By Jonathan Ugbal
Information reaching CrossRiverWatch suggests that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has asked the 18 Heads of Local Government Administration (HOLGA) in the State to raise N2.5 million each for “security cover.”
The HOLGAs are the most senior civil servants in the local governments and have ran the councils since December 2016 when the tenure of elected officials ended.
And, sources in the councils across the State told CrossRiverWatch on condition of anonymity that the Governor directed that the sum must be paid latest by tomorrow, Friday, July 18, 2019.
The Governor is said to be using the HOLGAs in Calabar Municipal and Calabar South local government areas to push the other 16 to dance to his tunes.
The HOLGAs and some Directors of Financial Services are said to have argued that they can manage their own security for fears of possible prosecution in the future.
This is despite the fact that N7 billion was budgeted as ‘Security Vote’ by the State in the 2019 budget.
The budget document also showed that over N17 billion was earmarked for other security subheads.
The running of Homeland Security, a subset of the Emergency Response Center (ERC) Quick Intervention Squad (QIS) which consists of dozens of Police, Army, Navy and personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps is expected to gulp N2.5 billion.
Security Support Service, which is different from the Security Vote and Homeland Security appropriation mentioned earlier in this report, is expected to be funded with N4 billion while N5 billion was budgeted for “statewide/ward security control.”
Despite these and the fact that the QIS has been existing for about a decade, N60 million was still budgeted for it’s “take-off.” Also, “State Security Project,” and “State Security Project/Border Petrol (patrol) Across the State” will cost N200 million each.
Furthermore, the construction of police stations at Itu bridge head at Odukpani local government area as well as Itigidi in Abi local government area is expected to cost N50 million.
While the State Border Security Agency activities and projects will receive N3 billion, anti kidnapping/anti-cultism activities will gulp N2.873 billion.
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