A community-based group that goes by the name Eket Integrity Alliance, EIA, has charged governor Udom Emmanuel to facilitate the completion of 19.5kilometers Eket-Ibeno road to specification using part of the anticipated Federal government monetary refund for the construction of the road.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by its media Coordinator, Chief Usoro I. Usoro, and three others – Pastor Ita Udoh, Dr Emmanuel Ekott, and Chief Iniobong Idem which was made available to Journalists in Uyo yesterday.
The group warned that the monetary refund should not be diverted to other local government areas, insisting that the entire money should be reinvested into meaningful projects in the four oil producing areas comprising Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket, and Onna.
According to the group, when the state government decided to join in the construction of the Eket-Ibeno road, it had deducted the sum of N8billion from the 2014 ExxonMobil oil spill compensation meant for the four local governments.
The statement read, “… Eket Integrity Alliance is concerned about the welfare, social well-being and community development of her people. It is necessary to quickly plead with Governor Udom Emmanuel to use part of that anticipated monetary refund to complete Eket-Ibeno Road to its specification, as some parts of it are still uncompleted and the street lights, yet to be installed.
“The road construction was originally a Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) project, of which the body had spent about N4.5billion before ExxonMobil and Akwa Ibom State Government voluntarily joined in 2013, in order to turn it into a dual carriage way.
“However, the sum of N8billion was eventually deducted by the state government from the 2014 ExxonMobil oil spill compensation meant for the four Oil Producing Local Governments and used for the road construction. We, therefore warn against diverting the money to other local governments.
“Injecting the N8bn into meaningful projects in Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket and Onna which was originally their money will improve the lives of the people, while also portraying the governor as a lover of his people, a Christian who practices the Christianity injunction of giving unto Caeser what is Caeser’s and as a man determined to leave the local communities better than he met them”
The group however stressed that in focusing on the development projects, each of the four-oil producing local government areas should be duly consulted on what would be suitable for them, as each has specific needs arising from their natural and socio-cultural peculiarities.
They commended the Federal Government for the release and Governor Emmanuel for eventually harkening to calls to embark on on-sight project inspections, saying “that will give him the true mileage or otherwise of his achievements in two tenures.”