FACT CHECK: Claim That Anambra’s Debt Profile Is Over N200bn Is FALSE

source: icirnigeria
21

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 Nnamdi Chife @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 billion 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 CLAIMS 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. THE FINDINGS CLAIM 1: Did Anambra State have a combined debt profile of over N200 billion? Data show that this claim is FALSE. The FactCheckHub checked Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO)’s 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 N59.013 billion as of September 30, 2020. CLAIM 2: Did Peter Obi hand over N72 billion in cash and $150 million in Generational Fund to Willie Obiano? 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 also been several controversies surrounding the actual amount Peter Obi handed over to Willie Obiano. Also, data from DMO website revealed that as of December 2013, Anambra State under the leadership of Peter Obi owed N3.026 billion in domestic debt and a total sum of $30.324 million in external debt. While it is difficult to ascertain which of the two parties is 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 were mostly non-earning yet. THE VERDICT 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.

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