Imo State governor Emeka Ihedioha Thursday alleged that his predecessor Rochas Okorocha looted the state’s purse and left it in a “deep hole of corruption and mindless misappropriation.”
Ihedioha, a former speaker and deputy of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, said Okorocha’s eight years as the governors of the state plunged Imo State into unsustainable debt.
“Our interim findings show a consistent pattern of massive looting and stripping of public assets, dismantling and carting away of public property such as electric poles, vehicles, trucks, office equipment and furniture etc,” Ihedioha told a meeting of Imo State Stakeholders.
“There were last-minute illegal sales of government property at giveaway prices and unlawful allocation of land including backdating of Certificates of Occupancy.”
Ihedioha said the state is faced with over N100 billion naira debt with “nothing to show for it.”
Already, Imo State has received over 30 billion Naira worth of Garnishee Orders secured against it by contractors.
But the Imo State governor said the contracts were fraudulently awarded by Okorocha’s government.
“I must inform you in this regard that, so far we have received over 30 billion Naira worth of Garnishee Orders arising from several ill-conceived and fraudulent contractual agreements deliberately consummated by the past administration, to destroy the future of the State and its teeming population by fettering the State in a humongous debt trap,” Ihedioha said.
Similar comments about Okorocha’s eight years as Imo state governor were made a day before Ihedioha’s statement by Chidi Odinkalu, a former chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission.
“Over a period of 8 years, it’s an understatement to say Okorocha stole Imo State dry and laid the state desolate,” Odinkalu said.
“Turning around the state from his reign of pillage and plunder will require a lot of work and may be a bit of a miracle.”
Despite the level of debt Ihedioha said the state faces, he explained to the stakeholders that he was determined to rebuild the state.
“Our mission will be to rebuild our beloved state and reposition it as a first class, first rate State for investment, a social, political and economic powerhouse, an oasis of peace, security and development.”