The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, on Wednesday gave out 54 Sports Utility Vehicles to officials of the 18 local government councils in the state.
The vehicles consist of 18 Ford Edge given to the 18 council chairmen, 18 Ford Escape given to vice-chairmen, and 18 Ford Ecosport to other leaders of the council.
Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Ivara Esu, during the presentation at the Governor’s Office, Diamond Hill, Calabar, charged the officials to make effective use of the vehicles.
According to Esu, “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.”
Explaining how the vehicles were procured, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey, said the vehicles were purchased through the JAAC Accounts in line with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit regulations.
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.”