Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State gave out 54 Sports Utility Vehicles to officials of the 18 local government councils in the state on Wednesday, September 30.
The governor gave out 18 Ford Edge vehicles to the 18 council chairmen, 18 Ford Escape vehicles to vice-chairmen, and 18 Ford Ecosport vehicles to other leaders of the council.
The Deputy Governor, Ivara Esu, represented the governor during the presentation which held at the Governor’s Office, Diamond Hill, Calabar. He urged the officials to use the vehicles effectively.
The Deputy Governor said, “It’s not about giving cars, what is happening is important at this time we are now. With zero allocation, COVID-19, and the economic crisis, if we were to rely on federal allocation even salaries will not be paid.”
The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey, also explained that the vehicles were purchased through the JAAC Accounts in line with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) regulations.
Mrs Odey said, “The cars are not free gifts, they were purchased through the JAAC Accounts and going by NFIU regulations, they were procured by the chairmen themselves and the funds came through their individual local government accounts. The governor kept funds for them even before they came in and that’s why we have been able to purchase the cars. It’s their entitlement because it has always been a practice that the chairmen of councils considering the exigencies of their office deserve mobility.”