Akpan Etukudoh Asare
A Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisation for environment and development, Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC) has expressed dismay that it will take over 180 years for Cross River State to pay off the loan of
N648, 870, 730,739.23 (Six Hundred and Forty Eight Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventy Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Seven Hundred which the government has secured from banks and other sources.
He said the state government has transmitted a letter to the House of Assembly to approve modalities for the repayment through Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) for N300 million per month for a period of 180 years.
The co-ordinator of the RRDC, Mr. Odey Oyama in a letter to the state governor expressed distaste for wanton disregard for the future generations of the state as well as to the state House of Assembly saying it was never consulted by the government before going for the loan and launching plans for it.
He was worried that there was no due process that selected the contractors and no documentations were made regarding the play proposed superhighway.
“The first problem in this transaction arises from the fact that there is no documentation pertaining to the appointment of MESSRS SYDNEY Construction Company as contractors for the superhighway project by due process.
“The second problem is that there is no documentation pertaining to the approval by the Cross River State House of Assembly of the funding of the project before the commencement of the superhighway.
“It is therefore curious that the first document pertaining to the funding of the project is appearing for the first time more than 3 years (3yrs) after the commencement of the project. This procedure is certainly contrary to due process stipulated by the laws of Cross River State.
“Our concern on this matter is anchored on the request before the Assembly demanding that the generation of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond are being railroaded into a debt burden that would span over 180 years in respect of a project that does not conform to due process ab-initio.”
The NGO appealed to the state governor to reconsider committing the future generations of the state to “180 years bankruptcy for a road project that certainly will not last up to 180 years without the persistent demands for expensive and comprehensive maintenance.”
But the secretary to the state government, Barrister Tina Banku Agbor said it was sad that many do not see the good intention of the state governor in trying to transform the state, adding that the government cannot willfully plunge its generations to unnecessary liabilities.