Ayade Presents N1.3trn Budget, Biggest In Nigeria’s History

Ayade Presents N1.3trn Budget, Biggest In Nigeria’s History
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Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has presented the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N1.3trillion to the State House of Assembly.

The budget is the largest a state has ever presented in Nigeria’s history, although Lagos State presented N812billion budget for 2017.

According to Governor Ayade, the proposal christened “Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation,” is tailored to fit the dreams and aspirations of the people of the state.

Presenting the bill on Thursday at the Cross River State House of Assembly, he informed the lawmakers that the choice of a deficit budget rather than an envelope one was to allow for flexibility.

He said this comes as the state government moves to actualise most of the deep visionary projects of his administration such as the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 274km superhighway among others.

Ayade said other innovations in the 2018 Appropriation Bill included the provision for the establishment of a job creation centre, school feeding programme, as well as a food bank to cater for the poor, aged and the vulnerable in the state.

“As I come before you to present the 2018 budget, you must think deep because if I did not have that vision to think deep, we will still be dealing with issues of security, refuse, salaries and pensions; indeed we will be dealing with the very essence of survival.

“One of our biggest ambitions is to develop a deep seaport with an evacuation corridor. We have made an ample provision of about N82billion to deal with the issues of dredging, preliminary reclamation and preconstruction in 2018,” he said.

The governor further informed the House that such provisions would send a positive message to investors who are aware that by the budgetary provisions, “they can warehouse their investments because sometimes people give funding either by way of capital or by direct project implementation.”

In his response, Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Honourable John Lebo, assured the governor of the support of the House towards the realisation of the goals and aspirations of government’s vision for the state.

Ex-President Obasanjo Visits Cross River State

Obasanjo’s Visit To Cross River In Photos

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday visited Cross River State on an official engagement.

The former President who was conveyed in an aircraft arrived in Calabar at about 10:00 am and was received by the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade.

He subsequently proceeded to the Government House alongside the governor and some top government officials in the state.

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Benue Open Grazing Ban Having ‘Havoc Effect’ On Cross River – Ayade

Benue Open Grazing Ban Affecting Cross River, Ayade Laments
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Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade says the enforcement of the Open Grazing Law in neighbouring Benue State is causing havoc in his state.

The governor made the claims on Monday in Calabar, the state capital after suspected herdsmen from Benue invaded a community in Cross River, killing one and injuring others.

Addressing a press conference after a closed-door meeting with heads of security agencies in the state, Ayade condemned the invasion and called on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter to prevent reprisals.

READ ALSOOne Reported Dead As Herdsmen Invade Community In Cross River

“Currently, the situation is where farmers feel a deep sense of loss with the continuous grazing on their economic crops while the herdsmen are also desperately looking for pasture to sustain their cattle, it’s a complex situation,” he said.

“But obviously, this passage of the Anti-Open Grazing Law fully in Benue State and its implementation is taking a havoc effect on Cross River State.”

The governor also lamented that the state government is under pressure from the affected community to ensure that the herdsmen are relocated elsewhere for the sake of peace.

He said, “Today, as I speak, Cross River State government is under very intense pressure from her citizens to also do same by passing the same law.”

“The Federal Government must have the moral courage to address this issue because if we pass a stiff law against open grazing, and another state does, and another state does, then we are wiping out that trade and we are wiping out the means of livelihood of a people.

“But if on the other hand we also do nothing, and they continue to wipe out the crops of people, then they will wipe out the crops of a people and a people; this is not what the Federal Government should leave in the hands of a people,” he added.

One Reported Dead As Herdsmen Invade Community In Cross River

One Reported Dead As Herdsmen Invade Community In Cross River
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Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has condemned the invasion of suspected herdsmen which left one person dead in a community in the state.

He alleged that the herdsmen came to his state to perpetuate violence after they left Benue State as a result of the enforcement of the Open Grazing Law by the state government.

READ ALSOBenue Open Grazing Ban Having ‘Havoc Effect’ On Cross River – Ayade

According to the governor, intelligence information revealed that the suspects invaded a community in Yala Local Government Area of the state and following a little argument, a skirmish ensued leading to the death of one person and others injured.

Addressing a press conference after a closed-door security meeting which held on Monday in Calabar, he called on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter to prevent more attacks on the community bordering Benue State.

“Currently, the situation is where farmers feel a deep sense of loss with the continuous grazing on their economic crops while the herdsmen are also desperately looking for pasture to sustain their cattle, it’s a complex situation,” he said.

“But obviously, this passage of the Anti-Open Grazing Law fully in Benue State and its implementation is taking a havoc effect on Cross River State.”

He added that the state government is under pressure from the affected community to ensure that the herdsmen are relocated elsewhere for the sake of peace.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Hafiz Inuwa, said security personnel were immediately dispatched to the community while peace has been restored.

Ayade Hopeful Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges

Ayade Hopeful Nigeria Will Overcome Challenges
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Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has urged the people of the state and Nigerians to be patient and hopeful.

The governor, in his speech, while celebrating Nigeria’s 57th independence anniversary on Sunday in Calabar, the state capital, was hopeful that the country would surely surmount her challenges.

He said that despite the myriad of challenges that have confronted Nigeria in recent times, the nation has, however, made some giant strides in her march towards greatness.

Ayade believes Nigeria would definitely bounce back to reclaim its status as a true giant of Africa with the kind of leadership headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He also used the occasion to reiterate the commitment of his administration to delivering on all their campaign promises to the people of the state.

“Despite the harsh realities of the times, the state has no doubt witnessed rapid progress with the massive construction of industries currently going on across the state,” the governor.

Highlighting some of the ongoing projects, he said, “In a couple of months, the ultra-modern rice mill in Ogoja, the state of the art cocoa processing plant in Ikom, the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company (CALAPHARM), and the rice city in Calabar will be up and running.

“Also, a couple of strategic road infrastructure are currently under construction across the state. All these are geared towards recalibrating the economic architecture of our dear state.”

The governor further called for patience, a positive attitude and understanding, as government strives to earn the trust of the people by fulfilling all the earlier promises made.

Agriculture Is The ‘Greatest Challenge’ In Cross River – Ayade

Cross River To Float Air, Shipping Lines Soon – Ayade
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The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has identified agriculture as the greatest challenge of the state.

To this end, the governor revealed plans by his administration to make the state a major exporter of agricultural and agro-allied products in the country.

“The greatest challenge for us as a state is agriculture,” Ayade said on Thursday when he received a South Korean delegation who paid him a visit at the Government House in Calabar, the state capital.

“Very recently as you all know, the Japanese have invented a technology which is now in full operation, using water as a source of energy to drive cars. This is very clear that our monolithic dependence on oil in years to come will be over,” he added.

Some of the products identified by the governor for cultivation, processing and export, include cocoa, rice, maize and banana, with over two million pieces of arable land already set aside for banana cultivation.

He said apart from the 100 thousand hectares of land already set aside for the cultivation of cocoa, another two million hectares of arable land has been acquired by the state for the cultivation of banana.

Highlighting the importance of banana, he said, “banana is such a strong crop for medicinal purpose and the demand of the crop is also very high.”

“Banana is also a very critical crop for exportation because it grows only in specific soil with a sub-tropical humid climate and this climate is only found in South America and Nigeria – specifically Enugu and Cross River states.”

The governor explained that the move was part of deliberate initiatives and strategic policy to permanently decouple the state from over-dependency on the Federal Government, thereby, becoming a major exporter of farm produce in the country.

“The export of food will always remain viable and this is where Cross River State comes in and I am aware that you paid visits to other states like Delta, Benue, but you have chosen Cross River State to partner us in this direction; Be rest assured that you have found the best berth,” he told the delegation.

Ayade revealed further that efforts were ongoing by the state government to replace oil wells with cocoa farms for the people of the state.

He said, “We have moved to a point in Cross River State that every man and woman will own at least a hectare of cocoa farm at his or her backyard, which will be their oil wells equivalence.”

Gov. Ayade Tells Judiciary To Sanction Law Breakers In Cross River

Cross River Govt To Build 50 Housing Units For Bakassi IDPsThe Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has urged the Judiciary to ensure that it lives by the ethics of the calling, towards the dispensation of justice as regards the law.

Speaking to a cross-section of men of the bar at the legal opening year in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, the governor regretted that, little impact on the judiciary was felt last year in terms of sanctions which should be stepped up this year.

The governor called for the law to catch up with kidnappers, those bridging the peace of the state as well as those who have made it a point of duty to oppress the downtrodden in Calabar against government’s laws to serve as a deterrent.

Cross River Govt To Build Another 26MW Power Plant

Cross River Govt To Build Another 26MW Power PlantThe Cross River State government has announced plans to commence the construction of another 26 megawatt gas turbine power plant in Tinapa.

The government made the announcement just weeks to the completion of a 21MW power plant in Calabar, the state capital.

Funded by Export-Import Bank of India and the state government, the new project when completed in the next 24 months is expected to further boost power supply in the state and its environs.

The State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade explained that the commencement of the additional project was a result of one of the many agreements signed during one of his foreign trips in search of investors.

“When you add the 10MW coming from the 30MVA that is being proposed by Digi Generation, you will realise that we will be generating cumulatively about 52MW of electricity within the next two years,” he said.

The governor described the project as a dream come true and in line with his administration’s agenda to industrialise the state., adding that parts of the Calabar metropolis would soon begin to reap the benefits of his power project.

He also expressed optimism that parts of the Calabar metropolis would soon begin to reap the benefits of his power project.

“In the next one month or two, we are very certain that we will be generating 23MW so that the people of Cross River State will know that we are giving them 23MW coming out of the paliarmentary extension and another 26MW coming out of Tinapa,” Ayade said.

We Are Greater Together Than Apart, Says Osinbajo

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has again emphasised the need for Nigeria to remain one united country.

He said this today in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, where he was giving a rousing welcome by citizens of the state.

According to Osinbajo, those seeking division in the country must understand that Nigeria is great today because of its population, size, and unity despite the odds.

“The reason why this country is as great as it is, is because of its diversity. It is because we have here people of every race, people of every tribe bringing in their different cultures, their different strengths (together). All of the different things that make each one of our ethnic groups great comes together in one country,” Osinbajo said at the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu.

“We are greater when we are together than when we are apart. This country is greater together than apart. Every one of our ethnic groups needs the support of the other.

“When people speak of Nigeria and respect this country, it is because of the diversity; because of the strength in numbers. That is why we are considered great; that is why the rest of Africa looks up to us for direction. If we are one small conclave, nobody will look at us with the seriousness that they look at us today.”

The Obong of Calabar on his part called on all political office holders to unite in building one Nigeria irrespective of political affiliations.

He also called on the Federal Government to fulfill the campaign promises.

The traditional ruler conferred the Acting President with one of the highest traditional titles of the Efik Kingdom, Ada Idaha Ke Efik Eburutu.

Also, Governor Ben Ayade praised the Acting President for the visit, which he described as memorable.

Ayade Pardons 30 Prisoners as Cross River Celebrates Golden Jubilee

CSOs, Ben Ayade, Man Of The YearThe Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, has granted Clemency to over 30 prisoners currently serving jail terms in the state.

Announcing the decision in a state-wide broadcast in Calabar, the governor maintained that their release is om the spirit of the celebration of the state’s golden jubilee.

The governor who further explained that his decision is based on Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which gives him the power to pardon prisoners.
According to him, five of the prisoners are on death row, 16 are serving life sentences, four are above sixty years of age and nine are terminally ill and may likely die if they are not pardoned.

He said the names of the prisoners would be released soon.

Ayade further used the occasion to urge all indigenes of the state and residents alike to join his administration in ensuring a bright future by building upon the legacies of his predecessors.

“As we march into another half a century, let us do so with hope, pride, confidence and optimism that our story tomorrow will be loftier than yesterday’s,” Ayade said.

“Today signifies the beginning of a greater tomorrow. For as we gaze into a new horizon, we see the actualisation of the deepest seaport in Africa, the Bakassi Deep Seaport; we see the realisation of the most digital evacuation corridor, the 275-kilometer superhighway; the crystallisation of the most sophisticated rice seedling centre in Africa and many other ambitious projects that would ultimately alter our narrative as a state.”

According to the governor, the unity and support of the people are vital to the achievement of the goals.

“All we have to do to actualise these lofty goals is stick together, working in harmony with a singularity of purpose,” he said.

“It is, therefore, imperative that we forge a common front in our collective desire to completely rebrand our state.”

Cross River To Punish Residents For Untidy Environment

The Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has warned residents of the state to ensure that the state’s cleanliness and greenery are sustained or be ready to face prosecution.

Ayade gave the warning when he formally announced the change of name of the state’s non-armed bearing outfit, the Green Police to Green Sheriff at the Government House in Calabar, the State Capital.

Addressing the team who was presented with official vehicles, Ayade informed them that, it is imperative for the cleanliness of the city to be sustained as his administration will have zero tolerance for an untidy environment.

He further stated that the new outfit “Green Sheriff” must serve as an environmental neighbourhood watch by ensuring that every resident of the state and Calabar, in particular, keeps his or her environment very clean.

He explained that the Green Sheriff’s responsibilities will include general sanitation check, nursing and planting of trees, ensuring that refuse bins are evacuated as and when due, report erring wastes evacuation contractors as well as arrest persons who litter the environment.

Other roles the governor enumerated were to stop deforestation, afforestation supervision while ensuring that irrigation contractors water all trees.

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 Deadline

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 DeadlineThe Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has set February 2017 as deadline to deliver on a 21 megawatts Calabar power plant, as part of his determination to ensure that the Calabar metropolis has 24/7 uninterrupted power supply.

Speaking during his routine inspection of the ongoing construction work at the site along the Parliamentary Extension in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital, Ayade explained that the power plant is a new technology which is cost effective.

Uninterrupted Power Supply: Ayade Sets 2017 Deadline
construction site for power plant

Excited about the level of work done so far, Ayade said: “as you can see, there is massive construction work going on here at the site, we are putting the structural base for the installation of the 21 megawatt power turbines that have already been delivered on site.

“We have set February 17, 2017 as deadline to deliver uninterrupted 24/7 power supply to Calabar metropolis. With this singular effort, Calabar will be the first capital city to have uninterrupted power supply in the country”.

Speaking further he said, “the good thing is that this is the product and manifestation of the several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), I had signed early last year and today, we are at the construction stage to deliver on this all important project.

labourers

“As you can see, there is so much energy as several young men are already
engaged and we are making plans to engage some of them permanently as maintenance staff after the construction.”

Ayade then revealed that the project was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) as the state was working in partnership with a Brazilian/American firm, which is also collaborating with the Cross River State Power Company “to establish and deliver on this world class independent embedded power plant here in Calabar.”

Offering further insight, the governor stated that he would ensure that “no contractor is paid until he meets the mile stones set.

“So, if you bring me an IPC, I must check to ensure that you have delivered as declared by the agencies concerned before you receive your payment.

“Secondly, I am driven by the passion and determination, which is why I am always on site instead of sitting in the office. This is rather very alien to me and that is why I am on site daily to ensure that we catch the pace because money is scarce, every little kobo will be accounted for.”

He expressed excitement that work is being done according to specification and approved designs.

Ayade assured residents that the state had concluded arrangement with Lilleker and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, to ensure uninterrupted power supply especially during the annual Calabar Carnival.

“In line with this effort, the state has provided 88 new transformers across the city centre for improved power supply to ensure that all parts of Calabar are lit during the yuletide.

He then used the opportunity to invite Nigerians to the festival.

“Let me use this opportunity to invite every Nigerian to stop searching for scarce dollars for overseas trips and come to Calabar for the festival and Carnival.

“We have everything you are looking for, hospitality, love, good treatment, everything you can think of is here in Calabar,” the governor said.