The Manager of Nekede Zoo in Imo State, Francis Abioye has opened up on an allegation of fraud against his office.
Armed with certain evidences to buttress his points, the Zoo Manager (Mr Francis Abioye)has declared that the One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira (N136m) released to the Zoo Management by Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha’s Administration did not come to the Zoo Management directly but, through the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to him, the money was not given to the Zoo Management at once for the upgrading of the Zoo rather the Ministry was releasing the money in bits after monitoring the various stages of work. In his words “The entire project sum is supposed to be 400m for the upgrading of the Zoo to acceptable standard but the project was divided into two phases.
Phrase one (136.3m) was paid for which include building of the administrative block, completion of museum, stocking of animals, renovation of obsolete buildings, building of toilets and construction of modern semi intensive free range paddocks for high profile ungulates such as; Giraffes, Zebras, Elands with electric fencing installation, solar power generator, biogas and game viewing Park e.t.c”
Abioye who said he has generated over Eighty Million Naira 80m since he came on board as the Zoo Manager disclosed that such IGR is achievable within a year after the transformation work is done. He said more animals that have not been in Imo Zoo have been introduced for the first time while more are on the way.
According to him, the arrival of high profile animals will bring more attraction and add value to Nekede Zoo, adding that he made some exchange in order to acquire a female lion which according to him cost 8m, stressing that government gave him approval to use the internal generated revenue (IGR)from the Zoo to develop and take care of the animals as well as maintain and pay wages. He said that the workers and the animals are well taken care of since he assumed the headship as the zoo manager.
Speaking further, Abioye hinted that all the successive Governors who had visited the Zoo were impressed after going round the place for inspection.
He however revealed that there are detractors working against the progress of the Zoo. According to him, the detractors which he called cabals embarked on cat race while himself (Abioye) choose to embark on rat race. He explained that cat race is a race to look for what to eat while rat race is a race for life.”I have come to make a significant landmark that will stand the taste of time”. Abioye Francis submitted.
Some of the retired workers of the Zoo (Mr Godwin Njokwu and Mr Abaronye who spoke to our reporter warned the detractors to leave Abioye alone to do his work.
They accused the cabals of stealing the animals in the Zoo before Abioye came into office such as Chimpanzees, goats and grasscutters and they said other corrupt practices were taking place before Abioye came to manage the zoo.