Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has distributed 54 Sports Utility Vehicles to local government officials in the state.
The vehicles comprise 18 Ford Edge distributed to the 18 Chairmen of councils, 18 Ford Escape to the Vice Chairmen of councils and 18 Ford Ecosport to the Leaders of Councils across the state.
Speaking during the distribution of the vehicles on Wednesday in Calabar, Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Ivara Esu, tasked them to make effective use of the vehicles.
He said that the state government was prudent in managing resources as reflected in the provision of the vehicles, stressing the need for prudent management of council resources.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic 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,” he said.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Stella Odey, said the vehicles were purchased through the Joint Allocation Accounts in line with Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit regulations.
She said the governor kept the fund for the use of the councils before their election and emphasised that it was the tradition to provide mobility for council officials.
“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 is why we have been able to purchase the cars.
“It is their entitlement because it has always been a practice that the chairmen of council considering the exigencies of their office deserve mobility,” she said.
Emmanuel Offiong, the Chairman of Local Government Chairmen Forum, who is also the Chairman of Akpabuyo Local Government, commended the state government for solving the mobility needs of the council chairmen and other officials.