- We only owe N122bn, says govt
A group, the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State has accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of plunging the state into a debt that it would not be able to offset in the next 20 years.
CSCEOS Chairman, Adeniyi Suleiman, said in a telephone chat with our correspondent in Osogbo that the Aregbesola-led administration in the state had been indebted to the tune of N500billion since it came to power in 2010.
According to Sulaiman, a judge in the state, Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, had petitioned the State House of Assembly over the sum of N500billion loan allegedly obtained by Aregbesola, stressing that Osun may not be able to redeem the loan in the next 25 years after Aregbesola would have left office in 2018.
The group also expressed worry over what it described as increase in the deduction of monthly allocation accruing to the state from the Federal Ministry of Finance as a result of loans incurred by Aregbesola.
Suleiman said, “It would be recalled that an intelligent news medium popularly called “Economic Confidential Magazine” has reported recently that Osun State, under Aregbesola’s watch, was leading the states from whose alloocation the Federal Government deducted a total sum of N36billion in the month of April, 2016.”
The civil society group’s chairman declared that Aregbesola had bastardised the economic system of the state beyond redemption by collecting loans from different local and international financial institutions beyond the capacity of the state.
Reacting, the consultant to the Osun State Government on Information, Mr. Sunday Akere, debunked the group’s claim, saying the state’s debt profile stood at N122billion.
Speaking on a radio programme in Osogbo, Akere said, “When the bail-out was about to be requested for, the Debt Management Office asked the state to bring its debt profile and it was discovered that the state owed N122bilion only.”
He noted that despite the shortfall in the monthly allocation, Gov. Aregbesola had embarked on various construction projects ranging from schools to roads.
Akere asked the state government’s critics to appreciate Aregbesola for even paying half salaries, noting that some states could not even pay their workers at all.
But the Director, Media and Publicity of CSCEOS, Bishop Abiodun Adeoye, insisted that the state would not be able to repay the loans in the next twenty years.
Adeoye said there was no reason for the state to celebrate its 25th anniversary, advising the governor to organise a prayer session for the state because the situation in the state is called for sober reflection.
“The debt profile of Osun is affecting the people of the state. There is hunger in the state to the extent that people now steal pot of amala from the kitchen. The government lacks focus and cannot project effectively,” he said.