In February 2016, while Ayade had traveled, he summoned an emergency EXCO meeting presided over by his deputy and N100 million was approved as licensing fee for the Microfinance been the requirement by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
13 months after in March 2017, Governor Ayade told a delegation from the Calabar Chambers of Commerce and Industries led by its President, Mr. Efa Imoke that the State has approved N1 billion to float the bank.
And, in November 2018, 33 months after the approval, Governor Ayade commissioned the Bank’s headquarters along Ndidem Usang-Iso road in Calabar after missing two earlier deadlines in April 27 and May 29 of 2018. He said all staff of the Garment factory will open accounts there and that the groundbreaking ceremony for the next branch will be done in Boki by December of 2018.
During the commissioning of the bank in Calabar November 2018, the governor said a lot of things. Amongst them were…
“The bank would provide for those who ordinarily are technically challenged in terms of access to loans. Our interest is to make people, bring value to humanity and make them feel the dignity of mankind.
“The interest regime ranges from zero to five percent, this bank is not for interest or intended to make money but targeted at having women, the vulnerable and the physically challenged to encourage them that there is always a banking sector that can provide for them.
“This newly commissioned bank will ensure you become stable while creating an alternative income rather than depending on the State Government.
“For all young men, as we offer you appointments and create jobs for you in this regime, you will now put food on the table and with hands on the plough as the microfinance bank will be available to give you loan for you to do that 30,000 hectares of cocoa, to give us over 60,000 hectares of rice farm that we are looking for, or organic bamboo plantation to feed our toothpick factory.”
After raising these high hopes and expectations, 8 months after the opening of the Bank and release of N500million, not a dime has been given to anyone.
There are only two human beings who come to the building un-routinely and the bank isn’t offering any service there.
Information available to me suggest clearly that, after approval of the N500million, governor Ayade diverted the funds and embezzled same and this has stalled plans for the micro finance bank.
In fact, after renting a small apartment and poaching one Mr. Tony, from Ecobank as manager, the bank has remained non operational till today not to talk of the Boki branch that was supposed to start in December 2018.
Governor Ayade will do Cross Riverians a whole lot of good by coming public to tell the people of Cross River state, where the N500million he released for the Cross River state Micro-Finance bank is, because the money is certainly not in that bank.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Cross River State Chairman of AAC and writes from Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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