Comrade Austin Usman Okai
Comrade Austin Usman Okai, an activist, has expressed fear that a $100 million loan granted to the Kogi state government by the African Development Bank (AfDB) may likely be diverted by the state governor, Yahaya Bello, who has declared interest in running for president, according to SaharaReporters.
Asiru Idris, Commissioner of Finance and Budget Planning, had on Tuesday said the state secured the loan from AfDB to execute some special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZ) projects.
He said the SAPZ will enhance national food and nutritional security, optimise the export of value-added agricultural commodities and thus improve the quality of livelihoods through wealth creation for rural farming communities.
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, Okai said many interventions had come to the state in the past without any accountability.
He said, “Prominent among them is the, first and second tranches of the over N50 billion London-Paris Club refunds to state as bailout fund budget support: and the sum of N10.069 billion for Kogi State Government for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government, etc.
“Governor Yahaha Bello is at the ebb of his administration without any reasonable or provable project to show to justify the billions he has received, despite paying half salary to workers at state level, and percentage to the local government workers.
“Borrowing is not the problem, but diverting it is a problem. Since he declared his ambition to be president in 2023, Bello has turned the state to an ATM for all manner of celebrities, with the intention of endorsing him as Buhari’s successor; and this is at the expense of the state finance.
“The state government announced that it has secured a $100 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the purpose of funding Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) in Kogi,” he said.