The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have traded words over an allegation of wasteful spending against the state government under Governor Simon Lalong.
Major stakeholders in the state had in 2018 criticised Mr Lalong for seeking a N1bn loan to complete a stadium in the state capital, Jos.
Although the Plateau State House of Assembly eventually approved the request to take the N1 billion loan from Fidelity Bank Plc, the minority leader, Daniel Dem, had expressed concern over the increasing debt profile of the state, noting that N200 million was appropriated for the completion of the stadium in the 2018 budget.
“If the government is sincere about this, it should have included the loan in the budget. I am not against the completion of the stadium, but collecting a loan for this purpose is not a wise decision, especially that it wasn’t budgeted for,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by its spokesperson in the state, John Akans, on Wednesday, the opposition party demanded an explanation on the expenditure of N660million from the loan approved and released for the roofing of the stadium.
The party also alleged the misappropriation of over N45billion approved by the state’s lawmakers.
“You would recall that on Monday, 29th August 2016, the leadership of our great party (PDP) during its maiden briefing raised alarm over the corrupt deals of Governor Lalong and the APC in the state. Within three months in office, Lalong took loans worth N18billion from some commercial banks and at the same time covering up with what he claimed to be crippling loans inherited from previous administrations.”
“We have reliably gathered that the loans taken by the Lalong administration within his four years in office as approved by the House of Assembly is over 45 billion naira which remains unaccounted for without any beneficial project commissioned,” Mr Akans stated.
He added that Mr Lalong failed to use the loans effectively amongst infrastructure deficit and other challenges confronting the state.
“We call on Governor Lalong to be ashamed of himself, reflect on his conscience and be prepared to account for all these flagrant abuse of governance entrusted in him by the suffering and frustrated people of Plateau.”
Responding to the allegations, the spokesperson of the ruling party in the state, Bashir Sati, berated the PDP, saying they are “still hurting from their rejection by the people of the State in 2015 and 2019.”
In the statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Sati said it was depressing and laughable for the PDP to accuse the Lalong administration of taking huge loans without constructing roads in the state after it “looted the monies they claimed to have spent on projects during their years in power.
“Have they forgotten that the EFCC is still battling to trace billions allegedly carted away by some officials in the last PDP administration?
“The Rantya, Low-cost, Rafiki, Dong roads were initiated and completed by the present administration, yet the PDP sees no “single road.”
Mr Sati said that Plateau people have continued to applaud the governor for giving all local governments and political zones their entitlements.