A community-based interest group, Eket Integrity Alliance (EIA), has charged Akwa Ibom State Government to reinvest the anticipated Federal Government refunds for the construction of Eket-Ibeno Road into the four major core oil-bearing areas.
In a statement jointly signed by Ita Udoh, Emmanuel Ekott, Iniobong Idem and Usoro I. Usoro, the body expressed the optimism that the Federal Government would refund the money spent on the construction of Eket-Ibeno Road, including the N8 billion being part of oil community funds, this week.
The road construction was originally a Niger Delta Development Commission project, of which the body had already spent about N4.5 billion.
ExxonMobil and Akwa Ibom voluntarily joined in 2013 to turn it into a dual carriage way.
However, N8 billion 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 project.
While welcoming the positive development and commending the Federal Government for its gesture, EIA said as an organisation concerned about the welfare, social well-being and community development of its people, it was necessary to quickly “plead with Governor Udom Emmanuel to use part of that anticipated refund to complete the Eket-Ibeno Road to its specification, as some parts of it are still uncompleted and the streetlights yet to be installed.
“Injecting the N8 billion into meaningful projects in Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket and Onna, conscious that this N8 billion 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 Christ injunction of giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and a man determined to leave the local communities better than he met them.”
EIA warned against diverting the money to other local governments.