The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Cross River state, Mr Eric Anderson, has confirmed the reports making the rounds that property estimated at several billions of naira have ‘disappeared,’ at the internationally acclaimed Obudu Ranch resort.
In a chat with our reporter at the weekend, Anderson said his ministry received information about the alleged stolen items in the resort but absolved his office of blame.
“Actually, we have received a report from the community, being that the community formed part of the staff of the Range. I can’t readily jump into conclusion. We are investigating but I strongly doubt if the things are actually missing. However, we have management issue at the Ranch. We, of course, tried to allow a company to come and manage the place, invest in the infrastructures, maintain it and eventually handover to government.
“But the company has not met up with the requirement, so as a government, we did not want to shoot ourselves on the foot. We have opted out of that agreement but then, in opting out, there was going to be some level of communication between the government and the company. So, that is what we are on now,” he stated.
A source who preferred anonymity had enumerated property ‘missing’ in the resort to include two 30-seater Nissan coaster buses, two hilux vans, a water tank vehicle (stationed at the Bebi Air Strip), Landrover defender vehicle for fire service, two presidential gulf vehicles, honey factory pick-up vehicle, a 150 KVA Mikano generator (at the water park, bottom hill), a 750 KVA Mikano generator for the resort and ten brand new computers for the office of the general manager.
Also missing are two printers, 21 cargo containers at the resort, a deep freeze at the resort kitchen, equipment at the laundry room, brand new Wilson lawn tennis rackets, one NPF pick-up van with registration number 618 B, Nissan super salon with registration number 1GHC 40 and one Ford Everest SUV with registration number CR538A01.
Besides, N164 million generated from the ranch, between December 2015 and July 2018, has also allegedly disappeared.
Our source who gave a breakdown of the said figure, disclosed further that in December 2015, forty-five million, three hundred thousand naira was generated from the resort and that of twenty-seven million naira was generated in the summer (August-September) holidays of 2015.
Investigations further revealed that in summer of 2016, the sum of seventeen million naira was generated, while twenty-seven million was generated in December of 2016. In December 2017, the resort generated thirty million, three hundred and thirty-nine thousand, seven hundred and eighty-five naira, and in January 2018, the resort generated five million, one hundred and eighty-four thousand, seven hundred and sixteen naira.
Whereas three hundred thousand, nine hundred and sixty-one naira was generated in February 2018, the resort generated, in March 2018, fifteen million seven hundred and six thousand naira only, and between May to July, 2018, thirty-one million naira only was generated. Still in July, 2018, the Actors Guild of Nigeria held a week seminar in the ranch through which about seven million naira was generated.
As if that was not enough headache to the management of the resort, a reliable source said the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, has concluded plans to seal up the Ranch Resort for failure to remit tax owed the federal government.
FIRS source told our reporter that what provokes his office most is that “these resorts are making money at public expense while these proceeds end up in private pockets,” adding “when we demand that their financial obligations be met, they go around in a circle and refuse to pay, but steal the money and labour to prove to you that the resorts are not bringing in anything. The best we can do is seal up these places or they clear their indebtedness.”