Cross River State lawyers have frowned at the long absence of the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade from the state since first week of March 2018. The lawyers expressed concern over the state of health of the governor.
A senior lawyer in the state, Barr Utum Eteng who spoke to journalists on behalf of the lawyers in Calabar yesterday about the governor’s state of health and his whereabouts, expressed doubt that the governor actually obtained permission from the state House of Assembly to travel outside the country for such length of time. He accused the governor of being in the habit of travelling out of the state without doing the needful in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The legal luminaries alleged that it was unconstitutional and unfortunate for the number one citizen of the state to travel out of the state for such a period of time and accused the leadership of the Cross River State House of Assembly of failing in its duty of checkmating the governor’s excesses.
The lawyers expressed displeasure that the state governor has violated the constitution by not writing to and obtaining permission in writing from the assembly each time he travels out.
“It is terribly unconstitutional and unfortunate that the governor can behave as if there are no people who have seen the constitution. The state Assembly has not done their work as it should be. They are more like a lame duck. They do not know their role. How can they keep quiet in the face of flagrant violation of the constitution! So much has gone wrong in the Cross River Assembly,” the lawyers spokesman said.
Also speaking on the issue, one of the constitutional lawyers who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The governor should have communicated with the Speaker. There are constitutional provisions if the governor has to travel.
I would not know if he complied with them otherwise it would be too wrong of him.”
“As the number one citizen of the state, his state of health should be of public knowledge. The people have the right to know where and when the governor leaves or is in the state. It is not legal but moral right for the people to be kept abreast of what goes on or how their governor governs them,” a human right lawyer maintained.
However, the state commissioner for Information, Mrs Rosemary Archibong accused the media of going outside its responsibility by inquiring about the governor’s whereabouts saying that the governor was not missing.
“The governor should be on his way back from his official trip to China and India where he signed business MoU and attracted more investments to the state,” Archibong stressed.