The Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Betta Edu, who doubles as the Chairman of COVID-19 Response Task Force, has revealed the reasons Governor Ben Ayade ordered the withdrawal of COVID-19 vehicles from his aides.
Speaking with DAILY POST on Tuesday, Edu lamented the poor performance of the aides, noting that the people performed below expectations as the government report showed that people were still crossing the borders despite their presence.
“From time to time, we heard that some people crossed the boundaries to our state, thus exposing us to serious risk, we cannot be insensitive as government and say they are our appointees and let them continue to stay there. We had to remove them and look for a more important strategy that works.
“People were still crossing the borders into the state despite the fact that those aides were put there to man or guard the borders. We got several reports on that; and the government decided that, instead of using them; let us use the chiefs or traditional rulers, youths and vigilantes.”
She explained that the chiefs, youths and vigilante were on ground, “They will be able to stand up for their communities and environment and since they live there and are from those places, it will be easy for them to stay there 24 hours and guard their places.
“So, they will be the ones who would be using the vehicles. The community and people will be mobilized and everything that was given to these people will be given to them.
Edu, however, debunked the allegations that the government officials (Special Assistants) were involved in criminal acts, noting that their removal was due to poor performance.
“It’s not true that they used the vehicles as personal property, nobody ever wanted to use it as their personal vehicles, the vehicles were given to them for official purposes. For instance, the Head of Service, who was given the vehicle, returned it when he went back to his work.
“There is no issue like that, we only withdrew them and gave them to those who are going to work, it’s the same 50 vehicles, we don’t have more than that, if we leave 50 vehicles to these people, what will happen to those who are doing the work?
“So, we have to collect those vehicles from those aides and give them to people who are doing the work. Those SAs will be reassigned within town to enforce no mask no movement policy,” she said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Christian Ita said, “We received reports that the borders were porous, so we needed to change strategy.
“They weren’t involved in any criminal tendencies. Government believes that using the villagers, chiefs and youths as well as vigilantes, will be more effective and they will be mobilised. The government appointees were given daily allowance and this allowance will be given to these people,” he stated.
Consequently, the State Security Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade, South South, Ani Esin said, “We have just locked Calabar-Itu finally. Initially, we gave windows for essentials to come in but people abused it and we have shut it down totally as ordered by the governor,” he emphasized.