CROSS RIVER COLLEGE OF NURSING AND MIDWIFERY SCIENCES MATRICULATES PIONEER STUDENTS

Parent and student over joyed praise Ayade as New Degree Awarding Status will Qualify them for NYSC There were shouts of joy, dancing, and jubilation as young students took procession into the Tear Rubber Cross River State College of Nursing and Midwifery Science Itigidi ABI LGA. In the words of a matriculant ” It feels like a dream, that I will graduate with a degree from this institution & go for NYSC, God bless super Governor and visionary Health Commissioner.” Following hard work, Governor of Cross River State Sen Ben Ayade working through the Commissioner for Health in collaboration with the Legislative arm were able to gain Accreditation For the first College of Nursing Sciences in South-South Zone of Nigeria meaning graduates will now be awarded a degree and are eligible forNYSC, an unprecedented height the Health Sector has recorded amongst others mind-blowing achievements in the last 12 Months. The College held her first Matriculation and Capping exercise.

The event that had the wife of the Governor Dr. Linda Ayade as the Special Guest of Honor also had the Speaker of the CRSHA Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams as chairman of the occasion, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr.Betta Edu as chief host, the Commissioner for Lands Prof. John Inyang, the member representing the good people of Boki 2 Constituency Hon. Hilary Bissong, the Chairman of Abi LGA and Yakurr LGA Hon. Ofem Eno, the DG of the CRSPHCDA Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, the Paramount Ruler of Abi LGA Eval Solomon Edward and other Chiefs, NANNM Chairman Comrade Josephine, Chairman Governing Council Dr. Margaret Opia, Dec AbasiOffiong, Principals of various schools, and a host of other very important dignitaries. Speaking at the event, the Wife of the Governor Dr. Linda Ayade charged the Matriculating Students to take their academic pursuits seriously to make the State Government and their parent’s who have sacrificed so much, proud. “I’m standing here filled with positive emotions, I am so proud to be a part of this success story. Knowing the details of what the School went through to become a College today I’ll say the team under the leadership of Dr.Betta Edu has done great.

As students, you must reciprocate the efforts of the government by studying hard knowing very well that the lives of thousands will be dependent on you during practice.” The speaker of the State House of Assembly in his speech congratulated the Governor and the leadership of the health sector under Dr.Betta Edu for the giant strides recorded so far and for achieving tremendous successes in many areas.

“We faced severe battles to get to this point. At some point, accreditation was taken away from all Cross River state schools of Nursing and Midwifery for over 4 years. but today under the leadership of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, we’ve gained it back and gone further to upgraded to a College. We’ll continue to support the growth and development of the health sector through budget appropriation, we look forward to having more Colleges as requested by the Health Commissioner.”

Dr.Betta Edu in her speech thanked the State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade and his dear wife for the tremendous changes that have come to the College while providing the best to ensure we achieve a college status. “The government of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has fulfilled its part in giving you a College and making this environment more comfortable for learning it is now Left for you to reciprocate and make us proud. “We’ve come this far due to the hard work and consistent efforts of both the executive and legislative arm of government.

I strongly appreciate the efforts of Dr. Linda Ayade, Honorable Speaker Rt. Hon. Eteng Williams and Assembly Members, NBTE, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, as well as all the health team who made this dream come true. I charge you all to study hard, avoid distractions while Challenging Staff to invest more in students without victimizing them. The best graduating students will be awarded half a million as part of Dr. Linda Ayade’s scholarship.”

The member of Rep, Boki 2, the Commissioner for Lands, and DG Primary Health Care, in their Goodwill messages all congratulated Students for being successful following a rigorous selection process while charging them to study hard and become world­class Nurses.

Highlights of the events include; Welcome Speech from the Provost Mrs. Ruth Ebong, Goodwill message from Dr. Margaret Opiah, Handing over of 150 Matriculating Students to the Provost and Health Commissioner, Capping & Students Declaration, presentation of Awards of Excellence to Dr. Linda Ayade, Dr.Betta Edu and Dr.MagaretOpia for their excellent support and immense contribution to the growth of the College, Matriculating Lecture by Dr. Teresa A. Osaji and other Goodwill messages from dignitaries.

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350 COMMUNITIES BENEFIT FROM MICRO PROJECTS

The year, 2020 may have come with its ugliest sides but one of the good sides that remain memorable to the people of the State, is the great feat that was recorded as 350 communities across the 18 local government areas of the state benefited from laudable projects delivered by the Community and Social Development Agency (CSDA). Added to, over 900 community projects that had been executed before the new addition, Commissioner for International development Corporation, Dr. Inyang Asibong, confirmed that the Agency has been consistent with empowering communities and more citizens at the local government levels, through improved service delivery, accountability, transparency and effective communication, in the last five years of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade’s administration.
She disclosed further that this has been made possible through the support-system of the State and the World Bank Assisted Projects, explaining, “The Cross River State, World Bank Assisted Project is a Community-Driven Development (CDD) intervention mechanism designed for improving empowerment, service delivery and local governance, through empowerment of people in local communities”.
Dr. Asibong who spoke at a “Post-Completion and Project Sustainability” workshop, advised beneficiaries to ensure the sustenance of the assets that are in their respective localities, warning that government will not provide would not provide any further support to any community that fails to maintain and sustain the already existing projects in
its domain. The Agency’s Board Chairman, Sir Toni Ikpeme, commended the communities’ people for taking positive steps that have resulted into the successful completion and implementation of projects in their communities, and
according to standards and specifications.
While encouraging them to further apply more community-level strategies to maintain and sustain their assets, Sir Ikpeme used the occasion to applaud Governor Ayade for making life easier for the generality of Cross Riverians.
Also commenting, Acting General Manager, Mr. Fidel Undie, commended the Governor for ensuring that the Agency is properly funded and continuously, to be able to provide adequate support to communities, even at the height of
unprecedented challenges.

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DG COMMUNITY HEALTH CELEBRATES ATAN ONOYOM HAILS AYADE FOR PRIORITIZING HEALTHCARE

The Director General, Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA), Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, has applauded the State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade for making healthcare centre-space in his visionary leadership, just as she commended the united efforts of the Atan Onoyom people in development cooperation. Ekpenyong who gave the
commendation when celebrating Christmas at Atan Onoyom in Odukpani local government area of Cross River, noted that, under the capable leadership of Sir Ben Ayade, the State has united efforts with the federal government, World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), among other numerous
stakeholders and partners, in sustaining the fight against childhood diseases in the State, particularly, in rural communities. She therefore, called on the people of the State, particularly, of Atan Onoyom extraction, to join hands with the Governor to add more value to life and development, while charging them also, to imbibe good health habits. “The Atan Onoyom Day, as we have observed, is aimed at fostering peace and unity among the people, even as it seeks to develop the entire community, so as such, it has become necessary for us as a people, to begin to seriously work out modalities that will attract more projects and programmes, in sustainable development, Dr. Ekpenyong, charged. She reiterated that it is clear that Sir Ayade is most passionate about the welfare of the generality of Cross Riverians, especially, those in rural communities, pointing out that, the Governor has demonstrated that in the several means of intervention projects and programmes and lots of Capital Development initiative still spreading across the State. The DG said further that, even though government has the mechanisms to make policies for the people, it also remains important that the people themselves cooperate with the government, as well as themselves, for any meaningful development to take place in their respective localities. She therefore, called on the traditional heads and entire community, to ensure that peace and order reign supreme in their respective domains, even as she dwelt on their health needs, noting, “That is why we are here to ensure that there is 100% compliance on the safety measures s directed by the federal government. “Federal government had given directives against large-crowd-events in the country, owing to Covid-19 pandemic challenge, so therefore, I have come to the community with my team to ensure that there strict compliance with laid-down COVID-19 pandemic protocols”, she disclosed. She stated further that, joining in the celebration was also to enable her and team to raise awareness on the need to maintain consciousness, as the federal government had announced the second wave of of the pandemic.

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WORLD FOOD LET’S GROW, NOURISH, SUSTAIN DAY TOGETHER, OUR ACTIONS, OUR FUTURE. 2020

As this year’s World Food Day was marked with pump and pageantry, there could have been a better time than now, to accept that everyone across the food chain has an important role to play. From consumers to government and private businesses, it is time to check out what we can do to grow, nourish and sustain the food systems.
For our food systems to withstand the ever increasing volatility and climate shocks, we need to reasonably make them more resilient and robust, while delivering healthy and sustainable diets for all and of course, decent livelihoods for food system workers.
The 2020 World Food Day celebration with the theme ”Grow, Nourish, Sustain”, caught up with everyone across the globe, appreciating people who plant, harvest, fish or transport our food, calling on the public to thank all these food heroes who no matter the circumstances, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond- helping to grow, nourish and sustain our World.
As the COVID-19 global health crises opened our understanding to reflect on things we truly cherish, particularly, our most basic needs, we recall that the uncertain times made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that
some hitherto, took for granted with many others, going without food. In Cross River State, a group of women farmers, under the umbrella of Rural Urban (RUBAN), march against poverty. Realizing that food is the essence of life, and the bedrock of our cultures and communities, the group set out to mobilize women into a cohesive network that provides them opportunities to preserving access to safe and nutritious food which stood as an essential part of
the response to the COVID19 pandemic. They began their classical grassroots mobilization of women farmers who put in their all, working tirelessly, clearing, tilling the ground and planting pepper seedlings, all by themselves. A
wonderful experience, seeing women, cultivating and harvesting the crops all by themselves. With the support from passionate people, the women have been working hard to assist in changing the suffering conditions of the people in
the communities As the COVID-19 global health crises opened our understanding to reflect on things we truly cherish, particularly, our most basic needs, we recall that the uncertain times made many of us rekindle our
appreciation for a thing that some hitherto, took for granted with many others, going without food.
In Cross River State, a group of women farmers, under the umbrella of Rural Urban (RUBAN), march against poverty. Realizing that food is the essence of life, and the bedrock of our cultures and communities, the group set
out to mobilize women into a cohesive network that provides them opportunities to preserving access to safe and nutritious food which stood as an essential part of the response to the COVID19 pandemic.

They began their classical grassroots mobilization of women farmers who put in their all, working tirelessly, clearing, tilling the ground and planting pepper seedlings, all by themselves. A wonderful experience, seeing women, cultivating and harvesting the crops all by themselves. With the support from passionate people, the women have been working hard to assist in changing the suffering conditions of the people in the communities.
Location is the hard-to reach poor and vulnerable communities of Boje and the improvised Katabang neighborhood. The women rose against poverty by setting up a big community farm where they are cultivating a special kind of pepper – Bird’s Eye Pepper, to be eaten as a unique local spice, as well as to be sold to raise the economic standard of the women, their households and communities.
Mr. Mkpe James Abang, a philanthropist and hospitality expert, who is a major supporter of the project, said, “the goal is to see that women can truly produce healthy food that boost nutrition, as well as economic standards, all by their own personal efforts that can catapult them into gaining entrepreneur skills and empowered households”.
“We have been at work with the rural women and girls at Boje, trying to build them to start their own innovative leadership and developmental programs that truly enhance their livelihoods”. The Bird’s eye project is enjoying full support from well-meaning people who do not want the women to farm for only a season and stop, but able to meet the demands of the offtakers. Notable among the off-takers, is Rt. Hon. Linda Somiari steward, member, representing the people of Okrika Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
We cannot talk about raised standards or enhanced livelihoods without Smart nutrition. At Unique Angels Kitchen, we take nutrition information and education to your doorstep. Smart nutrition makes people, smart families,
smart communities and resilient society. Nutrition is important for everyone. It empowers households and
communities, with healthy living and sustainable economic power.
Smart nutrition keeps you away from the doctor. This then means that it is very important to imbibe the right
attitude in life – Eating well. An excellent way to stay strong and healthy, particularly, when combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Smart nutrition and food choices can help you prevent Diseases- Eating the right food can help your body cope more successfully with an on-going illness. So the key facts to always remember are; *It is important to eat more
fish, less meat. *Replace red meat with chicken * Do not forget the vegetables * Spice up your food with garlic.
To commemorate this year’s World Food Day, World Rural Women’s day andWorld Handwashing Day, Unique Angels Kitchen collaborated efforts with members of the Offer of Jobs Opportunities for Women and Children, to
take nutrition information and education to Boje in Boki local government area. They celebrated achievements of rural women farmers and called for global action to support the women and girls grow their capacities to respond to
Climate Change through agricultural production, food security and natural resources management. In fact, as the world faces an Increasing critical need to address Climate Change, the important impact rural women and girls have on building resilience is undeniable. It would take not only leaders, but the whole population to make the changes for a Carbon neutral World. It was for these reasons and many more that Uniques Angels Kitchen, and members of the OJO-WACNET multipurpose cooperative society took up the challenge to celebrate the vital role that rural women play in Climate Action with a spotlight on, “Rural Women and Girls Building Resilience”. In Boje, Boki local
government areas of Cross River, women are protecting the forest and protecting themselves. The Simple Scheme that is driving revolution for the Boki family farmers is the BirdEye Pepper Project which engaged the women in
taking actions by themselves – Clearing the farm sites, tilling the ground and planting the pepper without looking elsewhere as they built enthusiastically on this their pilot project. Leading the women to actualize their dreams, Mr.
Mkpe – James Abang, Lagos-based hospitality businessman who said the celebration of the women was very necessary, noted that recognizing the strength of women in nation building is long overdue and as such, he was throwing in all his weight to ensure that investors’ interest is ignited and encouraged to invest in Boje, which he described as “uncommon fertile land”. “I am most encouraged by the State Governor’s agricultural giant strides and
I believe that if we stand as one to support the Ayade-led government by initiating self-help agric-businesses like this one, Boke stands a better chance to gain from his numerous agriculture ventures that are already helping to put food on people’s tables” He explained further that the Boje communities have been chosen for the pilot project because of the difficult terrain that characterized the localities, making it almost impossible for development programmes to be sited in the communities, even with their most friendly environment. He lamented that the longstanding plight in Boje, exacerbated with information-poor conditions have perpetually left the people hugely disadvantaged and
marginalized. He seized the opportunity to applaud the political goodwill of Governor Ayade who he said, deserves to be thanked immensely for rebuilding the Boje bridge that was left abandoned, thus ,crippled social and economic activities in the communities for a very long period.
“Governor Ayade surprised us and the entire people of Boki are happy with him. It was a thing of shame that even as headquarters of Boki, Boje was cut off from other communities as the only bridge that linked to the headquarters was swept off by flood”, he recalled, sadly.

Pst. John Ewah
Executive Chairman
Boki Local Government Area

Also speaking, the community women leader of Enyi-Boje, Mrs. Kate Kekong, thanked the organizers for the well conceived initiative to portray the plight of Boje women to the world, lamenting also that the people have suffered in time past. “You needed to see how we carried loads on our heads to cross the river with so much difficulties during
the rains but we thank God for sending Sen. (Prof) Ayade, who came to our rescue”. She said further that they are grateful for the wise choice of Pastor John Ewa as the Local Government Chairman because as a man Of God, she believes that he will not let Boje, headquarters of the local government area go back to the ugly life that hitherto left in oblivion, resigning their fate to a life of hopelessness.
The celebration of the day with the theme, “Building Women Resilience in the wake of COVID-19”, culminated into the celebration of World Food Day with the theme “Smart Solutions for Healthy Diets” and further had the Global
Handwashing Day celebration, also integrated, with the theme, “Hand Hygiene for All”, which follows the recent global Initiative calling on all Society to scale –up handwashing, especially through handwashing with soap. 

The rural women farmers are helping community people and visitors to Boje maintain key vitamins and minerals that are boosting health and seeing them smiling to their banks. The rural women success story cannot be complete without making reference to the links that are creating more opportunities for the recognition and celebration of their achievements. With the help of media experts, and numerous women organizations members of the cooperative society have been graciously enjoying the magnanimity of Hon. Lindi Somiari Stewart, a Social Change Maker and an extraordinary Politician, leading in the on-going global campaign against Food Waste and farm loses.
For choosing to go organic, Hon. Stewart, who is a serving House of Assembly Member representing the People of Okirika State House Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly, further registered the women group
as members of the Rural Women Organic Foods and Sea Products Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society to enable their full participation in the Nubian Gem Interactive Mobile Application that creates market opportunities for
local farmers.
The Nubian Gem circle provides a strong interactive platform for farmers, transporter and end users to interface.
helps in cutting wastage and losses in the farm by solving the problem of lack of storage facilities in the rural farms. Nubian Gem also cuts out all the hassles of traditional farm produce shopping and delivers products fresh from the
farm. Armed with the participation in this unique space, the rural women of Boje, who hitherto were totally cut off from civilization are now gradually being integrated into the digital space which is also being prioritized in Cross River by the Digital Governor. Sen. (Prof) Ben Ayade.
Together with other notable Social Change makers in Nigeria like Mrs. Olutosin Oladosin Adebowale, the rural women have been trained on how to turn their predicament into the positivity space of Adebowale’s, “ Tosin Turns
Trash To Treasure” where less privileged women have been given hope for life.

Mkpe James Abang
Lagos-based Boje Indigene Supporting
the Growth and Development of Boje Women

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Journalist Turning Trash to Treasure,
Global Citizen, Cattle Rearer and Supporter for
the Transformation of Rural Women.

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SENSITIZATION ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS FACILITATE YOUTH EMPOWERMENT – ASUQUO EKPENYPONG JNR.

Sensitizatizing and providing young people with information and skills for making informed decisions about their lives, as well as creating access to resources and opportunities that enable them realize the right to fulfill their
potentials remains key in today’s challenging world. Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr, made this assertion while responding to testimonies from youths across the State that have benefited from the recent
Federal Government Survival Fund Programme Micro Small/Medium Enterprise which includes, Payroll Support
Guaranteed Takeoff and MSME Grant.
He noted the importance of sensitizing the citizenry but lamented that often times, “Inadequate sensitization has been the bane of our people ‘s huge disadvantage in benefiting from the Federal Government numerous projects and
programmes that they, in most cases, miss out completely” , he revealed. While thanking the government for ensuring that all the 18 local government areas in the State had Beneficiaries, the Commissioner applauded the idea of setting up free Centers across the State, stating that, it afforded opportunity for all the people of the State to utilize
the Cross River slot. It is most heartwarming to read messages of appreciation from excited Beneficiaries who
described the Commissioner as , “God sent in these harsh times. One of them, Mr. Duke Effimi said enthusiastically
that the wonderful push from Asuquo Ekpenyong came as a surprise because most of them, still, have not known him in person. Describing the Commissioner’s kind gesture as one that would not be forgotten in a hurry, Effimi called on other political leaders to emulate him.
Also, Mr. Simon Umeri, Ogoja Coordinator who described Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr, as a Role Model with a kind heart, thanked the State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade for finding Asuquo Ekpenyong worthy of service.

SSA ON SOCIAL NETWORK LAUDS AYADE FOR ENCOURAGING INFORMATION SHARING

The Senior Special Assistant to the Cross River State Governor on Social Networking, Florence Obi Anyia has lauded the Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade for creating the department for social media networking in his administration.
She made the commendation in an interview with the MOFINEWS correspondent in her office in Calabar. According to her, “social networking is veritable tool to connect the world with the State especially on the industrial and Agro-based policies and programmes of the State government in the 21st century”.
“Social networking has created a window to showcase the potentials that abound in the State in the areas of industrialization and Agro-based policies of the State government”, she added.
While commending the Governor for being so passionate on the need for social media connectivity with the outside world, she said, that there is a lot to gain in social media networking.
This has provided ample opportunities to Let the world know the potentials of the State, through several media
content. Anyia said, “my office as a Senior Special Assistant on social networking hashelped to re-invigorate the social governance structure and linkages between government and the public”. The office, she said, amongst other issues is enhance the interface with the public so as to harness the energy from the social atmosphere and present the policies/programmes of the State government in a credible light.
The State, she added, has been projected in and outside the world through the various network platform. Wherever, you can goggle Cross River State government information at your finger tips.
Governor Ayade “Our Digital Governor” is a committed and seasoned administrator of our time. Cross Riverians are blessed to have him as the Governor.
Anyia said, “his vision and dreams have launched the State into another limelight, adding that “any leader who does not recognized the importance of social networking is yet to start”. While commending the State Governor for his
industrialization strides, she appeals to Cross Riverians to give him the maximum support and cooperation.
Anyia who described Ayade “as an exceptional leadersaid he has surpassed his predecessor in the areas of establishment of industries across the 18 local government areas of the State”. With this singular achievement, “we are proud of him and urged him not to relent.
“Some of these achievements when completed and commissioned shall change the story of Cross River State from a Civil Service State to an Industrialized State, she added”. She therefore urged the Governor to be focused and committed and should not be distracted in his quest to re-writing the story of the State.
She commended the Governor for encouraging the development of agriculture and called on him to do more by ensuring the farmers are empowered with farming implements.
“By so doing, he is indirectly building the economy of Cross River State and the nation in general.

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ASUQUO EKPENYONG JNR. RE-ASSURES ODUKPANI PEOPLE OF HIS CONTINUOUS LOVE AND TRUST

A good Politician sure knows how to count his onions, just like Legendary Kenny Rogers’ saying is rife,
“Every Gambler knows that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep” and so, for a Politician to “Throw away” his Constituents makes him a Loser and not a Winner. The Constituents, of course, are the undisputable Winners, indeed, just like the good political leader himself or herself, is always Winner, as well. Every hand is a winner and every hand is a loser. That’s the way life goes. Each and every one of us is unique and important, and no one is insignificant. This is the reasoning that guides a good politician, as he attempts to put the right mix in front of his constituents who have so much faith in him/her. Being a political leader, particularly, at the young age like Asuquo Ekpeyong Jnr., is a good start in the beginning as he has proved beyond reasonable doubts that he really is able to count his onions correctly.
Annually, the young Commissioner for Finance in his wisdom gathers his people of Odukpani origin, not only to host them for the Christmas festivities, but to give himself and the people, the opportunity to share good times, while at the same time, trying to understand their needs in an informal and non-tensed environment that offers them both, real sense of belonging that builds more of their trust in each other. In appreciation of their unwavering support,
Asuquo Ekpenyong organized a thanksgiving to end the year, 2020 in their honour all his teeming supporters, indigenes of Odukpani and friends alike, and appreciate their tremendous support, as well as, prayers, for him.
Dedicating the annual event which was held at his private residence in Calabar, Ekpeyong who dedicated the occasion to the State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, said that celebrating with his people was is his own way of connecting closely with his Constituents, appreciating their continued support and keeping the home fires burning.
He therefore, used the Christmas and New Year, occasion to call on Cross Riverians to renew their faith in the government of the day, praying also, for a prosperous 2021 for the people of Odukpani in particular, and Cross River, as a whole. “Christmas and New Year symbolize the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, being the birth of a new dawn for the salvation of souls for all humanity, especially, for Christians and should therefore, not be Used for only merry making but deep reflection”, he advised.
In her remarks, Chairman of Odukpani, Hon. Justina Edem, who eulogized the Odukpani people for their topmost support and cravings for good leadership, thanked them for re-affirming their trust and faith in the leadership of the State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade. Also, Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Edet Oqua, pleaded with the people to be patient, while looking forward to a better future.

 

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CLOSER LOOK AT SFTAS’ IMPACT IN CROSS RIVER

Cross River has every reason to stand strong in the year, 2021, as it proudly maintains the enviable status of the State that has achieved $20.4m in grants from the World Bank funded SFTAS programme of the Federal government of Nigeria, especially, that, this laudable achievement would go a long way to addressing unemploymentand youth  restiveness in the State. Assessment reports from a State-wide exercise conducted in September, 2020 by the Independent Verification Assessors, IVA, from the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation and JFR Consulting, showed that Cross River achieved six Disbursement Linked Indicators, out of the nine applicable DRLs for 2019 and three DLRs out of 3DLRs, i.e. 100% for 2020 additional financing.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyoung Jr., in a Press briefing in Calabar, highlighted achievements recorded so far in the State in the SFTAS programme for results-organized by the State Steering Committee. He revealed that the State government met the eligibility criteria for 2019 programme and was accordingly, pre-qualified for the detailed annual performance assessment of all qualified Nigerian States under the States’ Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
“The report”, Ekpenyong disclosed, stated that Cross River State has strengthened its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection, implemented biometric verification to reduce payroll fraud, improved its procurement practices for
increased transparency, as well as, strengthened its public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework, improved debt sustainability and instituted a more transparent budgeting process over the course of the fiscal year.
He therefore, used the opportunity to commend members of SFTAS, and State Steering Committee for their untiring efforts in bringing the State machinery up to speed towards achieving resounding success in the programme.
The Commissioner stated that, the Independent Verification success is a confirmation of Sir Ben Ayade’s administration’s commitment to transparency and fiscal performance, noting that they were able to surmount
numerous challenges at the course of work, even as positive results have been achieved for the world to see, due to the passionate commitment of the Steering Committee that hinged its support on the well organized civil service
administration of the State. While calling on the Media to work in synergy with the government to promote development programmes, Ekpenyong also, called on the good people of State to always appreciate the political goodwill of Sir Ben Ayade, who he described as a visionary Leader that deserves unwavering support. Also in his remarks, the Chairman, Cross River State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Akpanke Ogar, applauded Sir Ayade for his
unrelenting efforts at ensuring better welfare packages for the State, noting that it is such good nature of the Governor that accounts for the positive and result-oriented programmes the State is able to deliver.
Disclosing that very soon, the State would embark on a-State-wide enumeration of the people and businesses alike, he thanked the Media for ensuring effective dissemination of accurate and educative information on government programmes in the State.
The SFTAS Programe is afour-year programme that is designed to run from 2018 to 2021, with a budget size of $750m and a product of mutual agreement between the Federal government of Nigeria and World bank, designed to strengthen the fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability in the Nigerian States, as a way of improving their revenue base, increasing fiscal efficiency in public expenditure and reducing debt overhang The Steering Committee comprises, Ministry of Finance, Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Accountant-General and Bureau of Due Process, including office of State Auditor-General and Debt Management.

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2021 ARMED FORCES REMEMBRANCE DAY: AYADE LAMENTS PLIGHT OF EX-SERVICE MEN, PROVIDES SOCIAL SUPPORT

For 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Ex-Service Men in Cross River State went home with full smiles as the State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade filled their hearts with warm words of encouragement that uplifted their spirits, with hope and dignity in life.
The Governor, who lauded the contributions of ex servicemen in the society, state categorically that they deserve care, protection and honour at all times, for the unequal sacrifices they have made in the country and human life.
While lamenting their plight, Ayade said that Nigeria has the responsibility to take care of them and protect them, and as such, he ensure that the present administration, pays meaningful attention to the welfare of ex-service men and their families, particularly, the Widows. To that effect, the Governor who assured them of this continuous support, directed that a brand new bus be provided for them.
” You fought for the sustenance of this nation and to keep us alive, therefore, we have the duty and responsibility to protect you and take care of you because one good turn deserves another”, he said.
On his part, Chairman, Cross River State Chapter of the Nigerian Legion, Captain Joseph Offiong, described the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day as unique “Because we have our Governor here with us and he has made us proud”. He therefore, commended Ayade for donating a bus to the Legion and promised judicious use of it.

Earlier, the Governor joined Service Commanders in the State and widows of fallen soldiers to lay wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Millennium Park. And as his own contribution to adding more meaning to the Armed Force Remembrance Day, Chairman, Anti – Tax Agency, Bishop, Dr. Emmah Gospel Isong lauded the Governor’s good nature which is being made manifest by placing welfare of the people a priority in the State.
The Chairman applauded the Governor on the wise initiative that produced the Tax Exemption Policy Granted to the poor masses and also, finding it important to convey respect to the departed Heroes of our nation.
He noted that the Governor’s Anti-Tax Policy to petty traders is reasonably improving the State’s economy as it is recording profit for the small and medium scale enterprises across the State.
“The essence of governance is to impact on the people, especially, poor masses and this is exactly what the present administration is doing”, as clearly being demonstrated by the Governor”, he pointed out.
Buttressing his points further, Dr. Isong said that, with the creation of the Anti Tax Agency, Cross River increased, and is sustaining impressively, small and medium scale businesses across the State. Noting that their sacrifices will never be forgotten in life, he prayed for the departed soldiers to find rest, recalling that those they left behind will ever cherish and honour them.

Bishop Dr. Emma Gospel Isong

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CROSS RIVER PREPARES MORE SITES FOR INTERNATIONAL DONORS

Cross River State Government through the Ministry of International Development Cooperation is leaving no stone untouched to ensure that all communities benefits from development projects enhancing livelihoods. This was evident as the State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade embarked on project sites tour, early January, to ascertain most venerable communities that urgently need livelihood interventions. The Governor, who has already visited some potential project sites said that the State was exploring possible ways of improving livelihoods of the citizenry.
Accompanied by the Commissioner for MIDC, Dr. Inyang Asibong, Governor Ayade noted that some of the State’s on-going projects that are already at different stages of completion would generate more employment for the people and also improve the State revenue profile when fully operational. Responding, Dr Asibong who commended the governor for his drive in creating enabling environment for International Donors to thrive, noted that, the political goodwill that the State is enjoying from the present administration by way of ensuring provision of the required counterpart fund for interventions, has boosted the successes being recorded daily in the State. She stated that, her Ministry will increase collaboration efforts with relevant International Agencies with a view to uplifting the vulnerable population, as well as, creating social livelihood packages and Work Fare for the people.

ECHOES
OF
CHRISTMAS

Former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke in a musical session with his grand daughter

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CALACHIKA COMMENCES SALE OF CHICKEN AT SUBSIDIZED RATE

Cross River Chicken Processing Factory (CALACHIKA), located at Ayade Indusrial Park, along Goodluck Jonathan By-Pass, Calabar, did not only make impressive sales and offer job opportunities to many youths during the Christmas season, it sure made families eat full and healthy. Governor Ayade who is the brain behind this laudable
project confirmed that the impressive sales were results of the subsidized rates at which the well processed products were sold to families, as the idea was to make it possible for all families to have enough protein to feed on at Christmas. In his words when introducing the chicken concept to the people, the Governor noted, “This Christmas, we are making chicken available to all Cross Riverians through our poultry processing factory which takes live-birds, processes them and delivers direct to homes, for consumption”. He said that the idea of CALACHIKA was borne out of the deep concern that no family in Cross River should find it so difficult to cope with the rising cost in chicken sales, considering how they would cope during the festive season. “Chicken today sells for N5.000.00 (Five thousand
Naira) and above, in the open market in Cross River state but the government has asked that the operators at CALACHIKA sell theirs at the rate of N1800.00 (One thousand, Eight Hundred Naira) only, with subsidy of about N1000.00 (One thousand Naira) only and as fresh as they are”, he said.
The ultra-modern chicken processing factory with capacity to carry and process 2000 birds a day, is first of its kind in the South South region and was duly test-run to follow specifications with modern standard.
The Governor said that the factory was principally set up to create more jobs and opportunities for the numerous youths of the State and urged them, therefore, to take advantage of the existence of the chicken factory to also, key into poultry production as well.

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