by crossriverwatch admin
Crossriverwatch has obtained information which reveals that the ongoing inspection of projects in Cross River State by delegates from the National Good Governance Tour, NGGT, initiated by the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, is costing the state eighteen million Naira.
Thirteen million Naira of that amount has already been released while the balance of five million Naira is expected to be released today before the team departs to continue the nationwide tour in Akwa Ibom State.
The money is said to include the live coverage fee for Nigerian Television Authority, NTA and Cross River Broadcasting Cooperation, CRBC as well as the logistics requirements for hosting members of the delegation.
Officials in the Cross River State Ministries of Finance and Information who anonymously volunteered information to crossriverwatch said they consider the expenses as a means for some people to make their own money.
One of the officials actually took a swipe on journalists and accused pressmen of complicity, “What will they do with the eighteen million? After paying NTA and CRBC, the next thing as you can see in the breakdown there, is to pay this person and the other person to say nice things and pay you and your journalist colleagues to go and lie to the public and say plus what you did not see and because you have been paid, you will do their bidding. If not what do you need over a hundred journalists for in a two days tour”?
Yesterday, the team visited the Model Primary Health Centre, Abuochiche. The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information, Mrs. Kehinde Ajoni, described the health center as a role model. “This center appears to be a role model for the other health facilities that you have in the various communities. And the most important thing is that the people at the grassroot have an easy access, to health facilities because health is wealth to the people”. She said.
The delegation also visited the 16.2km Ikom-Calabar Highway-Iyamoyong-Iyamitet road which was completed in 2010 and commissioned in 2011.
They also inspected the Bebi Airstrip commissioned by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the 23rd of November 2001.
Bebi Airstrip is part of efforts to facilitate tourism in Cross-River State and it gives accessibility to the Obudu Cattle Ranch Resort.
A tourism official in the state, Dr. Clement and Mr. Okonkwo the Station Manager, informed the delegation that the state administration recently acquired an ATR-42 aircraft which can accommodate 54 passengers from the Rivers State Government and gave it to Aero contractors to manage and that the Bebi Airstrip is managed by NAMA and Cross-River State Government.
The completed Betukwel-Ohong-Bedia-Ukorshie Road too was inspected by the delegation amongst other projects.
The delegation however witnessed some embarrassing moments along Abakpa in Ogoja.
The natives of Abakpa were heard openly murmuring and saying:
“What are you touring?
“Come and give us roads!
“What are you moving up and down?
“When Federal Government has abandoned the state?”
One Mr. Mathias Odom, a retired teacher told journalists in Ogoja that apart from Abakaliki-Mbok road no visible federal government project is in the area and wondered what they are inspecting. He said, “The Ogoja-Calabar Highway has suffered undue delay and abandonment for over a decade. It’s a pity that the federal government could not reconstruct the road constructed in 1970s”.
Some top Cross River State government officials are also complaining about the large entourage from Abuja and wondered where the state will get the resources to host them.
One of the government officials who confided in our reporter said; “I really see this as a jamboree of sort which is not necessary. It is just a sheer waste of resources.”
A crossriverwatch reporter in the delegation reports that, “By my count, they are about 100 delegates in the good governance team here with over 70 as journalists including me. The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, National President, Garba Mohammed, is also here with the team”.
But state official sources say there are over one hundred journalists in the delegation most of whom are from Abuja.
The Information Minister Labaran Maku who was absent since the tour began on Sunday was said to have arrived late yesterday and he is expected to join the team this morning.
Amongst the delegation are Secretary to Cross River State Government, Mr. Mike Aniah, Commissioner for Information, Akin Ricketts, Commissioner for Health Dr. Angela Oyo Ita, LG Chief Oje, S.A. Special Projects, Arc. Bassey Oqua, S.A. Economic Planning, a representative of the Rural Access Mobility Project, RAMP, S.A. Media, Mr. Christian Ita, and officials from the Federal Ministry of Information led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Kehinde Ajoni, Directors of Information, Federal Ministry of Works and representatives of some Non-Governmental Organizations.
The tour was scheduled to end today but may be extended to Wednesday due to the terrain of the state.
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