-#5Billion for purchase of cars not yet clear

-As group threatens court action to stop loan

By Martin Opara  

House Committee Chairman on Information and Judicial Matters in the Imo State legislature, Hon. Dominic Ezerioha, representing Oru West State constituency, has said that he is not aware of the five billion naira (N5b), said to have been approved for Governor Hope Uzodinma, stressing that he is only aware of the N2.5billion approved by the house for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) health intervention fund currently made available to States that wish to borrow.

Hon. Ezerioha who stated this in reaction to reports that the Imo State House of Assembly has approved N5b for the Governor, said, “As I speak to you now, I only know of the N2.5b. However I will confirm when I get to the office”.

Hon. Ezerioha further stated that the N2.5b approved for the governor by the legislature for CBN health intervention fund, is repayable within ten years.”What it means is that successive governors will gradually pay up the loan borrowed now to tackle devastating effect of Covid-19″, Ezerioha Stated.

It was however gathered from a reliable source in the Imo State House of Assembly, that the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, during plenary last Tuesday, read a letter signed by the Governor, asking for approval to obtain a loan of five billion naira (N5b) through Heritage Bank Plc for the purchase of official vehicles for various categories of civil servants and government appointees.

It was also gathered that some of the vehicles to be purchased according to the letter, include Innoson IVM Pick-up Vans, Innoson IVM Carriers, Innoson Ambulance buses, among others with the aim of enhancing productivity and boosting the morale of civil servants.

The House was also said to have also granted approval for the state government to source another loan of N2.5b through Access Bank Plc ostensibly, for the health care sector intervention fund.

According to the letter read by the speaker, to that effect, the fund will be geared towards upgrading and expanding Primary Health Care facilities in the state, stressing that, it is a federal government intervention facility being provided for states and health sectors to facilitate effective proactive approach in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic and other attendant challenges.

There are also speculations that some legislators who expressed reservation about the loan requests and subsequent approvals, are grieving about the unpleasant development, because, they have not been paid their September salary, “yet such huge amounts that may not be disbursed for the purposes they were purportedly obtained have been approved with a wave of the hand”.

Meanwhile, a group which goes by the name, Imo Youths for good governance has threatened to drag the Uzodinma led government to court over the approval of such whopping sum of money to purchase cars for appointees when civil servants and pensioners haven’t been paid.

Speaking to Newsmen in Owerri, yesterday, the spokesperson of the group, Comrade Ebere Nwachukwu described such moves by Imo state government as mortgaging the future of Imolites,explaining that the loans borrowed from Uzodinma’s predecessors, have taken a toll on the economy of Imo State.