APC, PDP in war of words over N1.4b hotel project in Niger

By Priscilla Campbell,
Minna

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition People Democratic Party (PDP) are currently in a war of words over the true position of N1.4 billion meant for the abandoned five star hotel in Minna, the state capital.
It would be recalled that the immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, had accused the APC-led government during his 65th birthday in Minna of misappropriating the N1.4 billion he left in an Escro account in Zenith Bank Minna meant for the five-star hotel project.

Aliyu had said:
"To my surprise the contractor was invited by the government and given the whole amount. After two months he (contractor) disappeared from site and has not returned to finish the job."
But, in a reaction from his successor, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello through a statement by his press secretary, Mrs. Mary Noel Berje, described the allegation as misleading and an attempt to win the sympathy of his "dying People Democratic Party" ahead of the forthcoming local government elections.
It stated that the balance of the escrow account established in respect of the five star hotel held in Zenith Bank is N1.4 billion and remained intact.
According to the statement, "The present administration has not released any money to any contractor as alleged by the former governor".
The verbal confrontation has now shifted to the secretariats of the two political parties with two different press statements on Tuesday accusing each other of being economical with the truth on N1.4 billion.
Reacting to the statement, the state PDP, through the Chairman Alhaji Tanko Beji noted that the admission by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, and the APC-led administration that N1.4 billion escrow savings handed over by Ex Governor Babangida Aliyu in 2015 was intact was an attempt to pool the wool over the eyes of intelligent men and women of Niger State.
The PDP chairman insisted that the admission confirms in explicit terms that the APC-led administration was hiding a lot more to explain.
"If all it could do is to admit that monies were handed over to them in 2015 and for five years has kept mute and continue to deny that nothing was left in the accounts till the revelation by Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu came last week".
"It is rather ridiculous, as it is too little and too late, we are aware that efforts have been geared towards doctoring the records and tempering with the accounting systems to cover this monument sleaze which has become a striking feature of the APC and Governor Sani Bello's administration."

But the APC state Chairman, Mallam Jibrin Iman, described the PDP's accusation of having skeleton in its cupboard as "a mere hallucination of its corrupt past", stressing that the administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to have confirmed that the money is intact, smarked uncommon transparency and integrity in the handling of the state resources unlike in the past, when government processes and procedures are conducted in clandestine manner.
Also, the APC chairman in a statement described the consistent attacks by the PDP on the APC government as the antics of a drowning man, who will fight desperately to hold anything.
The APC explained that the Governor Abubakar Sani Bello-led APC government in the state remained focused and refused to be dragged into the mud like the PDP, whose stock in trade is corruption, and falsehood.
"We urge PDP chairman Tanko Beji to remember his corrupt and insincere past to his people and the state in the conduct of his activities as a PDP chieftain alongside other members of his party. On this note, we advise the PDP to leave the APC government alone to concentrate on the good works it is doing, which the PDP denied the people of Niger State in all its years in power.

Iman further stated, "as a people-oriented government, the current administration has absolutely nothing to hide, as all the intention and actions of the government are aimed at making life better for the people".

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