Okezie Ikpeazu paid N107.2bn for non-existent projects in Abia – Governor Otti reveals

Governor Alex Otti has accused his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu of paying out multi billions for non-existent projects in Abia state.

The state governor made the claims while addressing Abia Indigenes at an event in United States, adding that he invited one of the top audit firms in the world to carry out a forensic audit.

The event which is aimed at encouraging investment in the state.

According to Otti, some of the projects Ikpeazu paid for include a non-existent airport. Otti further revealed that the billions paid for the non-existent airport was used to clear off pension and salary arrears that have been owed for 10 years.

Earlier, on Friday, 5th of April, Otti had addressed journalist informing the press that his administration inherited N192.2bn debt.

He revealed then that some of the debts have been paid off as they are with high-interest rates, adding, “It is tough, but we have to do it. We manage our expenses well and are able to live.”

Otti also expressed his happiness that the state did not feature in the list of debtor states recently released by the Debt Management Office.

He added, “Opposition said we borrowed N148bn, and we debunked it. We will borrow when the need arises, but for now, we are managing.

“I have been consistent with the cost of governance and managing. Borrowing money is not bad, but what you do with the money you borrowed. Where the money for projects I am doing in the state is coming from is my secret. We have been able to manage and cut costs. We are doing financial engineering.”

On his payment of pension arrears. the governor said, “We had promised last year to pay off the pension arrears but are saddled with a difficult verification exercise that ended a few weeks ago.

“All pensions have been paid as of last Thursday. All the arrears have been taken away. These pensioners who would have been begging for money are now feeding by themselves.

“So, we have returned power to these pensioners. 12,500 of them were paid. Going forward, 100% of their entitlement will be paid as and when due. We have always paid 100% salaries. Never again will we have a backlog of pensions, some of which date back to 2014.”