Tag Archives: Ben Ayade

Cross River: Gov. Ayade signs 2021 ‘heavyweight’ budget into law


Ayade, however, expressed the hope that with the several industries he has so far established and commencing fully in 2021, the state’s economy would receive a giant boost.

Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade, has signed 2021 budget of ‘Blush and Bliss’ into law following passage of the of N282b appropriation bill that was reduced from N1.01tr by the House of Assembly on Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

Speaking shortly after signing the budget yesterday at the Governor’s Office in Calabar, Ayade disclosed that the budget made provisions for the establishment of a state polytechnic.


“It also has provisions for social welfare schemes like grants and other financial benefits to help cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Cross River people,” he said.

Ayade explained that the size of the budget was smaller when compared to previous budgets of over N1tr and that his administration decided to reduce the financial commitment in key projects like the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the 275km superhighway to five per cent.

According to him, the state government will build the Seaport on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, adding: “For the 2021 budget of “Blush and Bliss,” the gross component is in its reduction from N1.01tr to N282b. My worry is what will then happen to the gap.


“We had explained this during the budget presentation that we are shifting from all the big dreams to the basic, primordial things of survival and ensuring that there is food on our tables.”

Ayade stated that his government had planned that by 2021, it would move away from food on the table to food on the plough, but that with the COVID-19 pandemic and #EndSARS protests, government realised that it had to further sustain its food on the table agenda.

He maintained that the 2021 budget was streamlined to meet the intended focus, hence it provided a 5 per cent cost for capital projects like the 275km Superhighway, the Bakassi Deep Sea port and Calas Vegas Island, among others.

He said the state’s privatisation council in partnership with KPMG, as consultants would select the best investors for the capital projects.


He commended the state House of Assembly in ensuring that the 2021 budget was ready for signing.

Speaker of the House, Eteng Williams, explained that the House did some adjustments to the appropriation bill Governor Ayade submitted in October to accommodate current realities that were captured in the bill, such as establishment of the Cross River state Polytechnic, which the governor recently signed into law.



COVID-19: Ayade, Cross Rivers counters NCDC over cases


The Chairman of the COVID-19 Taskforce in Cross River State, Dr Betta Edu, has insisted that there is no COVID-19 case recorded in the state.

The NCDC’s Director-General, Chikwe Ihekweazu on Monday said that no state in Nigeria is COVID-19 free.

Ihekweazu said that a state can only talk about being coronavirus free when it is testing adequately.

But, Edu during a press briefing with journalists in Calabar said that the state does not have any case, but advised residents to take all safety measures serious to safeguard their lives against the virus.


“While we do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the state, everyone must play their part in keeping safe.

“Remember that soon, the entire country will be opened and people from states considered as the epicentres will come into the state and go out at will, so, we must imbibe the right culture on time,” she said

She added that Nigeria is at the peak of the pandemic, “therefore now is not the time to relax and lose guard.

“Sometimes, we see people in joints hanging out with friends, attending burials, parties, going to places of worship where safety is ignored on the grounds of religion when asked, they say there is no coronavirus in Cross River.


“This wrong mindset that must be trashed immediately, even when Nigeria had just five confirmed cases measures were spelt out and followed. If anything, the situation has gone worse.”

She said that every resident of Cross River should be responsible for their safety and those of others around them.

The chairman further warned members of the public to avoid public gatherings, use their mask and hand sanitiser always.

Edu also advised residents to report any suspected case to the COVID -19 Taskforce in the State.



[Nigeria] Cross River Planning For Life After COVID-19 – Gov. Ayade Says.


Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River on Sunday said the state was preparing for life after COVID-19 pandemic with its Agricultural drive.

He said that the project would enable the state to weather the attendant food shortage expected during the post coronavirus pandemic.

Ayade gave the assurance in Calabar while deploying the newly acquired tractors and other farming equipment to the field.

He said: “In the face of the lockdown, we are aware that we have properly secured our external borders while allowing the economy to continue to run.”


He explained that his administration was determined to make the state self sufficient in food production.

NobleReporters gathered that the equipment were being moved to some of the farms in Northern Senatorial District of the state.

“We are not resting on our oars in our agro-industrialisation drive because of the likelihood of global food crisis after COVID-19.


“It is against that background that I have come here to mobilise all our equipment to move to the field.

“The idea is that Cross River is already looking at the post COVID-19 era because we don’t want to be caught up in the line of hunger and food scarcity.

“Now that oil price has come to zero and even below the cost price, it is obvious Nigeria will have to move to agro-dollar.


“Nigeria should be migrating from petrol dollar to agro dollar and Cross River will be leading that process,” he said.

He called on African leaders to brace up for the worst and look inwards to resolve the conflicting challenges coming after the pandemic.

Ayade said that after COVID-19, most countries would be concerned with feeding its citizens as well as unwilling to export food items.


“It is obvious that most countries will be very unwilling to export their food because they won’t have enough to even feed their own citizens.

“So, when it gets to that situation where our agrarian reserves are completely limited and we turn back and look at our harvest and it is nothing to write home about, what do we do?

“Therefore, I am just looking into the future and saying look, Cross River has to start the process of agricultural (projects) and putting our footprints on the ground to ensure that we create sufficient cultivation of our landmass,” he said.


Ayade also disclosed that another set of equipment were being deployed to the proposed site of Cross River International Airport in Obudu Local Government Area, located close to the Obudu Cattle Ranch.

“The airport will offer opportunities so that Cross River will be exporting ornamental flowers to Europe. To do that we need a temperate climate of about 11,000 ft above sea level which we have up the ranch.

“So Obudu Ranch will not only provide tourism, it is now going to be an agro-horticultural business hub, producing flowers and taking them to the cargo airport for export to Europe.


“If Kenya can make 9 billion Euros from exporting flowers, from 8,000 ft, then Cross River which has 11,000 ft above sea level, should do better.

“We have the best temperate climate suitable for the cultivation of ornamental flowers,” he said.



Gov. Ayade Appoints Actress Shan As Callywood Board Chairman

Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River state, has appointed Shan George, veteran actress, as Callywood board chairman, the state version of Nollywood.

The Nollywood star took to her social media page on Friday to break the news with her numerous fans.

“I’m still in shock. I worked all night and went to bed at past 6am, I was so tired, I crashed without having a bath or even wipe my face,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I’m just waking up now, to this good news, of me being appointed as Chairman Callywood Board (Callywood is the movie body in my state) by His Excellency, Sir Ben Ayade, d Amiable Governor of Cross river state.

“Thank u very much Sir. Thank you Cross Rivarians. Praises to d Almighty God. I pray for God’s guidance, so that I can do this job and not disappoint my Govnor, my people and my God, Amen.”

Since making her official debut in ‘Thorns of Rose’, the actress has become a household name in the country’s movie industry.

She has, however, equally had turbulent moments. In 2018, George lost her younger sister in an accident, which took place during a journey from Cross River to Rivers state.

She also battled with a pine disease in 2019, before undergoing a successful surgery later.




Justice sule charges Agba Jalingo N10m bail

Justice Sule Shuaibu of the Federal High court in Calabar, Cross River State, has granted the bail application of journalist and rights activist, Agba Jalingo.

Agba who is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested on August 22nd 2019, over a report alleging that Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, diverted N500 million belonging to the state. He is standing trial on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and attempt to topple the Cross River State government.

While ruling on his bail application, Justice Shuaibu set the bail bond at N10 million with one surety in like sum. The judge ruled that the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and his address must be physically verified. Also, he must show means that he will be able to forfeit the bail bond.

”The surety is expected to deposit N700,000 cash with the registrar of the court who will then pay it into an interest yielding account with a commercial bank” while Jalingo must seek the permission of court to travel out of the country if he wants to travel.

Agba Jalingo must deposed to an oath that he will be available in court while he and his surety must present two passport photographs.”

Last week, the Cross River State government took over prosecution of the matter despite denying allegations that the Governor, Benedict Ayade, was behind Jalingo’s ordeal. The trial had drawn local and international attention with several individuals and organisations demanding his unconditional release


Breaking: Gov Ayade seeks Agba Jalingo’s release ..

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has said he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from the prison.

Speaking after a long silence on the matter, Governor Ayade said the journalist who is standing trial for treason and for allegedly criticising his government, acted out of youthful exuberance.

“I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

“If you ask Agba Jalingo today, I am the one working with his lawyers for his freedom, I am the one sustaining him and sending upkeeps,” Ayade claimed.

The governor also denied being the one who ordered the journalist’s arrest, stating that the case is between Agba Jalingo and the Federal Government.

“In court, it is Federal Government versus Agba Jalingo, not Cross River State,” Mr Ayade told reporters on Monday at the presidential villa, Abuja, where he went to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He’s in court for treason, a state does not have the power to try anyone for treason, it’s not me.”

Governor Ayade said the arrest and trial of Agba Jalingo are in connection with Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow protest, adding that the journalist left his core profession and began to meddle into politics.

“On his Facebook page, he sent pictures where he was being teargassed at the revolution march in Lagos. His own pictures, posted by himself and when Sowore was being arrested, he went back to his Facebook to post that the revolution has just started, ‘we will continue this battle until revolution works’. He admitted this in Court.

“You are seeing him as a journalist, but he’s not, he’s the chairman of Sowore’s party in Cross River State so he’s a politician. He has a primary calling, which is journalism.

“Once he started the campaign to overthrow the government of President Buhari, he ceased to be seen from the point of a journalist because he has become the state chairman of a party,” Governor Ayade stated.

The governor reiterated that he has been working for Mr. Jalingo’s release from Calabar prison where he has been incarcerated.

Until his arrest, Mr. Jalingo was the publisher of Cross RiverWatch.

He was apprehended was on August 22 allegedly over a report suggesting that Governor Ayade diverted N500 million belonging to the state, a claim which the government has strongly refuted.