June 13, 2024

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Return Illegally Deducted Local Govt Funds Now, Group Tells Ayade

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Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar

Following the arrest of top three civil servants for allegedly leaking information on the alleged financial recklessness of the Cross River State governor, Prof Ben Ayade, a concerned group under the aegis of Anansa Watchdog, has urged the governor to return all funds taken from the local governments accounts and also apologise to the arrested civil servants.
The group said this in a letter made available to newsmen in Calabar where they demanded for a complete reversal of entries of all the spurious debits and a complete and well constructed apology to the victimized civil servants.
“The nine N900 million withdrawal first tranche for COVID-19 was an open and broad day light looting as Cross River is without an isolation centre and with only 33 doctors. The second tranche of completion of Obudu airport and air craft purchase is nothing but a hoax as the site has turned to blood field over encumbered plots of land forcefully claimed from the natives. Even his village head knows that he is not building anything.
“Anansa Watchdog further has it on good authority that all this looting was meant to gather funds to actualize his dream of installing Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr. as his successor. But the snag here is that Asuquo Ekpenyong doesn’t show adequate capacity to run a ministry, talk less of a state. We are yet to know the Cross River State statement of affairs for five Years as our account are in the woods and in shambles”, the letter reads in part.
The group asked Ayade to state the aircraft vendor; the contractors of the airport construction and the spreadsheet of COVID-19 expenditures if he has good intentions with over 5.7billion of the state in his hands.
In the letter which was signed by 10 members of the group; Mesembe Asikpo Ito, Eke Enembe, Eso Oyo Okor Oyo, Ankot Mkpang, Efiom Ekpe Eyamba, Efiok Efiok Cobham, Andong Eba, Nyomo Efiom, Enang Nsa and Inyang Nkune, Ayade was urged to concentrate on governance and leave politics so as to redeem his battered image, smeared by his Executive rascality.
The state commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Mrs. Stella Oremi Odey had on Monday ordered the arrest of Director of Joint Account Allocation Committee, JAAC in the State Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Mrs Pauline Odey, CEO, Account/Banking Services, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Mr. Essien Antigha and Director of Finance in the office of the Accountant General of the State, Mr. Orok Bassey Ironbar. The trio were further released on administrative bail.
Recall that the said leaked documents of withdrawal of 50million each and 250million naira for COVID-19 programme and purchase of aircraft respectively, from the 18 Local government accounts had been in circulation for the past three months.


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