The opposition political party, All Progressive Congress (APC) has condemned the approval of N900, 000, 000 local government fund to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to allegedly curb coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The opposition party in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Bassey Ita, and made available to DAILY POST on Saturday, regretted the action of the members of the State House of Assembly and wondered why they should be allowed to be so used by the executive.
“We are constrained to reacted regarding a recent publication by the State House of Assembly which granted the request of the State Government for a deduction of N50 million from Local Government Funds to continue the fight against Coronavirus in the state.
“The Legislature at plenary on Thursday had approved the request which implied that Council funds will be deducted by the State Governor for the fight against the dreaded virus. The All Progressives Congress is irked by this position of the State Government to tamper with council funds as it is not in the best interest of the masses.
“Our consideration on this is that the Covid-19 outbreak has further exposed the false impression always given by the PDP led government of Sen. Ben Ayade about the financial strength of the state as expressed in its budgetary provisions.
“It is ridiculous that with whooping provisions in the previous and recent budgets for healthcare in the he state,the government is still going cap in hand to councils for funds to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic” the statement said. The APC faults the State Government’s request of the said funds as the State Government’s Health Sector budget is enough to take care of such emergencies.
“The implication of this development is that some hawks within the PDP led government are only interested in siphoning and hijacking council funds for their selfish gains. The State House of Assembly has in the light of this reality demonstrated that it is a rubber stamp of the State Governor and does not truly represent the interest of the masses.
“The passage or endorsement of such an unnecessary request by implication is to the effect that local government administration will continue to suffer under the jackboot of the state government even as a separate arm of government,” the statement added.
Speaking further, the publicity secretary said that ‘’It means also that the independent or autonomy status projected of the local governments by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is a farce altogether.
“If allowed to stay, this scenario will be replicated at all times the state government is embarking on any program of interest meaning that councils will become Automated Teller Machines(ATM) of the state government. What a terrible situation!”
Ita regretted that by this, development “prospects of the council areas will be grossly low and this will manifest in the poor living conditions of our people in the local communities and he urge the State House of Assembly to reverse itself in the best interest of the masses.”
“We also urge that the state government should explain to the people of the State whose mandate it holds in trust, how it expended the whooping sum voted for the Health Sector in this year’s budget of Olympotic Herestemesis.
“The APC is also of the opinion that the masses, civil society organizations, faith-based organizations among other public spirited organizations should rise up and ask pertinent questions regarding this gross act of insensitivity to the people by the state government and its rubber stamp legislature,” Ita appealed.