By Tony Nyong
UYOâ€”Akwa Ibom State chapter of East-West Road House and Other Property Owners Association of Nigeria has raised an alarm over alleged diversion of the N380 million meant to compensate those whose houses are to be demolished to pave way for construction of the East-West road.
The group in a letter addressed to President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, with copies sent to the Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, urged the federal government to call its officials in charge of the process of paying the compensation to order.
The group said:Â Â â€œThe planned demolition of houses, the hiding away of the schedule of payment as well as the selective method of compensation adopted by the government officials illustrate the tyranny of a government that is bent on ripping its citizens of their properties in the name of road construction.
The group described governmentâ€™s action as capable of disrupting peace, and enthroning violence in the region, adding that could further compound ongoing protest against many years of oppression, deprivation, rejection and injustice.
According to the group, government is oppressing the people of Akwa Ibom State because of the role played by key politicians in the state during the resource control issue.
It said the federal governmentâ€™s present action was a mockery of the blood of past heroes of the state who fought to keep the country one, including late Wellington Bassey, and Philip Effiong.Â Â Â Â Â The group vowed to resist and confront any system with smoking barrel and bayonet to dispossessed them of their land andÂ property and prevent demolition of their property until full settlements of the claims were made.
The Managing Director, Imewills Services, Elder Ime William Nkine, Consultant to the group, who led some of the members on a peaceful protest told Vanguard, said the diversion of the compensation meant for the property owners was an outright denial of their fundamental human rights.
He called on federal government to publish the approved payment schedule to avoid the disruption of work on the road.
The President of the group, Chief Akpan Obot,Â condemnedÂ the action of the authorities of the Federal Ministry of Works and Transport andÂ accused them of trying to finger with the money set aside for the payment of compensation to the displaced persons.
He stressed that government should not encourage criminality through arbitrary denials and deprivation of compensation after ravaging the source of livelihood of a people.