Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has vowed not to be deterred by some fetish injunctions placed by some communities trying to stop the construction of new roads, claiming that such development has offended their gods.
Some owners of properties on the right of way along the ongoing dualised Ekom Iman/Etinan road have resorted to the use of fetish injunctions against the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Works, with a view to scaring contractors away from demolishing their buildings, to allow for the ongoing dualisation project/flyover.
Our correspondent learnt that immediately the contract for the project was announced, they started controversies and problems in the payment of compensation.
The project which commenced at the early stage of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s first term in office, has continued to raise acrimony between the state Ministry of Works and the communities as the state government had vowed never to compensate for buildings constructed without approval and after the initial valuation.
As a form of protest against the planned demolition of their homes, some of the natives on the other had also refused to collect the amount of money made available to them as compensation.
But the immediate past Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen, in his reaction, has vowed that the adoption of fetish injunctions would neither scare the Akwa Ibom State government nor deter its resolve to develop the state.
Inyangeyen who has been re-nominated as commissioner by Governor Emmanuel and awaiting clearance by the State Assembly, said the use of traditional yellow palm fronds known in local parlance as, ‘ayei’, red pieces of cloth and other concoctions fastened to properties marked for demolition could not restrain government or its agents from proceeding with the demolition exercise.
“This experience is not new. Similar situations have been witnessed in some parts of the state where people placed charms and idols of different shapes and moulds to prevent and intimidate government from carrying out its developmental projects, especially road construction,” he said.
Inyangeyen who described such as pettiness, however, advised the people who resort to such despicable antics to rather accept the compensation given to them for such property to enable them to relocate, repent and remove such injunctions which he considered to be powerless
He decried a situation where some people try to extort money from the government when road projects are awarded outrageous claims on tombstones, shrines, and shanties, some of which are hurriedly erected for such sinister purpose.
Inyangeyen, however, lauded officials of the ministry for setting the traditional injunctions on fire and progressing with the development of the projects so that the timeline for their completion could be met.