Law News
11bn loan: Enugu Assembly justifies approval

MEMBERS of Enugu State House of Assembly yesterday defended the controversial approval of N11 billion loan facility requested by the outgoing governor, Sullivan   Chime, saying it was justified and not ill-timed as claimed by opposition parties and other concerned individuals in the state.

Defending the approval, Chairman of House Committee on Information, Chief John Ukuta, said: “It is not ill-timed because government is a continuous process. Timing really has nothing to do with it. This particular government has said, look at the projects we are going to do and in fact government should be applauded because governor wants to complete the projects before he leaves office. I am sure you are aware that most governments in Nigeria at this particular point in time are locked up with partisan politics, government is already shut down. It’s  good to know that one particular government (Enugu) is not being shut down for political reasons.”

Asked if there was no budgetary allocation that necessitated the governor to seek for the loan, he said: “If there was no budgetary allocation you will not seek for loan to execute a project that was not budgeted for;  that will definitely be untenable. But we are all aware about the shortfall in the Federal revenue. It affects everywhere so once that shortfall the price of crude oil has now gone down  which means that Enugu State government like other state governments have had a short fall of revenue from the federation account.

“In other to make that up,  facilities have to be obtained by government and there is nowhere in the world government does not obtain facilities. The loan, he explained is for the completion of ongoing infrastructure of some ongoing projects like the federal secretariat among others so as to keep the incoming administration a better working environment to settle in.”

Meanwhile, Governor Chime’s cabinet has kept mute over the issue since the loan was approved last week during the secret sitting of the House at the hallowed chambers in which journalists were barred from giving coverage.

All efforts to get comment from the official spokesman of the state government, Mr. Chuks Ugwoke remained abortive as text messages and phone calls were ignored.

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