Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state, says the private jets he currently uses are his and not the government’s.
In response to calls from the public that he should sell his jets to pay the salaries of workers in his state, Okorocha said he bought the jets at an auction under the administration of Olusegun Obasanjo as president, well before he became governor.
Okorocha, who spoke through his chief press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said he has not used state funds in acquiring any jet since he assumed office.
“As a government, we want to deny with high sense of honesty that since May 29, 2011 when Owelle Rochas Okorocha became governor, he has never bought any private jet either directly or by proxy,” Onwuemeodo said in a statement.
“The period governor Rochas Okorocha bought jets was years before he was elected, during the Olusegun Obasanjo regime when some of the presidential jets were auctioned.
“The governor bought jets then under the aegis of Lamonde Aviation, alongside few other Nigerians. Since he became governor, he has never bought any private Jet.”
Okorocha, who asked those peddling allegations to provide evidence to fault his claims, added that the state was owing just N37 billion – not hundreds of billions claimed in some quarters.
“Again, the Debit Management Agency penultimate week published the states and their respective debt profiles. In the case of Imo state, they published N37 billion which was far from the hundreds of billions the opponents of the government have been claiming to be the debt status of the state,” he said.
“And the N37 billion debt includes the ones owed by the previous administrations. The good story is that we have been vindicated on that.”