From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Some elders in Akwa Ibom State have accused the state government of sidelining Uyo Senatorial District in development through alleged systematic disruption of projects executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the senatorial district.
Two groups of: the Uyo Senatorial Elders Forum led by Otuekong Sunny Jackson and Uyo Senatorial Mandate Group whose president Ntufam Akan Okon, had on Saturday addressed the press alleging that Gov. Udom Emmanuel was antagonist towards NDDC in the latter’s interventionist projects in the state, especially in Uyo senatorial district.
“This retrogressive stance is coordinated and rascally executed by the Akwa Ibom State commissioner for works, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen who has been widely reported to have physically, and with the aid of thugs, police and paramilitary agents attacked and driven away contractors and their workers from such project sites,” the groups said.
They mentioned some NDDC projects which they claimed the state government drove contractors away, and wondered why the state should resort to disruption whereas other states, especially, Cross River, has collaborated with the commission to develop their area.
“In contrast, Udom Emmanuel has become very hostile to NDDC and has even stepped up both verbal and physical attacks either directly or through his media team, on the commission.
But responding on behalf of the state government, the works commissioner, Mr Inyangeyen described the allegation as pure falsehood as the state government was very desirous of collaborating with the NDDC, to enable its interventions add real value to development in the state.
Inyangeyen told Sunday Sun on Monday that the state government had no reason to refuse any agency who wants to support efforts by the state government to improve infrastructure within the state.
“I want to dispel the falsehood that the Akwa Ibom State Government is against intervention or road construction by NDDC. It is absolute falsehood that government does not want NDDC to work in Uyo. The governor is irrevocably committed to developing the state infrastructure. When you politicize development, the people suffer for it,” he said.
On the allegation that the state government was preventing development within Uyo senatorial district, Inyangeyen presented a list of 58 ongoing roads and about 40 within the Uyo capital city, embarked upon by the state government through direct labour intervention and well mobilized for.
“It is not possible for the state government to sit in Uyo and refuse to develop Uyo. The only thing we do not do is to erect signposts on every little project we do. I am going to direct supervising engineers to raise signposts”.
He told NDDC management to collaborate with the state government especially as time for drafting of the 2018 budget is drawing close, to ascertain what the commission intends to do in the state within the 2018 fiscal year to avoid further duplication.