PDP demands probe of N160bn Lagos debt

The Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has demanded a probe of the N160bn bond the Governor Babatunde Fashola-led administration obtained from the World Bank.

The party in statement by its Publicity Secretary, Taofik Gani, on Sunday, accused the state government of converting the bond to other uses rather than using it to improve the lives of Lagos residents.

The party said Fashola’s defence aimed at rationalising the whereabouts of the funds was “weak, unsatisfactory and diversionary.”

It said, “We are again vindicated by the Debt Management Office’s revelation on the amount Lagos State is indebted to under Fashola. We had said it many times that Fashola has plunged the state into irreparable economic damage going by his monumental and unprecedented debt profile.

“This present revelation of N160bn debt is apart from other local and foreign loans, bonds etc. running into over N1trn. This is baffling considering the fact that the state is not enjoying commensurate development as it lacks adequate and affordable services and infrastructure.”

The party said Fashola’s defence claiming to have spent the loan on infrastructure, was an afterthought.

The statement added, “The major infrastructure is the light rail project, which was erstwhile presented as public-private investment. What is therefore the amount contributed by the private investor who is eventually taking the concession? This is another government stealing by proxy. No doubt the protracted project has been used as a conduit to steal Lagos funds.

“It is our demand that the Governor’s Office must explain the details of this needless loan, while the Economic Financial Crimes Commission probes the veracity.”

However, while inspecting the ongoing construction of the light rail terminus at Orile-Iganmu, Fashola had said the decision of the state government to take a N160bn bond from World Bank was in order.

He added that strategies were in place to ensure that the loan was paid back.

Fashola questioned the intention of the DMO of the Federal Government, which published the report that Lagos owed about N160bn. He added that the loan was approved by the Federal Government.

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