I Think Agba Jalingo Should Be Released – Gov Ben Ayade


Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has said he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from the prison. 

Speaking after a long silence on the matter, Governor Ayade said the journalist who is standing trial for treason and for allegedly criticising his government, acted out of youthful exuberance.

“I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

“If you ask Agba Jalingo today, I am the one working with his lawyers for his freedom, I am the one sustaining him and sending upkeeps,” Ayade claimed.

The governor also denied being the one who ordered the journalist’s arrest, stating that the case is between Agba Jalingo and the Federal Government.

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“In court, it is Federal Government versus Agba Jalingo, not Cross River State,” Mr Ayade told reporters on Monday at the presidential villa, Abuja, where he went to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He’s in court for treason, a state does not have the power to try anyone for treason, it’s not me.”

Governor Ayade said the arrest and trial of Agba Jalingo are in connection with Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow protest, adding that the journalist left his core profession and began to meddle into politics.

“On his Facebook page, he sent pictures where he was being teargassed at the revolution march in Lagos. His own pictures, posted by himself and when Sowore was being arrested, he went back to his Facebook to post that the revolution has just started, ‘we will continue this battle until revolution works’. He admitted this in Court.

“You are seeing him as a journalist, but he’s not, he’s the chairman of Sowore’s party in Cross River State so he’s a politician. He has a primary calling, which is journalism.

“Once he started the campaign to overthrow the government of President Buhari, he ceased to be seen from the point of a journalist because he has become the state chairman of a party,” Governor Ayade stated.

The governor reiterated that he has been working for Mr. Jalingo’s release from Calabar prison where he has been incarcerated.

Until his arrest, Mr. Jalingo was the publisher of Cross RiverWatch.

He was apprehended was on August 22 allegedly over a report suggesting that Governor Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state, a claim which the government has strongly refuted.

Buhari Inaugurates Rice Factory In Calabar, Says FG Making ‘Giant Agricultural Strides’

President Muhammadu Buhari in Calabar, Cross Rivers State on Tuesday, June 26.


President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is committed to boosting Nigeria’s economy through Agricultural revolution and is already recording progress.

The President made this statement on Tuesday while commissioning the automated rice seed and seedling factory in Cross Rivers State capital, Calabar.

He applauded the Cross Rivers state Governor, Ben Ayade, over his contribution to Federal Government’s Agricultural revolution.

“When we assumed the reins of leadership of our dear country, this administration launched a zero oil economic roadmap as a way of making our country less dependent on oil while encouraging investment in other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.

“Indeed this factory speaks loudly about the giant strides we are making in agriculture as a country. This monumental project for which we are gathered here today is a marvel to behold.”

READ ALSO: Buhari Accuses Politicians Of Taking Advantage Of Herdsmen-Farmers Crisis

The automated seed and seedling factory is believed to be the first in Africa and the President is confident that the seedlings from the factory will improve rice production and sufficiency nationwide.

He said, “The factory which is said to be the first in Africa is an automated plant with a capacity to produce high yielding vitaminised and disease resisting rice seedling.

“What we expect is that the seedlings from this factory will improve rice yield from current nation three to four tonnes to about nine to 10 tonnes per hectare to ensure rice sufficiency in the country.”

President Buhari said further Governor Ayade is establishing various people-oriented projects because he has keyed into the Federal Government’s revolutionary vision.

“I must say that visiting the state (Cross Rivers) for the second time within three years in connection with people oriented and the flagship project of Governor Ayade is very welcomed and very satisfying to me.”

Cross Rivers Governor Teary As He Signs Historic N1.3trn Budget


Cross Rivers State Governor Ben Ayade broke down in tears on Tuesday as he signed the state’s historic N1.3 trillion budget for 2018.

The emotion-laden governor signed the 2018 Budget at the executive council chambers in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

The budget was tagged, ‘Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation.’

Shortly after the signing, Ayade said such humongous amount was budgeted because his administration is driven by a conscious determination anchored on a clear ambition, with timelines and clear performance indicators.

“The state must create a new vista, prospect, horizon and income pattern that will define us by what we are and not what the world sees us to be. We must put an end to the civil service status of Cross River and we can only achieve this when we think out of the box,” he said.

According to him, within 35 months, his administration has completed and secured the entire approvals for the superhighway project, completed detailed design of the deep seaport project and achieved the EIA approvals for both the deep seaport and superhighway, among other projects.

Earlier, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo assured that the House of Assembly will perform its functions to ensure that the budget is crystallised for the benefit of democracy in the state.

Others who were at the signing include members of the Cross River State House of Assembly and state executives.

Gov. Ayade locks Out Employees For Lateness

CSOs, Ben Ayade, Man Of The YearPolitical Appointees and Staff of the Governor’s office in Calabar who resumed late to work on Wednesday were locked out of the Government House, following orders by Governor Ben Ayade.

The action according to the Senior Special Assistant and Chief Press Secretary to governor, Mr Christian Ita said is a way of instilling discipline on the State’s work force, which he has since his assumption into office given adequate concern to their welfare.

Speaking to Channels Television on the issue, the CPS said, even senior appointees who came late were not spared.

Ita noted that, “The action is just to instill discipline, Governor Ben Ayade has done a lot to make the work force happy and he feels that, what they owe the administration in return is to be at their duty post when they should be at their duty post to reciprocate the gesture.

“No appointee was spared from the punishment irrespective of position.

“Status does not matter, what matters is, doing the right thing at the right time, the CPS concluded”.

This is the third time, the governor is ordering that, the gates be locked out to staff who do not come early to work.

Food Poisoning: Cross River Govt. Vows To Prosecute Culprits

CSOs, Ben Ayade, Man Of The YearThe Cross River State Government has assured the people of Ogoja that justice will be served on the person or people who are linked to the food poisoning incident that claimed two lives and affected 44 other persons across communities in the Local Government Area (LGA).

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Joe Abang, said this during an interview with Channels Television.

He was speaking at his community, Oboso Mbube where the unfortunate incident was said to have occurred.

According to the Commissioner, Governor Ben Ayade had given a directive that the law must also go after local criminals perpetuating violence in rural areas.

The survivors of the incident, who said they were thankful for their lives, mourned the demise of the vendor and her husband.

The couple were said to have died on the spot after eating the poisoned food.

Following the incident, Police arrested a man suspected to have masterminded the food poisoning.

The suspect, identified as Paul Agbor, was believed to have intentionally poisoned the food as a way of getting back at people in the community.

The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, had described the incident as a disaster.

Dr. Asibong said the symptoms displayed by the victims include vomiting, foaming in the mouth, body weakness and spitting of blood.

Over 50,000 Furniture Distributed To Schools In C/River

Over 50,000 Furniture Distributed To Schools In C/RiverThe Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has commenced the distribution of over 50,000 plastic tables and chairs to schools across the 18 local government areas of the state.

The Chairman of SUBEB, Dr. Stephen Odey, said the Board under his administration will always create a conducive environment for effective teaching and learning to take place.

He hinted that the distribution of furniture has been concluded in the southern senatorial zone of the state.

Dr. Odey added that the exercise is on-going in the central zone, with each senatorial district getting a total of 17,200 sets of plastic tables and chairs.

“No child in Cross River State will sit on the floor.

“Governor Ben Ayade is passionate about the Cross River Child and so, we will continue to partner with UBEC to do more for our education sector,” said the SUBEB boss.

While a total of 371 schools from the central senatorial zone -Boki, Etung, Ikom, Obubra, Abi and Yakurr- have benefitted from the development, the northern zone would take its turn next.

Cross River Set To Float Cally Air And Shipping Lines

airline and shipping line floating plan underway in cross riverCross River State Government has completed plans to float its own airline as well as a shipping line, as part of efforts to increase revenue and lower dependence on federal allocation.

Addressing reporters in Calabar, Governor Ben Ayade said the state was taking full advantage of its huge tourism potentials and vast maritime resources by going into both airline and maritime services.

Huge Maritime Resources

The governor noted that while Cally Air was expected to transport tourists from all over Nigeria to the beautiful tourist sites dotted across the state, particularly the famous Obudu Ranch Resort, the shipping line would concentrate primarily on cargo services, especially along the shoreline of the Gulf of Guinea.

Ayade maintained that “Cross River State is only taking full advantage of its huge maritime resources by focusing on maritime trading particularly, cabotage services by providing merchant vessels that will ply the Gulf of Guinea and provide services to countries along this shoreline.

“In our 2017 budget, there is a provision for a merchant vessel that will provide maritime businesses with Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroun and the entire stretch of the shoreline.

“There is another provision for Wharf landing and other support services. So, we are also going to have a fabrication yard and other allied maritime services as we refocus on broadening the maritime sector in the state”.

Justifying government’s decision to venture into maritime services, Professor Ayade reasoned that with the maritime trade and connectivity along the region, his administration was confident that the return on the investment would definitely be huge and contribute immensely to the budget of infinite transposition.

“Our vessels are already berthing in Calabar as part of investment in 2017 because we are establishing business outlays in some West and Central African countries dealing mostly on petroleum products and because Cross River State is looking at an aggregate of driving an industrialised, business-like module for governance, soon, you will see us go into full time trading.

“That is why in our budget, we have budgeted about 14 billion Naira to expand investment in this direction to the Gambia,” the Governor explained.

Professor Ayade further told reporters that the state had the capacity to handle the huge investments, knowing full well that, it is a very delicate combination of public-private service administration structure running it from a private business perspective.

Cross River is announcing its plan two days after Imo State government said it had taken delivery of the first aircraft, to kick start, as the first state owned commercial airline, Imo Air.

During the official launch of the new airline at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport in Owerri, the Imo state capital, the Governor Rochas Okorocha said the investment by the state government would boost economic activities in the state.

He added that it would increase the state Internally Generated Revenue and also generate employment opportunities for teaming unemployed youths in the state.

Cross River Govt. Lauds FG For Border Projects In Bakassi

Ben Ayade, Cross River, Border ProjectsThe Cross River State government has commended the Federal Government for some developmental projects sited around the boarder area of Bakassi Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Ben Ayade, who made the commendation on Wednesday, however advocated for the speedy conclusion of the projects.

He expressed optimism that the development would be beneficial to the Bakassi community when concluded and commissioned for use.

The governor made the remarks when he received the National Assembly Joint Committee for State and Local Government at the Government House in Calabar, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Senator Ayade noted that much needed to be done for the displaced Bakassi people, whom he said were subjected to harsh climatic conditions at their various camps.

He highlighted the importance of the projects and assured the committee that his administration would ensure the prompt conclusion of the projects without external or internal interference.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, Senator Abdullahi Gumel said that the lawmakers were in the state to inspect the Border Commission Development Agency’s projects around the boarder community of Bakassi.

The Executive Secretary of Boundary Communities Development Agency, Mr Numo-Ipre Wills, also expressed delight at the progress of the ongoing projects.

Mr Wills, however, urged the government for provide more funds for successful completion of the projects.

Ayade Exempts Low Income Earners From Paying Taxes

Ayade Exempts Low Income Earners From Paying TaxesThe Cross River State Government has with immediate effect abolished all forms of taxation levied on low income earners with less than 50,000 naira monthly income.

The directive, according to Governor Ben Ayade was necessitated by the current economic realities in the country and its impacts on ordinary citizens.

Ayade made the disclosure shortly after signing the 2017 appropriation bill of N707 billion christened, “Budget of Transposition” into law at the State Executive Council Chambers, Calabar.

Citizens, especially low income earners and petty traders in the state have recently frowned at the incessant collection of taxes from them, which is biting hard following the recession.

This led to Governor Ben Ayade’s decision to put an end to pressurizing the low income earners in the state for taxes.

The Governor in an emotional speech on the issue reasoned that God has given those in authority the window to raise the hopes of the electorate and by that, his administration would rather tax his intellect to prosperity rather than taxing the low income earners.

Ayade Conferred With ‘Eto Nkori’ Title In Cross River

Ben Ayade, Eto Nkori, Cross RiverThe Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has been conferred the highest honourary chieftaincy title of ‘Eto Nkori’ by the state’s Traditional Rulers Council.

The title, which means Tree of Progress, was conferred on the Governor on Thursday at the council’s chambers in Calabar, the state’s capital in south-south Nigeria.

Chairman of the council and Paramount Ruler of Bakassi, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, urged the Governor to keep faith with his quest towards the development of the state.

He also commended the Governor for demonstration of sincerity and fairness in his avowed determination to govern the state.

In his response, Governor Ayade lauded the royal fathers for the honour bestowed on him and assured them that the gesture would not be taken for granted.

The event was witnessed by all paramount rulers from the 18 local government areas of Cross River State.

Ayade In Victory Dance After Supreme Court Judgement

ben ayade dances to supreme court victoryThe Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has returned to the State after a Supreme Court affirmed his nomination as the legitimate candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 governorship election with a dance of victory. 

Addressing reporters on Monday on arrival at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar the Cross River State Capital, the governor said he was back to the state with a greater vigour to serve with a renewed hope devoid of political tension.

“We are putting the political tension behind us because we are done with the courts. It is time for us to come together as a state and as one big family united by the challenges of our circumstance to move forward with verve and vitality to reconstruct a new Cross River State that will protect and take care of the younger generations,” he said.

The excited governor rode in a motorcade from the airport through the streets of Calabar to show gratitude to over 100 support groups who gathered to welcome him back.

He told the gathering that his administration was more concerned about the economy of the state and that the executive had fashioned out ways to put an end to over dependence on Federal Allocation.

“It is the duty of my administration headed by a seasoned business man who is now in government to bring the desired change. A change that will put Cross River State on a road map and direction for proper prosperity.

“We are striving to put an end to Federal Allocation dependency and completely decoupled our self and also put an end to this political tension. This, therefore, means that we are creating a new focus, a new direction and indeed a new commitment, with renewed vigour believing that God, who has delivered us throughout these processes, will be with us so that will can ultimately provide the Eldorado for our people,” he stated.

Governor Ayade urged all Cross Riverians to come together as a family and a state in unity to join hands with him towards reconstructing a new Cross River State State.

“The distraction was minimal because God was on my site. I feel very relieved. I feel the spirit, the movement, the fear, the energy and everything that God represents in my life. It is a reflection of the fact that when you live and leave everything in the hands of God and submit to Him, He definitely takes control.

“I strongly believe that the great vision we have for the state, God will surely provide for them,” he added.

Governor Ayade Appoints 1,106 Persons In Cross River

Ben Ayade, Cross RiverGovernor Ben Ayade has announced the appointment of 1106 persons in Cross River State.

They are appointed as special advisers, special assistants, personal assistants as well as the Chairmen and members of Board, commissions, departments and agencies.

The appointment is in addition to the over 800 others which Governor Ayade had earlier made.

A breakdown of the appointment shows that 799 were appointed into various boards, commissions and agencies.

The remaining 307 appointees are: six special advisers, 30 senior special advisers, 75 special assistants, 25 personal assistants, 16 personal assistants to paramount rulers and 90 representatives of each local government in the State Food Bank Unit.

Others are, 21 liaison officers for the 18 local government areas and three senatorial districts, 18 special assistants on religious affairs and 26 permanent secretaries.

A statement by the Governor’s spokesman, Mr Christian Ita, on Tuesday says the appointments take effect from November 1, 2016.