From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Government and All Progressives Congress (APC) are bickering over N30 billion multi-phase Benin flood and erosion control project (Storm Water Project) commenced by the administration of former governor Adams Oshiomhole.
Governor Godwin Obaseki had, while inspecting the Textile Mill Road catchment of the project on Monday, alleged that the project was conceived to defraud Edo people, adding that his administration will probe the project and recover all the money stolen through it.
“They have to explain to us how they spent the N30 billion on a project they claimed will drain water from a community. But the project drains the water to nowhere. They have the boldness to claim that we abandoned the project which were never made or designed to work in the first place.
“Clearly, we will take the necessary precaution to recover all the money due to Edo people that was stolen from this project,” Obaseki said.
The government, yesterday, alleged, in a statement by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, that attempts were made to set fire on the Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, housing sensitive documents relating to the project.
But the APC, led by David Imuse, has dared Governor Obaseki to carry out his probe threat.
The party, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Chris Azebamwan, urged the governor to institute the storm water probe and make its findings public so that the enlightened and informed Edo people would know the truth of the matter.
“Edo people know that the project was jointly handled by the state Environment and Public Utilities and Works with several commissioners, including Ogie, who was in charge of the Works Ministry.
“While the project was ongoing, Obaseki (as chairman of the economic team), regularly accompanied his predecessor to inspect the progress of work after he played the key role of sourcing the first N25 billion from the Capital Market through his company, Afrinvest, which reportedly got N1.5 billion commission from the deal.
“The commission paid to Afrinvest was for acting as consultants to the project and drafting the proposal which, Obaseki, as the head of economic team, presented for approval to the state executive council and followed it up by shortlisting contractors for the project.
“It will be comical and equally ingenious of the governor to carry out this probe. It will not only be revealing but end up as a milestone which could well turn out to become a benchmark for the country,” APC said in the statement.