Everywhere around the world people have different reasons to celebrate in diverse ways. The International Day of the Girl Child is one of those unique annual festivals that is also celebrated globally. It is a day set aside for concern organizations and individuals calling out for the rights of little girls who are silently oppressed around the world to take a chance to celebrate girls around the world. It works to eliminate deep-rooted gender-based issues, deeply entrenched issues and problematic mindsets that have been passed on to generations, having mad gender-based discrimination and oppression threateningly common in every household, particularly in developing countries. International Day of the Girl Child seeks to eliminate the tragi predicaments of little girls around the world.

Adolescence is a critical point in every person’s life.

It determines the trajectory of girls’ lives, which i why caring for girls in their youth benefits all. If the are empowered at a vulnerable age, they can mature into liberated, wise women of the future and as a society, we all win. The world needs profound social transformation in support of girls’ rights.

In Cross River State, wife of the Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade, Linda is making remarkable progress towards the empowerment of girls, as she is working hard to see that empowered girls grow up to be empowered women. She marked this year’s day with the theme, ”Digital Generation, our Generation”, with a call for support of the all-round development and growth of the girl chi!~ ensuring that girls, especially, in rural communities, can reap the benefit of the technological revolution that has reshaped the life of every human being.

The message behind observing this day is to show that girls are leaders. They are change-makers and they can drive good and growth around the world . They are a fundamental source of transformational change for gender equality, and technology is a crucial tool to support their work, activism and leadership. Also, this October 11, UN Women joined other UN agencies, Civil Society and girls around the world to celebrate this memorable day, with particular focus on how girls are disadvantaged and not enjoying their fundamental human rights and how gender and age discrimination are at the heart of the violation of girls’ rights.

Together, women called for equal access to the internet and digital devices for girls and targeted investments to facilitate opportunities for girls’ safety and meaningfully access, use, lead and design technology. It is evident that digital inclusion and literacy open new avenues to learning,. . earning and leading for girls, especially, during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the pandemic has also deepened the gender divide around connectivity and online safety, with girls facing economic and social barriers to internet and device access.

The UN statement for International Day of the Girl Child is instructive.

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Digital Generation, Our Generation!

Wife of Cross River State Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade is simply, Service to Humanity. Mobilizing support and giving a voice to government programmes and non-governmental organizations alike, in the State, to mark world days reiterating the value of human lives. Her Mediatrix Foundation implements programmes to combat poverty and inequality so that everyone can succeed. Focusing on making society more welcoming for women and girls, her efforts have expanded economic opportunities for the less privileged, keeps improving maternal and child health and increased economic opportunities.

On October 11, 2021, she again, brought to fore, the need to support the girl child. Her actions brings to mind the fact that, unless we join and recognise each others’ humanity, we cannot do business together, let alone, progress.

Well done, First Lady, you are doing very well. Bravo! To Humanity.

Kudos to our Excellency!!!

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The determination of Dr Linda Ayade, wife of the Cross River State Governor in the fight against the practice of ‘child for money marriage’ in some communities of Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, took the center stage during a 2-day workshop organized by the National Human Rights Commissioning collaboration with the United Nations and European Union.
The Cross River State Commissioner For International Development Cooperation, Hon (Dr) Inyang Asibong gave the exposition of the Becheve and Utanga people of Obanliku Local Government Area during a workshop held at the Transcorp Hilton Towers, Abuja.
The Commissioner said the wife of the Governor, had through her pet program, the Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) intervened and engaged the communities involved in the age-long practice, through the traditional rulers, religious leaders, the Media as well as Civil Society organizations.
“The Governor’s wife efforts had increased advocacy to policy makers and community leaders and expanded efforts to educate, sensitize and provide a platform for the people of Becheve and Utanga communities to discuss issues relating to gender based violence”.
Dr Asibong explained that the Cross River State government had also set up a high-powered Committee through efforts of the wife of the governor in a bid to ending the inhuman cultural practice of “money-girl marriage” which she described as a form of Gender-based Violence (GBV).
The Commissioner explained that efforts of the state government have been helpful in tackling the menace while explaining that the United Nations, European Union and other international development Donors will partner the state government to see things first-hand in Becheve and Utanga communities.
“These young girls are married out to pay debts owed by their parents.The marriages could happen at age five, three, and sometimes even before conception they are already sold to pay debts. It’s a form of child slavery and Gender Based Violence that has been an age long cultural practice transferred from generation to generation. But what I came here to tell you is that Cross River State Government has taken it as a challenge and we are solving the problem using the political will of the Governor and special support of Her Excellency, Dr Linda Ayade.
“I am calling for immediate support and partnership between the Cross River State government, the United Nations, the European Union and other local and foreign development Partners to end the hereditary practice of ‘child for money marriage’ in Cross River State, Asibong pleaded.

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The wife of the Governor of Cross River State Dr Linda Ayade ably represented by the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu visited the  General Hospital calabar in the company of Dr Etcheri Ansa DG SACA and others to welcome the Christmas baby as part of the Christmas celebrations in the state. The baby who was born some few minutes after 1am via a cesarean Section following some complications came as a gift to her family and the state. The mother of the baby girl whose name is Gift from Obubra local Government thanked the state Government for the quality of care she and her baby received at the General hospital calabar. In her own words “ I registered at a Primary Health center for my Ante natal care, when I came to deliver my baby, complications set in and the labour was not progressing.I was immediately rushed to General hospital calabar, where an emergency CS was successfully conducted in a clean beautiful environment.
My baby is fine and am very happy. God will bless the Governor, his wife; the commissioner for health and the team here. What I see here is different and great am so impressed!!! The grand mother of the baby who came in from Obubra this morning was filled with Joy and praises for the Governor. “ when my son-in-law called me, I was so afraid but as I got here the whole hospital has changed and my daughter is fine with her baby, am so happy…  Now I can eat Christmas Rice; God bless you all. Governor Ayade is really trying, I can’t hide my joy”
The commissioner For Health congratulated the family for their new Gift of a baby girl. She thanked the health workers for their prompt response to save the life of the mother and the child, noting that this was in line with Government drive to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. She commended the management of the hospital
for maintaining a clean serene environment which will build patients confidence and attract more pregnant women to the facility.
She called on pregnant women to seek care with skilled birth attendants in hospital to help state achieve its target!
High lights was the cash donation to the baby by Dr Linda Ay ade and the payment of her hospital
bills. While the commissioner motivated the staff by giving the MS Dr Kumah and other staff at theatre and recovery room some Christmas largesse!

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State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus, CARES, Committee has been inaugurated, to address social and economic problems occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. Inaugurating the Committee, Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara E. Esu, described CARES, a World Bank Assisted Programme, as, “Mother of Necessity, put together to cushion the devastating effects of Corona virus pandemic”. Explaining that the programme is designed to re-focus attention on social investment programmes which include the YESSO and others that had been in existence, even as some may have rounded up their projects, they still have been found to be very necessary, again, as a result of the fight being launched against the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Economic Stimulus, looking at integrating back into the World Bank Assisted Programearrangements in the State.
“All the programmes are indeed, aimed at ensuring that we kick out poverty”, he said, putting it that, Cross River poverty line is at 36.3%, out of the National Index of 40%. While pledging government’s commitment towards reversing the index down to a single digit, Prof. Esu thanked the World Bank for the assistance being provided, even without counterpartfunding from the State Government. He therefore, enjoined all members of the Committee to show significant commitment in the responsibility assigned to them in driving the programme for the benefit of the citizenry and humanity.
In her words, Committee Chairman, Dr. Inyang Asibong who is also Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, noted that CARES is designed to support mainly, poor and vulnerable households,even as she maintained that the benefiting areas included principally, FADAMA, Community Social Development Agency Livelihoods, Enterprise Development Funding, State Cash Transfer Unit and Public Work Fare.
In the area of Public work Fare, beneficiaries would be both skilled and unskilled youths from diverse backgrounds, who would be enabled to be able to eke a living for themselves”, she disclosed. The Commissioner who also outlined the Ministry’s objectives to include, protection of livelihoods and food security, as well as, facilitate recovery of local government economic activity in all the participating States across the nation, enjoined members of the Committee to passionately work to ensure that success is attained in the responsibility they have ahead of them Also commenting, Chairman, Cross River Community Social Development Agency, CRSDSA who is also member of the Committee, Mr. Toni Ikpeme, assured the State Government and the people, of the Committee’s readiness to serve with all amounts of seriousness and that members will work hard to put in place workable modalities that would ensure success. He noted that this is an important assignment that gives the members and government, opportunity to make the best use of the numerous World Bank Assisted Programmes being offered in the State.
The 13-Man Committee has Commissioner, lDC, Dr. Inyang Asibong as Chairman, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Felix Ekpeyong-Ita, as Co Chairman , with Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jr., Commissioner for Finace, Mr. Gabriel Ada, DG, CRSCTRA, Mr. Victor Edet, SA, IDC, Chief (Mrs.) Majorie Asuqo, SA, Enterprise Development and Mr. Julius Agrinya, DG, Smart City, as members. Others are, Barr. Rosemary Archibong, Commissioner for Commerce, Signor Omang Idiege, Commissioner for Youth and Skills Acquisition, Chief Monique Ogon, SA Diaspora Matters and Ntufam Okon Owuna, Comm. for Agriculture & Natural Resources.

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For 2021 Fiscal Year, the Cross River State House o Assembly passed into Law, the Appropriation Bill, with the total budget size of N281,940,880,230, with N25,129,910,608, provided as Statutory Expenditure and N204.144,154,406, as Capital Expenditure, while, Personal and Over Head Cost had N52,666,815,216.

The State House of Assembly has passed into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill with a total Budget size of N281,940,880,230. In the 2021 Budget, 25,129,910,608 was provided as Statutory Expenditure, 204,144,154,406 as Capital while Personnel and Over Head Costhas 52,666,815,216. The Budget size shows an increase of 4,232,1144.68 from the 277,708,765,550 earlier proposed by the State Governor who had tagged it the Budget of “Blush and Bliss”.
The House passed the Budget after the presentation of the report of the Finance and Appropriation Committee by its Chairman, Hon. Sunday Achunekang (Obanlikwu) during Plenary. Achunekang, recalled that the State Governor Prof. Ben Ayade had presented the 2021 Budget Estimate and Appropiation Bill to the Assembly in November 5, 2020, adding that the Bill was read a second time on Tuesday 24th November 2020 before it was referred to the Finance and Appropriation Committee for detailed consideration.
The Chairman further revealed that the Committee scrutinized the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and also received testimonies from Members of the State Economic Team after which MDA’s were invited to defend estimates proposed against their respective revenue and expenditure heads.
Achunekang further disclosed that the 2021 budget will focus more on humanitarian perspectives including, hunger, poverty, unemployment, security and Crime prevention, adding that there is need to create an alternative economy with less dependence on oil and Federal Allocation.

According to the Chairman: “The Governor observed that the 2021 Budget is shifting from infrastructure, from major projects, from super Highway, from Deep Seaport from Bridges and creates opportunity to focus on the essence of existence which is hunger and poverty. It is also tailored to address unemployment and security”.

Speaking to Journalists after the passage, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams expressed happiness at the early passage of the Appropriation Bill and commended Members for their commitment and hard work. The Speaker, stated that the Assembly had made provisions for some grey areas like palliatives and several humanitarian services adding that the proposed State Polytechnic had not been considered hence the difference between what the Governor presented and the actual figure passed by the Assembly. Williams also stated that since the Budget is Christened “Blush and Bliss”, there was need to do more humanitarian services to ameliorate the sufferings of Cross Riverians occasioned by COVID-19 and the Endsars protest. The Speaker promised that the House will increase it’s oversight functions to facilitate effective monitoring and evaluation at the implementation stage of the Budget while promising that the House will work towards achieving at least 70%implementation of the Budget.

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Addressing Journalists after the presentation of the Budget, the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, said the 2020 Budget of 1.1trillion is christened, Budget of “Olimpotic Meristemasis” because it is a “rapid growth derived from a spiritual force”, adding, “actually, it’s a complex metephysible realism”. Governor Ayade noted that “when you have an
ambition that is not driven by economic and financial analysis, but a spiritual force beyond the normal, that is “Olimpotic” and is “Meristemasis” because it’s a rapid growth. The Governor likened the process to a “growing child
that grows faster at a very young age and stabilizes at the age of 18 years meaning “Meristemasis”. He maintained that “when that combination is done from the Mental Physics to Biology in the Social Atmosphere, it tantamount
to “Olimpotic Meristemasis”. The Governor argued that “Nigerians don’t see the intellectual value of a very ambitious budget, noting that even “the Federal Government also runs a deficit budgeting”. In an apparent
endorsement of Governor Ayade’s academic tags on his budgets since assuming office as the state’s chief executive, the Speaker of

the CRHA, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams said the presentation of the annual state budget has become exciting and special, stating: ”Apart from the traditional understanding of the income and expenditure accruing in the next fiscal year and the projects proposed for execution, it has become an academic exercise built on an intellectual concept
on expenditure”. Williams recalled that, ”in 2016 we had a Budget of Deep Vision; 2017 brought in Budget of Infinite Transposition; in 2018 we had project of Kinetic Crystallization while 2019 was christened Budget of Qabalistic


with Tax Reliefs For Cross Riverians who have issues with the tongue-twisting and highsounding tag of the 2020
N1.1 trillion Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis that Governor Ben Ayade announced recently, the tax reliefs it offers the less privileged workers and small scale business persons in the state is key. Sir Ayade during the presentation at the State House of Assembly announced plans to set up anti-tax agents to ensure that the tax policy of his administration is sustained in his desire to avoid taxing the needy. “All low income-earning people; civil servants
earning below N100,000.00 will be exempted from tax,” he said, adding that “Small scale businesses like barbing salons, hairdressing and other surviving agencies are hereby exempted from taxation”. Extending his administration’s magnanimity to the transportation sector, the governor abolished the five hundred naira (N500.00) to one thousand naira (N1,000.00) paid daily as levies on taxis plying the state’s roads, indicating they would henceforth pay N2,000.00 monthly.

These reliefs follow in the footsteps of his previous years’ Appropriations, as the state’s chief executive always draws on his humanistic tendencies to assuage the hardship of the common people. According to him, the incoming year’s version is anchored on a belief “in the spiritual force which is the third energy”, explaining that “meristemasis” is the
active cell that stimulates growth in a young plant, in this case, the state. “The budget will catalyse into existence a great opportunity for us all to put our hands and legs on the pedal and fill it off,“ he further postulated. Outlay of the 2020 state budget shows capital expenditure of N911 billion representing 82.8 per cent of the whole estimates and
recurrent expenditure of N188 billion standing for the remaining 17.2 per cent. The decision to allocate as much as 82.8 per cent to the capital side of the estimates, Ayade stated, indicated the state’s “aggressive commitment that will continue to reduce recurrent expenditure and focus on capital expenditure.”

A breakdown of the sectors of the proposal shows among others: *Health – N44 billion; *Education – N38 billion; *New Cities Development – N35 billion; *Agriculture – N22 billion and *Social Housing – N12 billion. On the budget size, the governor stated, “We must come to the understanding that indeed any state whose budget is driven by the
envelope size is limited in vision. “There are two ways in business and public sector management that you derive your budget. It is either that your budget comes as an expression of your budget size or as an expression of your
ambition. “The prosperity agenda set for this state does not allow me the opportunity of an envelope budgeting. Our budget prescribes the actual cost element while the intellectual financing shuns the cost because the ambition so expressed allows us the latitude to drive with to ensure that we guarantee that all aspects of the budget so provided are driven,” he alluded. Under the Education sector, the Governor disclosed his administration’s plan of establishing a Canadian institute at Obudu, completing the West African Advanced Teachers Training Institute in Biase, adding
that both schools will be operational in September, 2020.

Governor Ayade further disclosed his plans of continuing his signature projects including the building of a new city in each senatorial district adding that the Bakassi social housing project will be launched on the 1st of December, 2020 while the dualization of Odukpani junction which according to him was suspended due to the rainy season, will
resume soon. The Governor who expressed hope that the state will generate about N360 billion from foreign
investors and N120 billion from Federal Allocation, announced that Cross Riverians both home and abroad as well as non-indigenes residing in the state will pay a premium of one thousand naira (N1,000.00) monthly for the State Health Insurance tagged, Ayade- Care, adding that the state pharmaceutical company, Calapharm will supply free drugs to beneficiaries of the insurance scheme. According to the Governor, Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff is expected to
sign a major contract with the state government for the Garment factory, adding that the other industries including the Rice City and Seedlings factory, the tooth pick factory, poultry factory, cocoa factory among others will generate
substantial revenue for the state. Ayade called on Cross Riverians to key into his massive investment in the Agric
sector by going into farming, adding that ”everybody must own a farm”.

He commended the Speaker and Members of the State Assembly for the co-operation and support received from them, while describing the relationship as ”copetitors” and not competitors. Earlier, in a welcome address, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Eteng Jonah Williams said the six-month old 9th Assembly has recorded modest achievements in
bills received, motions and resolution taken and attention given to other matters of urgent public importance’, adding that the Assembly has addressed various problems ranging from, procurement of equipment, refurbishing of
existing ones to installation of new facilities. Williams commended the Governor for his industrialization drive and
expressed the Assembly’s commitment to partner with the executive and judiciary to bring development to the state.
In his words, “In your first term, you concentrated on construction, expansion and development and it is our hope that in your second term you shall be exporting”. In a vote of thanks, the Leader of the House and Member representing Ogoja, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey assured that the House will soon commence the consideration of the
budget as required by law.>>>

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President Mohammadu Buhari in Calabar, Commissions Cross River Rice Seed and Seedling Factory, the biggest Rice Seedling Factory in Africa.

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