Ben Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State, 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 model given to the 18 council chairmen, 18 Ford Escape model given to the vice chairmen and 18 Ford EcoSport model to the leaders of council.
Speaking during the handover ceremony held at the Governor’s Office, Diamond Hill, Calabar, Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Ivara Esu, charged the beneficiaries to make effective use of the vehicles.
Esu, 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 governor is prudent in managing our resources. If this was not the case the cars will not be provided.”
Explaining how the vehicles were procured, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey said, “The cars are not free gifts, they were purchased through the JAAC Accounts and going by the 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 council, considering the exigencies of their office, deserve mobility.”
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Chairman of Akpabuyo council, Emmanuel Offiong Bassey, commended the state government for meeting the mobility needs of council chairmen. He pledge that the vehicles would be used for the purposes for which they were bought.