HEADLINE | Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Edo 2024: Controversy trails ownership of Edo State five-star hotel

By Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY – AHEAD of the September 21 governorship election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the second time in one week called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to invite some government officials for question this time on the actual ownership of an on-going construction of a five star hotel; Radisson and alleged corruption in the construction of a mall which contract it alleged had undergone variation multiple times for unclear reasons.

But the Commissioner for Orientation and Communication, Chris Nehikhare and the Special Adviser, Media Projects to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie yesterday denied the allegations just as they accused the Acting State Chairman of the APC, Emperor Jarett Tenebe of brandishing worthless papers claiming to be documents.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s secretariat, Tenebe also accused Obaseki of shopping for a $7 million loan from the World Bank despite the state’s current debt status standing at about N600 billion naira and therefore called on the people of the state not to vote the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Asue Ighodalo as he said they would continue Obaseki’s “misgovernance”.

Tenebe said in one day, on the 14 of June 2023, there was a variation of the Benin Mall project three times.

He accused the governor of planning to hurriedly give out the ongoing hotel to a private concern after spending public funds on the project.

He said after his press briefing barely a week ago, “Governor Obaseki summoned an emergency State Executive Council meeting to discuss the issues that we shared with you, including his plan to hurriedly sell the uncompleted Radisson Hotel to his crony.

“Regrettably, we wish to inform you that Governor Obaseki with the backing of the State Executive Council, has started the process to transfer ownership of Radisson to a private company, just as he did to Edo State Modular Refinery.

“The APC is therefore calling on you and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to take cognisance of yet another financial round-tripping crime that Governor Obaseki has set in motion.”

But Nehikhare said “It is such a show of shame to see them sit before pressmen waving worthless pieces of papers as evidence for non-existent fraud allegations against a State Government that has enthroned transparency and accountability in the cause of the administration of State’s resources.”

On the transfer of ownership of businesses like Radisson Hotel to private individuals after spending government money on the projects, Osagie said the state government only started the project to attract the private sector and that naturally with time, it divested its interest for the private sector to run effectively and would only maintain minimal interest like in the case of Azura Power which the state government under Adams Oshiomhole’s administration invested on but with stability of the company reduced its investment in the company for other uses for the people.



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