Akpo (L), Green Police (M), Peter (R)
Efio-Ita Nyok|18 November 2016
It will be recalled that NegroidHaven recently reported that on 11 November, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Mr Ben Ayade, recommissioned the now embattled Cross River State Green Police Volunteers after its 29 May commissioning. It will also be called to mind that in the said publication, only 10 officers of the volunteers scheme were inaugurated out of 1500.
A promising Nigerian journalist, Obudu, Cross River-born, Inyali Peter, had queried this obvious misgiving on the part of the government of Cross River State. His criticism invited the reaction of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Matters, Arc. Eric Akpo, to give clarifications on that executive decision.
SA Akpo explained that the ten that were highlighted on the 11th of November are the Enforcers, who occupy the Cadet Cadre of the scheme. He further noted that those who would be involved in tree planting, etc are different. He cited budgetary challenges for being responsible for characterising the trend the scheme has gone through. Hear him out:
Arc Eric Akpo:
'Nope, not at all, these are the Cadet Cadre of the green police, these are enforcers, different from the others who'll be involved in tree planting and maintenance of lawns and green areas. So the other commissioning wasn't cancelled neither are the recruits dropped.
'Again, the reason the scheme had not fully taken off despite the commissioning in May is due to Budgetary procedures as the budget had to be amended to accommodate the overheads involved. Now with the budget amended and passed into law, you can be sure to have all cadre of the green police fully engaged soon', he concluded.
However, his explanation did not fly with journalist Inyali Peter who doubted budgetary challenges as cited by SA Akpo. Peter observed that the state governor has embarked on projects that were never captured in the budget in the first place. First instanxe, the N31 billion road construction project. Seeing that His Excellency the Governor had talked about this scheme long before the 2016 budget was laid before Speaker John Gaul Lebo's CRSHA, why was it not captured and even if it wasn't captured, why is the scheme proceeding in the rickety path it is presently plowing? Excerpt of Peter's retort:
'Arc Eric Akpo SA, So what you're telling us is that out of 1,500 only ten people where recruited into the officer cadre? More than ten of my friends who were commissioned the first time didn't make the list for the recommissioning.
'Budget you say! This Green Police was one of the things the governor promised before he even presented the 2016 budget to the assembly. Why is he just realising budgetary provision now?
'Does this government has respect for the budget at all? Construction of the controversial garment factory started way back before even the House of Assembly was inaugurated. Who passsed the budget that captured it in 2016?
'Few weeks ago, the governor flagged off a a project of 31.5 billion which was not captured in the budget. I made all these referential to drive home my point that there may be more to the Green Police Saga than what you're telling us.
'Why would a government inaugurate people into an organization that has no budget cover? Why did it take the governor seven months to send the supplementary budget you made mentioned to the assembly? I want to know more because I was reliably informed that the governor told the ten officers that he will recruit other ranks to work with them', he concluded.
Journalist Peter has raised solid concerns. To be honest, SA Akpo's explanation, if anything, doesn't explain the snailing proceeding of the scheme. Cross Riverians had expected that the Shoki-dancing One would have brought in much swag into the scheme by employing the entire 1500 with employment letters as he promised, equip them accordingly and set then to work. Besides, this fuss we hear about the IG of Police challenging the nomenclature of the scheme is not so nice a news item premised on the professor-of-a-state governor.
Gov Ben Ayade, like Apostle Peter of Biblical times asked the lame man at the Beautiful Gate, to rise up and work, I am asking you —Rise up and work in Cross River State!
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org