Judex Okoro, Calabar
Barely 40 hours after the inauguration of Vehicles Recovery Task Force, the team has vowed to recover all government vehicles from immediate-past political office holders in Cross River.
Governor Ben Ayade, through the office of Chief of Staff, had on June 3, 2019, ordered all former aides to return official vehicles in their possession within 78 hours or face public embarrassment.
The aides, who were issued official vehicles, included all former commissioners, Special Advisers, Special Assistants and other former appointees of the Cross River State government, including chairmen and members of commissions, boards, agencies, governing councils and local governments security council chairmen.
However, following the expiration of the 72 hours and failure of some former appointees to return the vehicles in their possession, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon. Martins Orim, inaugurated a seven-man task force to go to all the nooks and crannies of the state and recover government vehicles from the former aides.
In an interview with our correspondent, the Chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Oko Inaku, said: “With the mandate given them, any government vehicles seen on the road of Cross River or hidden anyway and without authourised pass would be impounded regardless of the status of the users. We are very serious and ready for them.
“It is very wrong for former political appointees to go home with their official vehicles when they ought to have returned them since the government didn’t buy the vehicles to them. Besides, it is unbelievable that some former appointees decided to go home with their official vehicles when they were supposed to return them without being harassed, adding that some of the vehicles were brand new and not up to two years so government could not just allow them go with them.”
According to Inaku, the former Director-General of Urban Renewal Agency, the increase in minimum wage has a huge cost implication on the state government, therefore the present administration may not have the resources again to embark on massive purchase of vehicles for new appointees that would soon come in.
Other members of the Task Force include, Governor’s office Transport Officer, Bisong Agbe (Secretary of the Task Force), Captain Edet Otu, Austin Wono, Ransome Odey, Boni Ishamali and Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Francis Obigwa.