IPAC seeks explanation from Ayade on N18.4b refunds by Fed Govt

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Cross River branch of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has made a request Governor Ben Ayade demanding information on the N18.4 believed have been paid the government by the as refunds for interventions made on federal roads by the between 2005 and 2015.

In a letter the governor dated April 16 and signed by IPAC Chairman in the , Comrade Anthony Bissong Attah, they requested details of the refunds made by the Cross River State for repairs of 20 federal roads and one bridge from 2005.

The letter said: “On June 3, 2020, the Federal Executive Council approved one hundred and forty eight , one hundred and forty one million, nine hundred and eighty seven

Thousand, one hundred and sixty one naira and twenty five kobo only (N148,141,987,161.25) as refunds for road repairs to five states, including Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and .”

added: “Out of the approved sum, Cross River State received eighteen , three hundred and ninety four million, seven hundred and thirty seven thousand, six hundred and eight

naira and eighty five kobo (N18,394,737,608.85) only.

“On August 13, 2020, the forwarded a letter to for approval of the and both chambers of approved the on November 24, 2020. Consequently, this was released to the affected states in January 2021.”

IPAC expressed worries “while other states have announced receipts of the as well as enlisted projects for which the will be expended, we have not heard anything from you or your aides about this . Is our share of N18.4billion has not been released? We need answers to enable us properly enlighten the people.

“This is also important to us as critical stakeholders of our state because arguably this is the biggest financial envelope in the history of our state. We advise you kindly tell Cross Riverians everything about this money so the matter will be put to rest.”

Recently, River State Governor picked up the issue with follow who benefited from the refunds by the Federal Government to the states, noting that he publicly announced to State people and also told them the projects the money would be used for.

“We are honest and transparent. Those projects are being inaugurated. Let them also tell their people and invite people to inaugurate the projects,” Wike said in a short video clip which came at the time he was believed to be responding to statements by Governor Ayade against the Peoples Democratic Party () leadership in the country.

Contacted for response, Information Commissioner Mr. Asu Okang did not pick up calls or respond to the SMS sent to him at press time.

Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, who made the disclosure on the refund last June, said: “Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08 and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.

“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge, N38,040,564,783.40 and with three roads and three flyover bridges, N78,953,067,518.29.”

He said the Federal Government verification committees confirmed that the roads and the bridges were not only duly completed but were also in good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.

Fashola added: “However, there is a caveat; the Federal Government will pay the states but, henceforth, if any state takes on federal road, will not be paid, they will not get any refund.”