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Published On: Wed, Jul 15th, 2020

N20bn loan: We won’t allow Obaseki to mortgage Edo future – Rights group

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By Ikechukwu Okaforadi with agency report

The Joint Forces for the Defence for Democracy (JOFDES) has rejected the move by the Edo State government to borrow twenty billion naira from the stock market exchange.
According to the leaders of the group, Felix Osewmengie Isere, Esq and Marxist Kola Edokpayi, during a protest rally in Benin city, the state government has no justification to acquire another N20billion loan that will become a yoke on the people of the state.
According to him, “Just a few weeks to the state governorship election, the governor is making a desperate attempt to secure another loan from the stock market exchange. The most shocking part of it is that Mr. Obaseki is considering these loans when Edo State currently services the 150 million dollars credit obtained from the World Bank.
”Edo State domestic debt profile stands at N84.76billion. We have the highest domestic debt in Nigeria, second only to Lagos State. We have the highest external debt in the entire South-South with an external debt of $257.92 million as at March 2020,” he said.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions: ”We reject the N20billion loan proposal by Edo state government. “Don’t sell the future of Edo State today because of Political interest; ”Edo State is already one of the states with highest debt profile in Nigeria; 20b loan is a conduit pipe for diversion of funds.”
Members of JOFDES, however, called on President Buhari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Hon Minister of state for Budget and National planning, Director General Debt Management Office (DMO) Abuja, the chairman Senate and House committee on local and foreign debts, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and other authorities to do everything within their powers to stop this loan from being approved for the governor of Edo State.

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