Ayade Disbands Scrap Metal Agency, Vows To Secure State Assets Amidst Concession Plans

In Breaking News, Politics

By Jonathan Ugbal

Cross River Governor, Senator Benedict Ayade on Tuesday announced the disbandment of the Scrap Metal Regulatory Agency after accusing it of unwholesome activities.

A statement emanating from Government House Calabar and shared by Governor Ayade’s media aides quoted him as saying, “I hear a particular Agency called Scrap Metal Agency Regulatory Agency is going around causing problems, seizing everything saying they are scraps,” while swearing-in a new Commissioner for Assets Management, Mr. Udiba Udiba, 41 days to his exit from office.

Findings revealed that Mr. Udiba was appointed last month and members of Cross River State House of Assembly unanimously cleared him after deliberating on the report of the House Committee on Judiciary, Public Service Matters, Public Petitions and Ethics during plenary on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Also sworn in was Mr. Martins Usibe as a Commissioner in the Cross River Civil Service Commission.

“Let me use this responsibility to announce that the Scrap Metal Regulatory Agency is hereby scrapped. The Agency will no longer exist because it will now come under the Asset Management Ministry,” he added.

Ayade who decried the stealing of government assets in the twilight of his administration said the new ministry, “has the responsibility to document every single asset that belongs to this State.

“Cross River has a very sad story regarding asset remittances. Our assets have often been taken away because we do not have inventory of them.

“In this time and age, people still see government assets as nobody’s assets. As the government is winding down, they convert official cars and change number plates, and hide the cars from the government.

“Some people move from one Ministry to the other taking government assets. They disappear with assets and take them away.

“Government vehicles are disappearing. If a vehicle has a small dent and is sent to a mechanic workshop, they will disappear from there. Government will buy official vehicles that are functional and somebody will seize them and say it is scrap.

“We must have an asset register for the State, indicating that if you go to Obudu for instance, this particular building belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture, this particular land belongs to the State and it is a property of the Cross River State Government.”

The call for an asset register by the Governor comes on the heels of criticisms that state actors have been diverting government properties.

CrossRiverWatch founder, Citizen Agba Jalingo had on Sunday said the Leader of the Assembly, and Deputy Governor-elect, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey annexed the land at the Ministry of Agriculture warehouse in Ogoja to begin the construction of another personal house.

Also, Citizen Jalingo said part of the land belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture in Obudu is said to have been annexed by the Governor’s in-laws, Mr. Gabe Akpo and Mr. Eric Akpo who serves as the Special Adviser, Technical to the Governor.

Furthermore, reports of the Marina Resort Cinema and Marina Resort Hotel being leased for a paltry NGN12 million and NGN 6 million respectively have neither been confirmed nor denied by the State.

These happen amidst the publication of a request for expression of interest published by The Nation newspaper on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, which announced the State plans to concession five assets – The Transcorp Hotel in Calabar, Cross River State Bagging Factory in Calabar, Fresh Fruit Pickles Factory in Obanliku, Maize Flour Factory in  Obanliku, and Groundnut Oil Mill in Bekwarra.

CrossRiverWatch noted an error in the publication which said the submission of proposals by interested parties will end by 3:00 PM on Monday, April 27, 2023. However, April 27th is a Thursday while the Monday before it is April 23rd, a public holiday, and the one after is April 30th.

It will be recalled that the Governor had on Thursday, July 21, 2022, signed a concession agreement with HBMSL Group chaired by Pastor Yemisi Kudehinbu to take over the management of several industries built by his administration.

The number of industries was not stated in the release from Government House Calabar. However, the Governor said they expected products to roll out from factories in three months. He also said the decision to abandon the privatization agenda was to protect the State’s assets.

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