank.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re Committed To Relieving Obaseki Of His Office’- Ize-Iyamu Campaign Organisation

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“This loan, known as the performance for results loan which is awaiting board approval is aimed at funding the overblown Edo Best and Edo jobs projects. We the citizens are aware that Edo Best and Edo jobs projects are a mere facade and failed projects serving as conduit for siphoning funds for the coffers of the good people of Edo State  

” The most shocking part of it is that Mr. Obaseki is considering these loans when Edo State currently services the $150Million credit obtained from the World bank in 2016 and 2017.

” This is the highest level of political and economic betrayal for the good people of Edo State who have entrusted her collective patrimony into the hands of the governor. It is most unfair and is a demonstration of the mortgage of the future of Edo people.

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Joint Forces for the Defence of Democracy (JOFDES) protesting against Obaseki’s plan to obtain N20b loan on Monday in Benin

” We find this development not only worrisome, wicked, reckless, irresponsible and ignominious but a calculated attempt to completely mortgage the future of the youth and people of Edo State. This is totally obvious because Mr. Obaseki is fully aware that Edo State is already heavily overburdened by excess debts.

” At no time in the history of our dear state have we come under the volume of indebtedness that we face today”, the statement added.

READ ALSO: Edo Poll: APC, Ize-Iyamu Will Respect INEC’s Regulations – Campaign Organisation

While disclosing that the state is with the highest domestic debt in the South-South and second throughout the nation, noted that the governor has to ” answer reason why the state is indebted so high and other financial mismanagement.”

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According to the protesters, with all the borrowing, citizens of the state have not seen any tangible project from the state government “apart from some renovations of already existing infrastructure and window dressing.”

” We have the highest external debt in the entire South-South with an external debt of $257.92 milliion as at March 2020.

” Second, we have the highest domestic debt in Nigeria, second only to Lagos State.

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” We must get answers to these and other glaring cases of financial mismanagement that have become the hallmark of the Godwin Obaseki’s government 

” Apart from the few renovation of already existing infrastructure and window dressing of already completed projects, we have not seen any landmark or gigantic legacy projects the Obaseki Government has done with funds accruing to the state”, they said.

READ ALSO: Shame On PDP Leaders Fielding Obaseki After Condemning Him As Non-achiever -Ize-Iyamu

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The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari and other concerned authorities particularly Edo citizens to stop the loan from being approved, just as they added that if there’s any reason to obtain such loan, that should be considered after the election.

The group further said, ” We as a pro democracy group committed to defending the interest of Edo sons and daughters worldwide hereby call on the President of Nigeria, Secretary to the government of the federation, Hon Minister of state for budget and national planning, director general Debt Management Office (DMO) Abuja, the Chairman Senate and House of Representatives committees on local and foreign debts, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Senate President and speaker of the House of Representatives, DG of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Attorney General of the federation and all well-meaning Edo sons and daughters who have the future of our children at heart, to do everything within their powers to stop this loan from being approved for the governor of Edo State.

” However, if there is any genuine reason whatsoever to approve such a loan for Edo State, it can be considered after the forth coming Edo governorahip election to forestall the mismanagement of the funds under the tension that accompanies elections.”

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However, in his reaction, Special Adviser to Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie denied the allegation, just as he accused Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of sponsoring the protest.

Protest against Obaseki’s plan to obtain N20b loan on Monday

There is no such thing as N20 billion debt proposal by the Edo State Government, and Edo people cannot be distracted by such wild claim,” Osagie said.

Reacting to Crusoe’s allegation that the protesters were sponsored by Ize-Iyamu, Mr. John Mayaki, Chairman, Edo State APC Media Campaign Council said was insulting to the people of Edo State for the Governor’s Aide to attribute anger expressed by the citizens to Ize-Iyamu.

“It is ludicrous and insulting to the people of Edo State who are known for their agency and independence of thought, for Crusoe Osagie to suggest that the anger they expressed today on the streets of Benin over the 20 billion naira loan Obaseki is trying to obtain for his collapsing campaign was done at the behest of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

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READ ALSO: PDP Governorship Primary: Aspirants Step Down For Obaseki

“Is Crusoe suggesting that Edo youths cannot read the news, interpret it, and understand the implications of a failed government seeking loans toward the end of its tenure?” Mayaki said.

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Boko Haram: Another Chibok Schoolgirl Rescued In Borno

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Troops of Operation Hadin Kai on Thursday said they rescued another Chibok girl from the captivity of terrorists.

The victim was rescued around the Bama axis of Borno State.

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Confirming the incident, Theatre Commander Joint Task Force Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa, said profiling of the rescued girl is ongoing.

Recall that the army had earlier rescued Mary Dauda, one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted in 2014.

READ ALSO: Another Chibok Girl Kidnapped By Boko Haram Found With Baby

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Few weeks ago, the troops also neutralised terrorists of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province in Borno State and intercepted another Chibok girl, Hauwa Joseph, who said she escaped from the Boko Haram camp in Gazuwa during a massive incursion of the troops.

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Tension In Ondo Over Alleged Plan By Bandits To Attack Community

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Tension engulfed communities, towns and cities in Ondo State on Thursday following the rumour that bandits were preparing to attack Ilara-Mokin community in the Ifedore Local Government Area of the state.

The apprehension among residents was hinged on a rumoured letter allegedly sent to Adaba FM, a popular radio station in the state over plans by bandits to launch an attack in the community.

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Following the development, Elizade University, which is situated in the neighborhood, had encouraged parents to dismiss the supposed threat circulating over the alleged planned attack.

The institution claimed that the supposed rumor had been debunked by the appropriate authorities, therefore the university community should disregard the threat.

SP Funmilayo Odulami, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, dismissed the letter as a hoax and said that police operatives as well as undercover agents had been dispatched to the community and around the state.

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Also, in a series of announcements on its airwave and news bulletins, Adaba FM emphasized that it did not receive any letter indicating a planned attack by bandits.

Schools were said to have been empty because many parents prevented their children from going to school after the bogus letter was also rumoured to have been validated by the monarch of the community.

“The attention of the university management has been attracted to the material being shared on social media,” stated Omololu Adegbenro, the registrar of Elizade University, in a statement.

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READ ALSO: Owo Massacre: Ondo Community Invokes ‘God Of Iron’ On Attackers

“The originators of the information claimed that the purported letter was submitted to Adaba FM, Ilara-Mokin. They also claimed that His Royal Majesty, the Alara of Ilara-Mokin, Oba Aderemi Adefehinti was fully aware of the letter, adding that the royal father had disseminated the information to members of the community through his Town Crier.

“As management, it is important to clarify that no threat was issued by Bandits/Fulani Herdsmen to attack the community.

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“This information has been strongly refuted by the management of Adaba FM, which has continued to inform members of the public through its news bulletins that no letter of threat was dispatched to the station.”

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EFCC Laments Dearth Of Whistle-blowers, Despite Huge Rewards

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The Economic Financial Crimes Commission has decried the decline in whistleblowing across the country despite the huge rewards the commission offers to whistleblowers.

The Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Thursday, at a one-day town hall meeting.

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The programme facilitated me by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, centred on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on whistleblowing policy.

Bawa was represented by the Zonal Commander, EFCC, Enugu, Oshodi Johnson.

The EFCC chairman pointed out that at the beginning of the whistleblowing policy, the commission received huge information which, according to him, led to the recovery of “humongous” stolen public funds.

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READ ALSO: War: ‘You’re Doing Great Job, Thank You,’ Biden Tells Turkish President

He disclosed that two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, and the $11m recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He wondered why the sudden decline and the reason behind it.

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He listed challenges undermining the policy effectiveness to include ignorance of its legal and administrative frameworks as well as difficulties in navigating the complex bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives.

He said, “It is also not impossible that the few false informants who were prosecuted for wanting to turn a serious programme to memes, unnerved some other would-be informants.

“Whatever the challenges are, it is imperative that there is a fresh awakening to sustain the flow of critical intelligence to Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

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“Recall almost with some sense of nostalgia, how a few years ago, precisely on December 21, 2016, the Federal Government introduced the Whistle-blower Policy, which offered some incentives to citizens that provide information leading to the recovery of stolen public funds.

“It was heralded by a frenzy of sorts with a deluge of information by informants, some of which led to the recovery of humongous sums of money by the EFCC.

“Two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, and the $11m recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

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READ ALSO:;How EFCC Officials Allegedly Tortured Lagos Clubgoers, Forced Out Naked Couple

“After these landmark recoveries and a few others and notwithstanding the fact that those who came forward with useful information received handsome rewards, enthusiasm for the policy appears to have waned a bit.

“It would seem that the policy is experiencing challenges that tend to undermine its effectiveness. Several factors may be responsible for this. But to my mind, the most obvious is lack of adequate understanding of the legal and administrative frameworks of the policy and the difficulties of navigating the labyrinth of bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives.”

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Bawa pledged the EFCC’s willingness to partner with critical agencies like AFRICMIL and other community-based organisations in strengthening their capacities to identify and quickly report suspected cases of corruption in their communities.

 

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