The Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has told his predecessor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, that no contractor was paid N1.4 billion for the Minna International 5-Star Hotel project.
The governor described the allegation that he misappropriated the N1.4 billion as misleading and an attempt to win the sympathy of the people for Aliyu’s “dying Peoples Democratic Party.”
While reacting to the allegations, the Governor in a statement in Minna on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, expressed dismay that despite the respect accorded Aliyu by the present administration as a man that has governed the state for eight years, “he (Aliyu) could allow politics to becloud his sense of judgment by spreading falsehood against the government just to achieve political popularity”.
It should be recalled that the former governor had during his 64th birthday celebration last week in Minna alleged that he left N1.4 billion behind for the hotel project.
The money, Dr. Aliyu disclosed, he left in the “escrow account” of the state was for the payment of the contractor when the job had reached a certain level.
However the state governor described the allegation as misleading, saying: “It is an attempt to win the sympathy of the people for his dying Peoples Democratic Party ahead of the November 30 local government elections in the state.
“The balance of the escrow account established in respect of the 5-Star Hotel Project held at Zenith Bank Plc is N1,478,451,706.96 and intact.
“The present administration has not released any money to any contractor as alleged by the former governor.”
Governor Bello, who accused Aliyu of resulting to blackmail in recent times to achieve political relevance in the state, pointed out: “Our records also indicate that the said ‘contractor’ is in fact a supposed investor that is expected to be largely implementing the project from his own resources under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) agreement.
“We therefore invite all stakeholders to crosscheck this position from either Zenith Bank Plc or Niger State Ministry of Finance. It could have been more honorable for the former governor always do his home well before dishing out falsehood again the government.”