By Tony Edike
THE Enugu State Government,Â Wednesay, dismissed as untrue media reports that it has procured 425 Prado Jeeps for traditional rulers in the state saying there was no plan to donate such expensive vehicles to royal fathers.
But the government, however, revealed that it had accepted to guarantee a credit facility obtained from the First Bank Nigeria PLC for the purchase of 363 brand new Hyundai cars for traditional rulers from the 17 local government areas of the state.
The state Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Jacob Ude, who made this known while briefing newsmen on the statement recently credited to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Eric Oluedo in which he claimed that the government had acquired 425 Prado Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Jeeps for the state traditional rulers.
He said: â€œOur attention has been drawn to recent media reports which alleged that Enugu State Government has purchased a particular brand of Jeeps for traditional rulers in the state.Â It has become imperative to make certain clarification in order to put the records straight and expose the falsehood in the report.
â€œThe truth of the matter in which our esteemed traditional rulers are fully aware of is that plans are at advanced stage towards purchasing Hyundai vehicles for a total number of 363 traditional rulers in Enugu State.Â Government on its part is providing the necessary guarantee for the purchase of the vehicles at mutually agreed term with the traditional rulers who will ultimately pay for the cars.
â€œHis Excellency, Governor Sullivan Chime is extending the gesture to the traditional rulers as a mark of his respect for them and the need to empower them in their onerous responsibility as royal fathers.â€
Ude said each of the Hyundai cars would cost N2.5 million, insisting that the government would not spend any money on the project as it would only guarantee the fund provided by the bank.
The commissioner also explained that the government had since 2007 increased the monthly salary of the traditional rulers from N30,000 to N100,000 saying that the report claiming that each royal father in the state earns N150,000 every month should be discountenanced.
While thanking the royal fathers for their collaboration with the government, Chief Ude reassured the people of the state of governmentâ€™s determination to better the lives of all her citizens.