Following the hurried and clearly panic-propelled N15 billion loan Anambra State government secured recently from Access Bank to aid commencement of work at the site of the over-hyped Umueri International Cargo Airport, UICA, project, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are highly alarmed that this is a sharp deviation from the contractual agreement ndi Anambra were fed with when the MOU was signed.
Knowing the antecedents of the APGA government in question, the PDP believe that another stage of manipulations, already started with digging a hole of N15 billion in the state coffers in name of debt alongside a whooping N177 billion of combined foreign and local debts, is again on. The publicity secretary of Anambra State chapter of the party, Nnamdi Nwangwu, was expressing this concern with newsmen in Awka while the National Police Games opening ceremony was going on at Ekwueme Square.
It will be recalled that the number one citizen of the state himself, HE Willie Obiano made a firm assurance on the day of the rogue flag off on April 12, 2017.
Read him, ”what we have come to flag off in Umeri today is not your usual airport project. Mbanu! Nke anyi di iche!
”What we are flagging off today is an Airport City Project with a model that will accommodate an airport with two runways, an aviation fuel dump, an airport hotel, an industrial business park, an international convention centre as well as a facility for aircraft maintenance.”
The governor explained further,“the Umueri Airport City project is conceived to join some of the most advanced airports in the world with a capacity to land any of the most sophisticated vessels known to man today. It sits on 1500 hectares of land with enough elbow room for expansion from Ivite Umueri to neighbouring communities such as Nando, Umunya, Otuocha, Aguleri, Nteje, Nsugbe and beyond.
“The project is estimated to cost over 2 billion US Dollars. It is a partnership between the Government of Anambra State, Orient Petroleum Resources Limited and Elite International Investments Limited (Sinoking Enterprises Limited).
“Under the contractual agreement, Elite International Investments Limited will provide all the funds needed for the project under the Build-Operate-Manage-and-Transfer arrangement. However, under the same SPV arrangement, the Anambra Airport City Infrastructure Limited has allocated 75% equity stake to Elite International Investments Limited, 20% to Orient Petroleum Resources Limited and 5% to the Government of Anambra State. The host communities are entitled to 3% of the profit from this project in perpetuity as a part of the standard corporate social responsibility”.
Having clearly spelt this out while promising that the first airplane would land at the tarmac in 2020, Obiano and APGA rode on this to secure the 21/21 electoral victory exactly seven months later.
Today, it is not Elite International Investments Limited that is sinking N15 billion into this elephant project. Rather, it is Anambra State government.
These are the worries of the party spokesperson as he added, ”what about the total contract sum of over $2 billion? While campaigning in 2017, the governor boasted that his government attracted the Chinese to sign the MOU that would make them spend over $2 billion on the project.
”What happened that the Chinese are nowhere to be found while dear state is borrowing to kick start a project experts believe will not break even in the next 50 years?
”Adding this to what the governor told the public about foreign investment attraction to Anambra State, Akpokuedike summed it at $7.2 billion in 2017! What is going on regarding that FDI claim in Anambra if the APGA government are borrowing to fund the airport project?
”In days to come, my party will continue to ask questions of this clearly white elephant project. Elections are around the corner and APGA, who believe ndi Anambra are forever vulnerable, are at it again,” Mr. Nwangwu concluded.