Oil rich communities in Akwa Ibom State are alleging neglect “despite being the goose that lays the golden egg and gives Nigeria a lifeline.”
In a letter to Governor Udom Emmanuel and signed by the National President, Ekid People’s Union (EPU), Prof. Asindi Andrew Asindi, the Eket people said “Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas produce about 60 percent of Nigeria’s oil since the last quarter of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, but the two have remained benignly neglected and abandoned.”
The communities advised the governor to call a town hall meeting and personally address Ekid people early enough with a view to redressing the situation before the next election.
The oil communities lamented: “The East-West Road was meant to pass through Eket to Oron and Ikot Abasi. As the dual carriageway got close to Eket, the contract was altered and terminated.
No explanation was given, despite the repeated questions and protests by the people.
The Federal Government has preferred to give the people a cold shoulder and an undignified silence.
Why did the state government decide to keep mute in this agitation?
“Eket-Ibeno road was only 70 percent completed when it was commissioned about one year ago.
Eket and Ibeno people continue to watch but see no indications that the unfinished project will ever be revisited. The road is, therefore, not fully motorable.
In 2015, Eket urban was promised a total facelift with a beautiful, impressive drawing entitled ‘Eket Urban Renewal’ and this was pasted on billboards all over the city.
The project got started, then went into the slowest snail speed, and eventually became comatose.
“Fiongetok Market was scarified, and sacrificed as it was meant to be relocated somewhere else in Eket to make way for the Eket facelift which has failed.
Till date, government has done nothing about the relocation, hence Fiongetok Market, the commercial heartbeat of Eket and neighbouring towns, is no more.
Contract said to be awarded for this project remains on paper.”
The letter listed other complaints of the communities: “There was a magnificent drawing showing a plan to expand and renovate UruaNka.
That project has currently slipped into controversies due to obvious selfish and political interests.
Eket and Esit Eket LGAs do not have any market commensurate with their status as oil producing areas.
The market sites in each of these two areas are embarrassing.
A better choice would have been to site the relocated markets in auspicious locations given their historical, cultural and economic roles.”