The immediate past governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has been asked to refund the sum of N2.9bn, which he allegedly took as a loan on the eve of his departure from office.
The Niger State Government, which made the request, explained that while the new administration of Governor Abubakar Bello will not witch-hunt any past leader, “the misappropriated money belongs to the people”.
It said: “They took this loan on the eve of their departure. And as was customary with that administration, they did nothing with the money.
“You can’t collect a loan on behalf of the people and share it among yourselves. That’s literally what they did. They simply raised a list and allocated money to those on the list.
“The office of the SSG, for example, was given N600 million. The records did not say what he would do with the money. Well, we want our money back. The money belongs to the people”.
The statement added that the present administration had prioritised the needs of the people, stressing that such looted but recovered funds would be expended on developmental projects.
“Our people need food, shelter, security, roads, water and so forth. For example, the governor wants to start with the provision of potable water and in the coming weeks, we’ll provide water at predictable intervals to Nigerlites.
“On the problem of electricity, we have started an arrangement to rent a power plant from overseas to provide regular electricity before a permanent solution is found.
“Also, Minna-Kataeregi road, Kontagora-Tegina, Minna-Suleja, Bakeko-Katcha, Kaffin-koro, Kuta-Sabon Gari and Maitumbi-Maikunkele roads among others, are receiving urgent attention”, it said.
The former governor has denied the allegations against him.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES through his spokesperson, Israel Ebije, Mr. Aliyu said the claims are “definitely not true”.
“Let the current administration present proof of their allegation. It is definitely not true”, he said.
“Truly, there was cash crunch at the end of the last administration, but it is surely not possible for anyone to grant such facility to an exiting government.
“All that Governor Aliyu was doing while in office is in public domain and he is ready and available for any form of probe they are willing to subject his administration to.
“They should just focus on doing what they said they would do to the people. The former governor also met some debt and cleared some, while also providing development to the people”, Mr. Ebije said.