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Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the state government yesterday disagreed over the debt profile of the state, the number of teachers recently sacked by the government and the status of Daniel Oikhena, who few months ago hid in the tyre compartment of an Arik Air plane to Lagos.
Speaking with journalists in Benin City, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, alleged that Governor Adams Oshiomhole had failed to keep to the promises he made to the people of the state, including the one made to Oikhena, and her mother.
"Government did not fulfill the promise made to the family. People who wanted to help them also stopped because they assumed they were being looked after by government, when it is not true. We also gathered that the mother is now terribly sick," he said.
He stated that the state government had repeatedly denied that the state was not indebted but surprisingly set aside N20 billion in the 2014 budget for debt servicing.
He, therefore, challenged the state government to "as a matter of urgency declare the debt profile of the state so that the citizens will know what they are in for."
Orbih also described as "tissues of lies" the sack of 836 teachers, saying "the state government is playing politics with the figure as not less than 3,000 teachers were relieved of their jobs without plans to recruit new ones and at a time when the schools are seriously under-staffed."
In his reaction, however, Special Adviser (Media) to Oshiomhole, Kassim Afegbua, noted that the state government had never denied that it was owing.
“There is no government all over the world that is self-sustaining without having recourses to certain borrowings to meet up its statutory obligation. What is bad in borrowing is borrowing without using it to do that which the borrowed fund is meant for. Since this government came on stream five years ago, we have to pay part of the inherited debt from the PDP government when they presided over the collective patrimony of Edo State," he said.
We took a bond specifically meant for the Benin water storm project, which is still ongoing. As we speak, Edo State debt stands between N11 billion and N12 billion because on a monthly basis, there is certain amount of money taken from our IGR to service that debt. We thought the PDP will be man enough to raise queries about PDP states, Bayelsa State has eight local governments with a debt profile of N65billion they should go the Debt Management Office to check their records.”
On the stowaway boy, he said the boy like several others on scholarship is in the boarding house so “how will you say he has been abandoned?”
“We said we sacked 836, we didn’t take this decision by waking up in the morning after nightmare, we took this decision as the outcome of the holistic evaluation we did in respect to teachers’ recruitment, teachers population and teachers’ competence and teachers’ qualification,” Afegbua said.