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Governor Peter Mbah Of Enugu State In Secret Plans To Raise N50 Billion In Bonds From Afrinvest For Projects.

Peter Mbah.

Stakeholders in Enugu State have raised the alarm over the plans by the Governor of the state, Barrister Peter Mbah is perfecting plans to raise the sum of N50 billion from the global bond market to fund 10 key projects.

Sources close to the governor have revealed that plans to raise the bonds have reached an advanced stage, Afrinvest West Africa, a wealth advisory firm with a focus on West Africa acting as Lead Adviser and Issuing House.

The Managing Director of Afrinvest, Ike Chioke, who was at the recent Enugu Investment Roundtable, is said to be a close friend of Governor Mbah. Chioke, who is from Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, was also the Chairman of the 60-man Transition Committee appointed by the governor ahead of his inauguration on May 29, 2023.

Our source who revealed that although the bond was said to be for the financing of some 10 projects already awarded by the governor, there are suspicions that the bulk of the fund would go to funding the election petition case between him and the Labour Party candidate, Barr Chijioke Edeoga.

The case, which is expected to get to the Supreme Court, it was likely going to cost huge sums, especially given the uphill the governor faces in wriggling out of the difficulties presented by his alleged forgery of his NYSC discharge certificate.

The National Youth Service Corps had written a letter following a Freedoms of Information Act application, repudiating Mbah’s discharge certificate, stating it was not issued by them. The Director of Certification of the body was also present at the Enugu Governorship election petitions tribunal to affirm that the certificate tendered by the governor was fake.

Enugu State is already reeling in huge debt overhang, with little to show what the money was invested in. On February 2023, Business Day newspaper reported that Enugu was among the five most indebted states in the country, with an external debt of $123.02 million (N116.9 billion, at the street exchange rate of N950 to the dollar) in June 2022.

The state, in August, received N5 billion from the Federal Government for fuel subsidy palliatives. It was also gathered that another N22 billion for the months of June and July 2023. During the same period, funds to the local councils in the state amounted to an estimated N30 billion.

The relationship between Enugu State and Afrinvest, sources say, is going the way of Edo State, whose governor, Godwin Obaseki, was Chioke’s partner in the company. Under Obaseki, Edo State rose to become the third most indebted state in the country, according to the Business Day report. The state was, as at 2022, carrying an external debt was $268.31 million in June 2022 and $281.47 million in June 2021. The state’s foreign debt stood at $276.29 in December 2021.

Obaseki had served as the Managing Director and Founder of Afrinvest, which he set up in 1995.

Should Enugu State go ahead to obtain this bond, its total external debt would soar to about N200 billion if the borrowings from 2022 to 2023 are factored.

With the uncertainties surrounding Governor Mbah’s position as the governor of the state, concerns are rising that, should he be removed by the Nigerian courts, the spate of borrowings, will further worsen the fortunes of the state that is currently beleaguered by infrastructure deficits in the areas of roads, healthcare, clean water, education and other important economic growth enablers.


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