FROM: JOE EFFIONG, UYO
Senior Special Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs and Economic Diversification, Sen Ita Enang has accused Govs Udom Emmanuel, Ben Ayade as well as the 22 members of the National Assembly from Akwa lbom and Cross River states of complacency in attracting federal government’s attention to the deplorable condition of Calabar-Itu federal highway.
Speaking to newsmen in Uyo at the weekend, Sen Enang who was in the state for a condolence visit to the family of former Chief of Air Staff, the late Air Vice Marshall Nsikak Eduok, said he was a lone voice in the presidency mounting pressure on the Federal Ministry of Works to continue the abandoned Calabar-Itu road project.
Enang explained that out of 10 Representatives and three senators from the state as well as the eight House of Reps members and three senators from Cross River State at the National Assembly, none of them could make a case in respect of Calabar – Itu road project which runs through Akwa Ibom and Cross River .
“I struggled from 2015 and got the first N6 billion in 2015/2016 budget and when it was to be awarded, it was rehabilitation that was advertised to rehabilitate the road from Ikot Ekpene to Calabar, I said no.
“I took the budget to the Minister and Federal Bureau of Procurement. It was advertised in the Federal Tenders Journal but this is not what was advertised in the budget. By the time I was able to overcome that fight, the budget had lapsed, the year had gone and the N6 billion was gone. I alone!
“I struggled in the following year to have N4.7 billion and the following year, I split the road into two because if I did not split the road into two, the amount I got in the budget would not have been able to do the initial mobilisation.
“Part of the road was awarded to Julius Berger because that was the money I got in that year from the budget, N4.7 billion was able to cover for mobilisation as Julius Berger was paid that money, but it was not still enough for them to heartily mobilise.
“I later struggled two years after to have the other outstanding portion awarded at N50 billion to CCEC. I had N3.8 billion in the budget for that aspect, and I got another money for the Julius Berger aspect. Before we finished the documentation, the year has lapsed and that money has lapsed.
“As at today, CCEC has not been mobilised to start work on that road. For this year, there is no reasonable provision for any of the aspect of that road despite all the efforts I have made. I am one person.
“I want all the ten members of the House of Representatives from Akwa Ibom, the three senators from Akwa Ibom state and all the eight members of the House of Representatives from Cross River, and the three Senators from Cross Rover state to lift their hands to God and say I, as a Senator or member of the House of Representative, I have contributed to get money and to get this road funded.
“Let the governors of Cross River State and Akwa Ibom also lift their hands and say this is what I have done. For the Governor of Cross River state, I want to say that he has made efforts with me to get funds for that road. But it is Akwa Ibom that has not.
“That is why you heard me say when N78.9 billion was refunded by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Akwa Ibom State Government, that money ought to have been used at least in handling the Akwa Ibom apsect of the Calabar-Itu road.
“It was the money Governors Victor Attah and Godswill Akpabio saved for this state by applying to the Federal Government which was refunded to this government, which this government also ought to have applied for that road.
“I have endeavoured and tried but I will not surrender. Yes, I said we are going to raise funds from the SUKUK bond. We have some funds from the SUKUK bond, it will be applied but part of the job has been done in the Akwa ibom state section, no job has been done in the Cross River state section. Much fo the SUKUK fund will be applied to the Cross River state section of the road.
“Out of frustration, we are going to apply part of the funds of the NDDC which ought not to be ordinarily, to do the East West road and part of the Calabar-Itu road. So all hope is not lost. God will still help us to have funds from other sources to get this road done.
“Let us put pressure on the Government of Akwa Ibom state. Akwa Ibom state government is the highest recipient of the revenue from the country and concurrently, it also receives internally generated revenue. They should apply part of this money to the project.
“Let it not be a thing that the government or people use to blackmail a person. I can’t be blackmailed on that road but I will never surrender; I will never say it is not my job. It will always be my job so long as the Lord enables me,” he stated.