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Does Imo State Owe Over N100 billion? #YES 

Photo Credit: Daily Post Nigeria 2 mins read

CLAIM: Current Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, claims that the state has an unsustainable debt of over N100 billion as a result of “mindless misappropriation” perpetuated by Rochas Okorocha, the former governor

CONCLUSION: TRUE, DMO data shows that Imo State had a total debt of N106.11bn as at December 31, 2018


Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, during a stakeholders’ meeting in Owerri claimed that the state is saddled with unsustainable debt of over N100 billion incurred without anything to show for what the monies were used for.

I must inform you in this regard that so far, we have received over N30 billion worth of garnishee orders arising from several ill-conceived and fraudulent contractual agreements deliberately consummated by the past administration to destroy the future of the state and its teeming population by fettering the state in a humongous debt trap.” 

The former governor, Rochas Okorocha, through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo, responded challenging Ihedioha to publish details of his claim. 

He said: “The governor should not be dishing out figures as if governance has become a child’s play. The disturbing aspect of the whole thing is that when you challenge them to show proof they run away.”


A check on Debt Management Office’s (DMO) website, the official institution coordinating the management of Nigeria’s debt, revealed that as at December 2018, Imo State domestic debt was N97.85bn while its external debt was $59.51m (N18.266bn). 

[The naira value of Imo state external debt was arrived at after multiplying the foreign debt by N307, the official exchange rate of a dollar to naira as at December 31, 2018]. 

If the domestic debt of N97.85bn is added to the naira value of the external debt, N18.266bn, then, Imo State’s debt as at the time Okorocha left office would be N106.11bn. 

This means the claim by Ihedioha that the state debt is over N100bn is true.

What’s More?

We contacted the Special Adviser to Okorocha to provide the state’s debt profile when his principal left office, especially since he disagreed with Ihediora’s claim, and statistics on DMO’s website showed that the state’s debt profile as at the time Okorocha left office was over N100bn.

According to him, their interpretation of Ihedioha’s statement was that Okorocha incurred over N100bn debt while in office. So we checked that too!

Imo State’s Debt Increased by N75.26bn Under Okorocha’s Tenure

A further check on DMO’s website revealed that as at December 2011, Imo state had an external debt of $50,277m and N25.41bn domestic debt. This implied that the external debt grew by $9.23 (N2.833m) while domestic debt grew by N72.43bn during Okorocha’s tenure. This means the state’s debt grew with about N75.26bn under him from DMO’s record. 


Data from DMO shows that Imo State had a total debt of N106.11bn as at December 31, 2018 which has not been repaid at present, and that the State’s debt grew with about N75.26bn under Okorocha’s leadership.

Gbenga Samuel Salau is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs, with the pen name SSG. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer.
 He rose to be the editor-in-chief of Association of faculty of Arts Press Clubs. He joined The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria after graduation. And as a reporter, he has covered events and attended conferences, workshops within and outside Nigeria. In 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories.
       In 2016, he was the first runner up in the NB Reporter of the Year and SERAs Award for CSR Reporting, aside winning the Print Journalist of the year award at the 2016 Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). In 2018, he was second runner-up in the Lagos Reporting Category of DAME.     Gbenga Salau loves travelling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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