More trouble is brewing in Niger State as the former Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has again asked his successor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to account for the N1.4 billion kept in an “escrow account” for the construction of Minna International 5-Star Hotel.
Dr. Aliyu made the disclosure on Tuesday while speaking to newsmen as part of activities to mark his 64th birthday in Minna.
He said he left the money in what he called the “Escrow account” of the state.
He said: “The N1.4 billion was left in the Escrow Account and was for the payment of the contractor when the job had reached a certain level.
“To my surprise, the contractor was invited by this government and given the whole amount.
“After two months, he (contractor) disappeared from site and has not returned to finish the job.
“Am I to be held responsible?
“The government that invited and paid the contractor should be asked to account for the money.”
Furthermore, Aliyu maintained that the vexed $181 million Islamic Development Bank loan was secured during the twilight of his government and must be accounted for.
He said: “I negotiated and secured the approval for the $181 million Industrial Development Bank loan.
“The facility is not only for the dualisation of the Minna-Bida Road, the other component of the loan was the construction of a Bilingual Language Centre in Minna.
“We presented five items before the IDB team.
“Only two were picked.
“I went to Jeddah to negotiate for the loan with some of my officials then.
“Some of them are still part and parcel of this APC (All Progressives Congress) government.
“He (Governor Sani Bello) can cross check from these people.
“The issue on the ground is not about EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) or ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission), let the government come out clean that it has not collected the money.”
Aliyu also faulted the present approach of the government to the Minna-Bida Road dualisation project, saying: “The plan by government to dualise only a certain section of the road and make the rest single lane is not acceptable.
“You cannot toll a single lane road.
“It is morally wrong.
“Our plan was to dualise the road from Kpakungu to Bida and toll it at both ends.
“The developer was to collect its money in 25 years.”
Though the former governor supported the repairs to be carried out on some failed section of the road, he, however, cautioned the government against wasting public funds if the entire road will be dualised.
In Aliyu’s words: “They should set about doing the major project instead of playing politics with the issue.”