NSIMA EKERE IS A WASTE OF ALLOTMENT TO AKWA IBOM –EPHRAIM INYANG
…SAYS NDDC IS OUR RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
The Honourable Commissioner for Works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, has decried the ill treatment meted on Akwa Ibom State by the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) led by Mr Nsim Ekere, as if it was doing the state any favour, stressing that the agency is a right to the state and not a privilege.
He stated this in a recent exclusive interview with the Directorate of Marketing and Brand Management, Sam Edoho, on the achievements recorded by the ministry within the last three years and the challenges facing the Ministry of Works.
Akparawa Ephraim stated that about 26 out of the 31 local government areas of the state have enjoyed the presence of road infrastructure, saying that the remaining five local government areas would be visited before September this year, and gave the total figure of roads done so far to be 1700 kilometres.
When asked about his view on the rumour making the rounds that the state government was hindering the presence of the NDDC in the state, a claim which has attracted public opinions from both print, electronic and social media platforms, the Works Commissioner noted that “Bulk of the NDDC money comes from Akwa Ibom State.
“The State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, is a very intelligent man who does not play politics with development, and would never have refused the NDDC to spend money that is gotten from the highest oil producing state in the country, and allowed it to be enjoyed by nine other states of the Niger Delta region.
“I have challenged NDDC to come to Akwa Ibom and publicly commission one road they have done, just as they are doing in Bayelsa State, but they have not responded. You don’t construct roads on the social media.”
Citing instances where the NDDC had attempted to disrupt development in the state, Akparawa Ephraim said “During the second anniversary of Governor Emmanuel, the Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo wrote to the state government for the construction of the school access road, and the Governor directed me to construct the road, which he flagged-off during the anniversary. While we were at a retreat in Abuja, the VC called that the NDDC had gone to the site with equipment to do the road. And we allowed them. Now the road has been abandoned.
“Governor Emmanuel, during the thanksgiving service of the Accountant General, Mr Uwem Essien, asked the church what they wanted, and they requested for their access road to be constructed, a requested which was granted by the Governor. Two days later, I was called that some people were working on the road. On my arrival there, I asked where they were from and they said the NDDC sent them. I inquired of them the design and the engineer in charge of the contract but they could not provide any. I called the Director in charge of NDDC projects and the man said he was not aware of the contract. So I had to order them out of the site because they would do what they used to do in other places and abandon.
“When we went to intervene at Ekid Itam, a contract paper of 17 August, 2015 showed up that they had a contract to do the road. In the contract paper, they listed from Itam through Ekid Itam to Mbiaya, Mbiaya to Idu. And only 3km was awarded whereas the road is over 24km. I asked two questions: what portion of the over 24km is to be constructed? Where is the design and why are you showing up three years after? And they could not provide answer.”
He advised the federal intervention agency to desist from the habit of disrupting development in the state with their shoddy jobs and do the right thing, insisting that “You cannot spend the portion of allotment of Akwa Ibom money and NDDC which is our right, not privilege, to do shoddy jobs, and it is recorded in the books of the NDDC and the brains of the people in Abuja that the roads were done in Akwa Ibom.
“We insist that you do it right because we are doing it right. That is why I will not do any road that does not meet global standard. If NDDC must work in Akwa Ibom, they are welcome but they cannot do any shoddy job.
“When I came in 2015, there was flood on IBB Avenue and I told people of the area that they would have to manage the situation except we are able to do underground drainage system to take the water from IBB to Ibesikpo Asutan, because that is the lowest point in Uyo. And that nobody should do any road hanging behind IBB else water will wash it out. Immediately NDDC heard the interview, they went to do those roads, which were later washed away by the June 2018 rains. That is wasting of allotment meant for us.
“Akwa Ibom State government is never against NDDC working, but we stand strong and firm against doing any shoddy job. You must meet up the standard we are doing in the state so that we have value for our money. So if they want to work, they should liaise with us and show us the road. Even if we were about to start work on that particular road, we will leave it for them provided it would be done up to global standard,” Ephraim Inyang-Eyen concluded.