Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, have differed on the actual debt profile of the Bayelsa State Government.
Lokpobiri had recently,, in reaction to allegations by Dickson that he is undermining the state’s security, alleged that the governor has mortgaged the future of Bayela; with N800 billion debt.
Dickson, who responded in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Sorowei, said Lokpobiri’s claims on the N800 billion portrayed his depth of ignorance about governance in his state.
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The governor urged Bayelsans, and indeed Nigerians, to discountenance the spurious claims being bandied by Lokpobiri, pointing out that they were in conflict with facts and reality.
Dickson referred Lokpobiri 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 at 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.
However, Lokpobiri who fired back at Dickson in a statement by his media aide, George Obi, urging the governor to stop lying to the people of the state over the debt profile.
He insisted that Bayelsa state is indebted to the tune of N800 billion (domestic) and $216 million (external). He also accused Dickson of borrowing a whooping N222 billion (domestic) and $28 million (external) in 2012 alone. He also threatened to publicly disclose all the amounts the governor has been borrowing every year from 2012 till date.
Lokpobiri, who questioned the impact of the huge debts and accruals on the lives and wellbeing of the people of the state, drew a nexus between massive corruption and wastes by the governor and the astronomical rise of insecurity in the state.