The Abia State government has reacted to a report alleging that Governor Ikpeazu sends money to cyber cafes and political associates.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said Ikpeazu is above reproach in the management of Abia finances and the publication should be disregarded.
The statement further disclosed how the Governor uses both local and foreign contractors to execute numerous projects in the State.
It further stated that the patronage of indigenous contractors was due to Ikpeazu’s policy which anchors on his belief in the creativity of Nigerians.
The statement further itemized several projects of the government.
READ FULL REPLY:
Ikpeazu is above reproach in the management of Abia finances
We refer to a publication by Peoples Gazette titled: “Bank documents expose how Governor Ikpeazu wired billions to cybercafe, political associates“ and wish to respond as follows:
1. Abia State Government led by Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has a deliberate policy of using a mixture of indigenous and international contractors to execute road projects in the state on a ratio of 80:20.
2. Our emphasis on indigenous contractors stems from the fact that we believe in Nigeria and the ingenuity of our people. It is also for this reason that the administration has remained at the forefront of promotion of “Made in Aba” and “Made in Nigeria” brands locally and internationally.
3. We understand that promoting and empowering local contractors will enhance the economic well being of our people, minimize forex outflow with its attendant positive effects on our local currency and help create jobs for our teeming youths.
4. The companies listed as receiving funds from various Abia State Government (ABSG) accounts are contractors working on various road projects in the state since 2015 and your medium may wish to send people to cross check on the ground if the works done are worth the amounts paid.
5. The following are some of the projects done by Rockwaters International, Tunnel End and Tetra Lock companies belonging to Engr Enyinnaya Nwafor who also owns an asphalt plant in Abia State, a quarry site in Ebonyi State, a dredging company, as well as furniture and shoe making businesses all of which gainfully employ over 700 Abians:
A. Construction of 9.8km Osokwa Aro Umuejie- Omoba Road (Completed, 2020)
B. Expansion/Reconstruction of 35km Obikabia Road (72% completed. Ongoing)
C. Construction of 1.4km Adaelu-Unity Garden Road (Completed, 2018)
D. Construction of 1km Amapu Ntingha-Abam Ubakala Rd (Completed, 2018)
E. Construction of 3.4km Isiahia-Umuode Road (Completed, 2018)
F. Construction of 5.4km Umunka-Ugwunagbo Rd (Completed, 2018)
G. Rehabilitation of Internal Roads in Aba High Court (Started and completed, 2020)
H. Construction of Umuojima-Umuokpara Road (35% completion. Ongoing)
I. Construction of 6km Okpu Umuobo-Mgboko Road (Work commenced)
J. Construction of 9km Umuaro-Umuanunu-Ekwereazu-Nto Border Road (Completed, 2018)
K. Construction of 9.5km Umunkpeyi- Amaiyi-Okpokiri-Umuchim-Umuru Road (45% completion)
L. Reconstruction of 3.4km MCC-Old Exp/Samek Road with 14m width (Completed, 2018)
M. Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of 1.7km MCC-Umuojima Road (Completed, 2016)
N. Reconstruction/Rehabilitation of Omnee Drive (Completed, 2015)
6. In regard to Chimaeze Nwafor who only resumed as the Personal Assistant to the Governor in 2019, he is an Abian and highly qualified to occupy the position. He is not involved in contract award and couldn’t possibly have influenced the award of any government contract directly or indirectly as he is not a member of the state executive council.
7. Tunnel End company owned by Engr Enyinnaya Nwafor is among the consortium of companies that won the globally competitive bid for the World Bank Assisted N27.4bn Ndiegoro Aba Water Management Project. The company has also executed federal government contracts.
8. Delhope Resources Limited is a construction company Registered in 2012 by Mr Innocent Adiele with Certificate of Registration and Memorandum of Association clearly showIng no association with Governor Ikpeazu and clearly defining its business to include construction and civil engineering. Beside Abia State, they have executed road construction contracts in Bayelsa and Lagos States as well as with NDDC. We are amazed to read that the same company is now a “cyber cafe” purportedly used by Governor Ikpeazu to “wire billions” to his associates.
9. Some of the road projects awarded to Delhope in Abia State include:
A. Construction of Umuobiakwa-Owo-Onitcha Road
B. Reconstruction of Ibere Road, Aba
C. Reconstruction of Police Area Command access road, Aba
D. Reconstruction of Ochefu Road, Aba
E. Reconstruction of Owerrinta Road, Aba
F. Reconstruction of Weeks Road, and
G. Reconstruction of School Road, Aba.
10. Ngamek Nigeria Limited is also a registered construction company that has executed the following projects in our state, among others:
A. Cluster of roads around the International Conference Center in Ogurube Layout, Umuahia.
B. Eghiham Layout roads and some erosion control projects such as the Ubakala erosion remediation project
It is important to note that none of the contracts to Ngamek was awarded under the current administration.
11. To date we have completed 97 road projects in the state with 76 ongoing.
12. We hereby invite the author of the article, Mr Nimi Princewill, to choose a date within 14 days and come to Abia State to inspect and confirm the above listed road projects in order to satisfy himself that they were executed as stated and hence should be paid for in part or in whole. Failure to accept this necessary fact finding visit with the outcome published will leave us with no other recourse than to seek legal redress for defamation.
13. For the sake of emphasis, those listed accounts are government accounts and it is within the law to pay government contractors through any of them. We therefore challenge the author to prove that even one kobo moved from any government or the companies accounts to Governor Ikpeazu’s personal account.
14. The idea of Engr. Enyinnaya Nwafor being a member of a non existent “kitchen cabinet” is laughable because Governor Ikpeazu runs a transparent and open administration where citizens of all walks of life are encouraged to contribute to the development of the State.
Let it also be reiterated here that Governor Ikpeazu has held more Town Hall meetings and interactive engagements with Abians than any other Governor in Nigeria today. Whatever “kitchen cabinet” means can therefore be attributed to any Abian who has had cause to interact or see the Governor to discuss issues of governance.
15. The only “kitchen cabinet” known to us in Abia state is possibly those who cook and serve food in Government House.
16. We wish to use this opportunity to inform members of the public that the same gibberish regurgitated in the article were recently used to attempt to blackmail the government of Abia State and we pointedly directed the would be blackmailer to report whatever he has to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for investigation. Consequently, the agency copiously investigated the allegations and found no evidence of financial malfeasance by Governor Ikpeazu or the mentioned contractors.
17. We therefore wish to encourage media practitioners to patiently do due diligence on materials sent to them by desperate politicians or thier proxies before going public to avoid tarnishing the image of innocent citizens.
18. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a professional teacher who is not interested in acquiring ill gotten wealth, in or out of power. He does not own any construction company directly or through proxies and he is above reproach in the management of Abia’s financial resources.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State