A VIRAL post on Twitter claimed that Anambra State owes a combined debt of over N200 billion.
The claim was made by a Twitter user with the handle @NnamdiChife on January 10, 2021.
The handle currently has over 15,100 followers.
The tweet also stated that the former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, handed over N72 billlion in cash and $150 million in Anambra Generational Fund to his successor, Willie Obiano.
The tweet reads: “I am incredibly heartbroken. Anambra State is owing a combined debt of over N200 billion!!! Peter Obi handed over this state to Obiano with N72 billion in cash and $150M in Anambra Generational Fund. All frittered away, broken infrastructure, debt, and profligacy.”
The tweet, which also appeared on a blog here, has been retweeted more than 1,900 times and liked more than 2,700 times as of 8 p.m. on January 10.
From the tweet, these two claims were established:
- Anambra State has a combined debt profile of over N200 billion.
- Former Governor Peter Obi handed over N72 billion in cash and $150 million to Governor Willie Obiano.
CLAIM 1: Did Anambra State have a combined debt profile of over N200 billion?
Data shows that this claim is FALSE.
The FactCheckHub checked Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) website; the government agency in charge of collating the total debts owed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as each state of the Federation.
According to the latest data released by the DMO on 31st of December, 2020 for the domestic debt, Anambra State owed a little over N59 billion (N59,013,845,976.50) as of September 30, 2020.
Also, according to the latest data released by the DMO on September 9, 2020, for external debt, Anambra State owed $115,886,392.46 as of 30th June 2020.
In a bid to quantify in Naira the total external debt owed be Anambra State, the FactCheckHub converted the total external debt owed by the state, which was in Dollars to Naira.
As of June 30, 2020, the official exchange Dollar to Naira rate was N360 to a dollar. $115,886,392.46 multiply by N360 equals to N41,719,101,286.
The FactCheckHub then add the total domestic debt owed together with the total external debt. (N59,013,845,976.50+N41,719,101,286 = N100,732,947,262).
From the findings, the total debt owed by the Anambra State currently stands at N100,732,947,262.
CLAIM 2: Did Peter Obi hand over N72 billion in cash and $150 million in Generational Fund to Willie Obiano?
It would be recalled that Peter Obi handed over the leadership mantle of Anambra State to Willie Obiano on March 17, 2014.
While there is no publicly available data or document that shows that former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi handed over N72 billion in cash and $150 million in Anambra Generational Fund to his successor, there have been several controversies surrounding the actual amount Peter Obi handed over to Willie Obiano.
For instance, in a report published here, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, the Secretary to the Anambra State Government stated that the rumour that Peter Obi handed over N75 billion to Willie Obiano is far from the truth.
He said “The N75 billion was not there; it was not handed over to anybody. At best, it can be half-truth”.
Chukwulobelu stated that what Obiano’s administration inherited from Obi was N9 billion cash and N26 billion near cash.
In addition, in 2015, Willie Nwokoye, the Principal Secretary to Governor Obiano said the amount in question included quoted stocks, state counterpart fund, long term investments that are non-earning, refund from the federal government for road construction which was still an IOU, among others.
In the article titled: Dissecting The N75 Billion Handover Brouhaha In Anambra where he gave a breakdown of the items in the hand over note, Nwokoye said “The nearest to cash in the foregoing is item 20, which is a USD 155 million investment in Eurobond and other foreign currency-denominated securities made by the previous administration (Peter Obi) at its twilight. In naira terms, this was worth N26.5 billion at handover.”
In response, Valentine Obienyem, the media aide to Peter Obi said that the former governor handed over N75 billion in cash and investment to his successor.
He stated that the breakdown is as follows: N27 billion in local currency investment; N26.5 billion in foreign currency investment and N28.1 billion in certified state/ MDS balances.
Also, the data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO) website revealed that as at December 2013, Anambra State under the leadership of Peter Obi owed N3,025,797,046.67 in domestic debt and a total sum of $30,323,574.40 in external debt.
Why it is difficult to ascertain which of the two parties are right, it is easy to conclude that the claim is MOSTLY FALSE, as the amount in contention has always been N75 billion and not N72 billion as stated in the claim.
In addition, from the reactions of the two parties it can be surmised that the amount in question is made up of cash and long term investments, which the Obiano camp said they are mostly non-earning yet.
The claim that Anambra State has a combined debt profile of over N200 billion is FALSE.
The claim that Peter Obi handed over N72 billion in cash and $150 million in Generational Fund to Obiano is MOSTLY FALSE.