Following the rise in the level of protests in the state on #EndSARS, police brutality, as well as bad governance, Cross River governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has warned CrossRiverians not to confront security agents deployed to keep the peace.
The governor also assured CrossRiverians that government will not sleep until their demands were met.
Ayade gave the warning in a statement he personally signed late Tuesday night.
He said: “Great Cross Riverians, I want to salute the courage of our young people who joined their compatriots across the nation to protest against police brutality and bad government in Nigeria.
“As you are aware, my administration has over the years made the well-being of our young people a key priority.
“The power of the people is supreme. Your voices have been heard and we will not sleep until your demands are met. Please do not confront the security agents deployed to keep the peace. Let us remain peaceful, for that is what we are known for.
“Please note that the government will not abdicate its responsibility of protecting lives and property. Everything within the ambit of law will be done to uphold this sacred duty.
“Indeed, not only do we have the youngest political appointee in the country, who is just over 16 years old, our state executive council is the youngest in the country.
“I value the life of every Cross Riverian. I am, therefore, appealing to our young people to avoid any act that could bring them on the way of harm now that the Federal Government has deployed anti-riot policemen in our cities.
“You have through your sustained protests, made your points. We have heard you loud and clear. I also advise parents to keep their children away from misguided elements who might want to recruit them to cause violence in the state.
“All the issues you have raised are noted and I hereby, make the following commitments:
“1. We will proceed with the process of asphalt overlay and fixing of potholes within the Calabar metropolis. We must, however, allow the rains to subside to give us a dry sub-surface to make for a better and more lasting job.
“2. We will find additional means to create more jobs for our young people. I would like you to note that in spite of being the least federal allocation earning state, we do not owe salaries.
“We also do not owe pensions. Our lean resources notwithstanding, we will strive to commence the payment of gratuity as soon as possible. Do not forget also that our administration granted tax exemption to low-income earners in the state.
“3. The focus of our administration has been on industrializing the state with a view to creating job opportunities for our people.
“We have established several industries including the ultra-modern rice mill, Ogoja, Cocoa Processing Factory, Ikom, Calabar Pharmaceutical Factory, Calabar Noodles Factory, Frozen Chicken Factory, Calabar Garment Factory, Rice Seedling Factory, Toothpick Factory, Piles and Pylon Factory, all of which have been completed.
“The factories will soon commence operations, thus providing more job opportunities for our people, including our young people.
“4. We are doing more than it is in the public domain to confront the security challenges in Calabar. We have deployed a special security team from Abuja and so far, the team is doing a good job, arresting between 15 to 20 suspected kidnappers on daily basis. 99.9 percent of suspects are non-indigenes of the state.
“So I commend our people for their non-involvement in this crime of stealing human beings.
“5. The dualization of the Tinapa-Odukpani Highway with the spaghetti flyover and an interchange bridge will be completed this coming dry season.
“6. Asphalting of the dual carriage road in the northern part of the state will get to the Bekwarra axis of the road by the end of the month. The Okpoma, Mfom part of the road will be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
“7. Boki East-West road and the North Ukelele road which the World Bank reckoned was beyond the capacity of the state, will be completed by the first quarter of 2021.
“8. The construction of the 275km superhighway and the Bakassi Deep Seaport was set back by three years when the Federal Government took our state to court. It took a special presidential intervention by President Muhammadu Buhari for work to commence. We have since attained appreciable milestones,” the statement partly read.
He further stated that Cross River does not just earn the least allocation from the federation account, it can also not borrow because it had attained the threshold of borrowing even before the advent of our administration.
“Please be fair when analyzing the achievements of our administration. It is always easier to see what the government has failed to do while conveniently turning a blind eye to what it has achieved.
“We have given appointments to over six thousand of our people, most of them youths, employed over five thousand into the civil service, including the 2500 workers recently reabsorbed into the payroll, after lifting an over 20-year old embargo placed on employment,” Ayade stated.