Akwa Ibom Superhighway Project: Angry youths drawn from seven local governments of Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno, Udung Uko, Mbo and Oron, Akwa Ibom State have threatened to stop 2023 elections in their areas over the abandoned 55.1km Ibom Superhighway project.
The project was awarded by the present government to Ebla Construction Company Ltd in 2017 on a Public-Private Partnership arrangement (PPP) but it was gathered that the company was never mobilized to start work since then.
Worried by the development, youths of the local governments where the projects cut through said they were disappointed that nothing has been done on the road six years after the groundbreaking, lamenting the economic loss they suffered through the destruction of houses, farmlands and economic trees in the affected communities just to ensure the realization of the project.
The youths noted that the government has not paid any compensation to persons whose buildings and farmlands were destroyed, adding that they are homeless and hungry.
Carrying placards with various inscriptions in a protest, the youths blocked Ebla Construction Company Ltd from evacuating its equipment from site yard in Ibeno.
Some of the placards read, ‘there will be no elections if this project is not continued in the host communities of Eket, Ibeno, Esit Eket, Mbo, Udung Uko and Oron’, ‘abandonment of projects keeps host communities in starvation’.
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Others were ‘the abandoned project was to service Ibom Deep seaport’, ‘we need our right compensations for crops and buildings, ‘please government should tell us our position in this state’.
They warned Governor Emmanuel, the former commissioner for works, Akparawa Ephraim Inyang-eyen and other aspirants seeking election in 2023 not to come for campaigns in their local government areas, warning that failure to heed to the advice will lead catastrophe.
Speaking on behalf of the youths, an activist in Esit Urua, Francis Itiet said, “since I was born I have never seen the number of abandoned projects scattered everywhere in the state.
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“We receive the highest federal allocation and the wealth of the state comes from this axis but we haven’t been well treated by the Udom Emmanuel administration.
“The Eket-Ibeno road was abandoned likewise the Ibom Superhighway project despite destroying our buildings and farmlands which our parents use in sponsoring our education.
“Now the company is moving away its equipment because it has not been mobilized. We won’t allow this company evacuate its equipment.
“And we are sounding a strong warning to Governor Udom Emmanuel and others aspirants not to come for campaigns in Eket, Mbo, Udung Uko, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Oron because there will dire consequences if they do”.