As the screening of the recently announced Executive council members for the 17 local government councils in Cross River State begin this week, it has emerged that huge financial sums have been pegged as clearance fees by the respective legislative houses in the LGAs, whose function it is to screen and seal the appointments, calitown.com can reliably reveal.
In about four LGAs in CR’s Central Senatorial District, those to be screened have been told to pay a non-refundable screening fee of N100, 000 (one hundred thousand naira), in cash, to the Leaders of the respective Legislative houses.
“We seem helpless when you consider that without paying the money, we will not be screened. I have had to go and borrow money to pay as that is the only option available”, one source said. It is a situation that shows clearly the kind of booby traps that line the state’s political landscape.
However, one legislator was quick to say that, “the world over, this type of screening comes with administrative fees; they need to pay to be listed in our agenda for the day, the time we will spend listening to them as well as all the other processes that I can’t list here. Even in Abuja, at the Senate, do you think screening is free, why will it be different here?”, he concluded.
At the party level, insiders in the PDP informed further that, “those legislators cannot work away with all of the money, certain financial obligations within the party will be met, afterall the arrangement is internal and should not be a matter to be drummed”. It is a position that has not gone down well with many political watchers who seem to chorus the opinion that money should be de-emphasised so that people appointed to positions will do their work and bother less about dipping hands in public funds.
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