From Gyang Bere, Jos

The Plateau Transparency and Accountability Initiative (PLATAI) has alleged that Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State inflated the British-American Flyover bridge with a spur of 1 kilometer road to N18 billion to fund the APC Governorship and his Plateau South Senatorial elections in the state.

He noted that the contract was earlier peg at N9.9 billion was alleged to have been reviewed to N18 billion.

Spokesman of the group, Simon Dung disclosed this on Saturday during a press conference in Jos and said the project which was funded by a loan facility, was aimed at mortgaging the bright future of Plateau State.

He frown at the skyrocketed debt profile of Plateau which is currently at about N200 billion; and lamented that despites several loans facilities obtained by the government, Plateau has nothing to show under the Lalong administration.

“For a project that the Lalong administration, against loud and popular outcry that the timing was waspish and the motive politically convoluted, is valued at Eighteen billion naira, as part of the bourgeoning debt profile incurred by the same Simon Lalong government as part of legacies to bequeath to the State and its future generations.

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“We are concerned about the increasing cost of this project, the willingness of the funding Bank to pay upfront 100 percent mobilization to the contractor, and the terms of repayment of the loan which veritably put other development programmes by the State on hold long after this administration will have wound up by May 29, 2023.

“As it is, we have it on good authority that, as hurried as work on the project has proceeded, with fears of dire negative implications for industry standards and best practices, the deadline for completing and delivering the project has become unrealistic, with consequential implications for cost and prospect of upward cost variation.

“We are even more concerned that the Lalong administration has never for once debunked claims or allegations that the project is over invoiced at a whopping Eighteen billion naira to accommodate the cost of 2023 electioneering for the APC gubernatorial and other elections, including his own Plateau South Senatorial election.”

He raised alarm that government is considering another variation and extension of time for the contract not so much for the interest of quality and service to the people, but as a conduit to safeguard the source of funding the APC campaigns and mobilization for 2023 elections.

“We hereby say NO to the growing debt profile of the state under this administration. We hereby say enough is enough to the callouseness of mortgaging the future of our state and unborn generations. We call on the people of Plateau to rise in unison and reject any proposals for loans, contract reviews, and all forms of last minute desperation to wreck our patrimony in the guise of service delivery and project completion.” He stated.

He lamented that Plateau has never been bad as this under the Lalong administration, adding that, “We can not afford to have it worse than this! We say ‘Enough is Enough’. Any government that cannot leave Plateau State better, should not leave it worse as debt epitome and national index of failed governance and destination of self-affliction.”