76 Oil Wells: Get Ready to Battle FG, Ayade Tells SANs

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Ben Ayade
  • ‘Cedes’ governorship position to his deputy

Bassey Inyang in Calabar

Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has called on Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) from the state to be ready to fight the federal government in a bid to get compensation for 76 oil wells that were seized and given to Akwa Ibom State by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The governor made the call at the main bowl of the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar while taking his oath of office for a second term along with his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu.

Ayade also declared that his deputy would assume the position of “acting-governor” of the state, while he would assume the position of “project manager.”

“I am prepared for the industrialisation of Cross River State. The deputy governor will from today become the acting-governor while I will be the project manager,” Ayade said.

The governor said the federal government “illegally seized our oil wells. You illegally seized our lands. You brought in EPZ. You took our waterways and left us stranded. Even the ceding of Bakassi was illegal.”

He said, “In 2016, I issued a report on the oil deposits in Cross River State. We have not asked for money; we are only asking for our constitutional right to explore our natural resources. Three years down the line, we are waiting.

“Cross River has been abused and reduced to nothing in body and spirit and soul. I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to please hearken to the prayer of the people of Cross River State that we know our value, we know our worth, we know our heritage. We have shown so much understanding with the absolute belief that in the fullness of time, justice will be done. All Cross River SANs (Senior Advocates of Nigeria), you better be ready because the federal government has to tell us what crimes we have committed,” he explained.

He also decried the ceding of Bakassi, saying it was illegal and that government’s policies over the years had reduced the state to want and called for redress.

Meanwhile, the governor said his deputy will be acting as governor in his second term while he will serve as a project manager to enable him to complete his signature projects such as the Super Highway, Calachika, Bakassi Deep Seaport and others.

“In order to see to the actualisation of our signature projects this term, though I have been sworn in as governor, I will assume duties as a project manager while my deputy will be the governor.

“Don’t expect to see me in office but in the field to see to it that these projects are actualised,” Ayade added.