Okon Bassey in Uyo
The under development of Eket Local Government Area, one of the oldest and core oil producing areas in Akwa Ibom State has been blamed on the hostile attitude of the indigenes and not government lack of concern or interest toward its expansion of the area; the state Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen has asserted.
The Commissioner for Works who is an indigene of the area made the assertion while answering questions from newsmen on the delay especially to complete the Eket Urban Renewal scheme now attracting criticism of its non-completion two years after it was initiated by the present state administration.
Inyang-eyen complained that since the initial development of the area during the reign of late Brigadier U. J. Esuene who hailed from there and was the Military Governor of then South-Eastern State, the development of Eket had remained static.
“Let me say this and I will be very blunt about it. If that project (Eket Urban Renewal) was sited far away from where I come from probably I would have lost interest in it because of the behaviour of the community.
“And I want to be quoted, the most difficult community to have work and construct road in Akwa Ibom is Eket and I am from there.
“They speak from both sides of their mouths including their elders. It is the only community that will receive compensation and denied it and refuse their structures to be taken down,” Inyang-eyen stated
The commissioner maintained that “If the Eket remodel project is delayed we have not had help from the Eket people supporting the cause of government.
“Let me say this emphatically, they don’t welcome development. And I understand why that local government which is my senatorial headquarters had remained that way. There is no dualised road, it is still in the stage that late Brigadier U.J. Esuene left it that we came to meet,” the Commissioner stressed.
He explained that one of the cardinal assignments given to him by the Governor, Udom Emmanuel on assumption of office in 2015 was to open up the local government areas for development.
“Across the 31 local governments of Akwa Ibom this administration has virtually made conscious efforts to impact everywhere so that there is its presence.
“In some of the local governments there was no government present in term of road project. Some of the local governments had no road constructed since its creation.
“It is amazing that we have done 69 internal roads in the state. Road construction is spread and not restricted to any senatorial district as the last administration.
“Apart from few people who believe that until you do the one in their village you have not done something I think universally, Akwa Ibom people will be satisfied that in the spate of one year this governor has made conscious efforts to get the state linked together. Most important is the super highway which is the only way to the deep sea port.
According to the Commissioner, the state government had so far commissioned at least 49 direct labour roads in his first term while another 47 direct labour roads were to be executed in the second term of the administration.
He debunked the insinuations that the state government was not paying compensation on structures demolished in the cause of road construction in the state.
“The story of non-payment of compensation is a blatant lie.
“Once there are any of these careless petitions we have enough documentary evidences to back it up.
“Even if you are a Commissioner in the cabinet of Governor Udom Emmanuel and you go and build an illegal structure to block the right of way we will take it away without paying you compensation.
“The whole thing there is that this administration has refused to cooperate with negotiated compensation.” the Commissioner stated.
He warned that any contractor that had collected money from the state government and never execute such contract was going to have it very rough. “Any contractor that has collected money from the state government from 2015 till date without execution of the contract is going to be prosecuted.”