From INYALI PETER, Calabar
THE Cross River state government has emphatically declared that issue of power generation and distribution was outside the mandate of the state just as traders protest poor power supply in the state.
Mr. Christian Ita ,the Chief Press Secretary/Senior Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade, told the protesting traders that the state government was not responsible for public power supply.
Ita, who said this while seeking solution to the protest by traders over inadequate security and power supply at the Calabar Xmas village situated at the Botanical Garden, stressed that government at different levels are saddled with responsibilities; therefore it would be unfair to hold the state to ransom over issues of power challenges.
The protest, which took place last Thursday, was coming a day after it was reported that a young girl of about 22 years was ganged raped by 10 hoodlums as a result of high rate of insecurity in the area.
But the media aide assured Cross River people and the general public that there is adequate security in the fun area even as he disclosed that the government has put up measures to address the power shortage in the area because of its commitment to the welfare of the people.
According to him, “Although public power supply is not a responsibility of the state government, the governor in his commitment to the welfare of Cross Riverians, has acquired new power generating plant that has the capacity to supply all the shops in the Xmas village.
On the issue of security, he said, it is absolutely malicious for anybody to insinuate that there is no adequate security in the garden. Instead of the normal traditional armed police men on patrol we are using intelligence strategy whereby security men are deployed in mufti to work in the midst of the crowd. So, I can assure you that there is absolutely tight security in the place.
Earlier, one of the traders, Mrs. Emem Effiom had accused the state government of deceiving them, pointing out that since the official opening of the fun area this year, the issue of power supply and security have been their major challenges that the government has neglected completely.
“I regret paying N70, 000 for a stand in this place. The government has been so unfair to us; we pay outrageous sum to do business here but how can we do business at night without power to light the place?”, she said.
Another trader, Mrs. Susan Ekanem described the place as a safe haven for criminals adding that the decision of the government to relocate the venue from Municipal Garden was unreasonable especially as major stakeholders were not consulted on the choice of Botanical Garden.