Protesting Youths Cripple Activities at Akpabio Stadium


  •  Complaint of non-implementation of MoU with Akwa Ibom State government

The two host communities of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Obio Etoi and Obio Ofot in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State yesterday staged peaceful protest at the complex to press home their complaints of unfulfilled promises by the state government since taking over their land for the project.

The protest which commenced in the morning lasted for several hours as the youths barricaded the main gate leading to the stadium tagged the “Nest of Champion”, thus frustrating early day activities at the complex.

THISDAY learnt that the protest was staged four days to the decisive World Cup match between Nigeria Zambia to draw attention to the unfulfilled promise of the state government.

The youths insisted that the beautiful edifice in their community has added no financial value to uplift their lives and wellbeing.

Some of the placard placed at strategic location round the stadium reads in part,” the Stadium is Beautiful but the People in the Communities here are Suffering”.

The Youth Leader of Obio Etoi village, Mr Sunday Peters, who led the demonstration told newsmen that one of their grievances was that since 2011 when Julius Berger commenced work at the stadium, the villagers have nothing to show in term of employment or remodeling of their communities.

Due to the neglect of the communities, he said the activities of the construction giant has made the community to become water logged anytime it rains.

Mr Peter lamented that flood from the artificially created lake in the stadium now makes it possible for the community to become flooded anytime it is full.

“Since 2011, when this company commenced work here; this stadium has not brought anything good for us here. The company took all diversion ways to the community with their heavy equipment and machines, at a point we have to sell our land to maintain the road. That is why we are crying to the state government and we will continue to cry until something is done”.

On his part, the village head of the Obio Etoi, Eteidung Ezekiel Inyang Ekott, said the protest by the youth was a peaceful one as it was not marred by violent.
The youths, he said only demonstrated at the stadium gate just to draw the state government attention to the plights of the host communities.

“We want to let the state government to know that the Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU), entered between the host communities, Julius Berger and the state government has been breached”.

Top government officials including the state Commissioner for Works, Ephraim Inyang, and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr Charles Udoh, pleaded with the youth to remain calm and not embarrass visitors to the stadium.

To pacifying the youths of the communities, the work commissioner hinted that the road being the subject of complaint has been earmarked for construction stressing that work will commence in a week’s time.