By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo

THE Special Assistant to Akwa Ibom State governor on Research and documentation Mr. Essien Ndueso, has said that the State government is not responsible for the payment of compensation for properties of the citizens on the- right- of way of Calabar-Itu highway under construction.

Ndueso, who spoke while addressing newsmen on Sunday, stressed that there was never an agreement by the state government to take up that responsibility.

He therefore, described the assertion by the
immediate past Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang that the government of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states were supposed to pay for the compensation to property owners as untrue, misleading, and capable of pitting the citizens against the government.

He wondered why Senator Enang, has to advocate for Akwa Ibom State government to pay the compensation on a road that is being constructed by the Federal government.

His words: “It is important to let the people know that there was no agreement that Akwa Ibom state government has to pay for the compensation for the Calabar-Itu road.

“According to Senator Ita Enang, Akwa Ibom State government is supposed to pay for compensation on the road while the federal government funds the road construction. This is absurd, and misleading.

“How will the federal government claim it is constructing Calabar-Itu road, yet is waiting until the state government pays compensation to property owners? It is just like state government constructing roads and expecting local government areas to pay compensation to property owners.

“As we speak, the federal government is constructing 21 road projects totalling about 960kilometers in the north, notably Kano-Abuja Highway, Kano- Katsina, Kano-Maiduguri among others. Also the federal government is currently on Phase3 of the Housing scheme in Kano State.

“And there is no news anywhere that the Governors of Kano, Kaduna, Borno or Katsina States were asked to pay a dime in the name of compensation or counterpart funding for the projects. So why is Akwa Ibom own case different?

The governor’s Aide added that Senator Enang should have simply accepted that the Federal government has failed the people regarding the dualization of that road project, instead of trying to blame Akwa Ibom State government for their failure.

He noted that if the state governor had decided to dualize that same Calabar-Itu highway, that Enang would have run to the media to accuse him (the governor) of refusing to allow federal government to intervene on the road.

He recalled that when the governor wanted to dualize the Abak -Ikot Abasi Road; senator Enang had asked Akwa Ibom people to tell the Governor to allow Niger Delta Development Commissíon (NDDC) execute the contract it had already captured in its budget then.

“Also senator Ita Enang had abused the Governor for embarking on the Uyo -Airport Road expansion to eight lane dual carriage way. He wrote petitions to the federal government and did everything in his little power, but the Governor stood firm and the road expansion project is a beauty to behold today.

“His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel has single-handedly bore the responsibility of paying compensation and constructing several federal roads within the state, even some linking other states of the country.
These include the 29km Etinan – Ndon Eyo Road with two cable bridges completed.

“Also the 25km Uyo- Ikot Ekpene Road, the ongoing expansion of Uyo-Airport road to an eight lane road; the dualization of 19.5km Eket – Ibeno road, the dualization of 20km Uyo-Etinan road, dualization of 23.4km Eket – Etinan Road with three bridges, construction of the14.1km Ikpe Ikot Nkon- Arochukwu road with two bridges to link Akwa Ibom with Abia State among others”, Ndueso stated.

Senator Ita Enang had weekend at a meeting with stakeholders of Itu local government area including traditional rulers, while responding to appeals to government to compensate the citizens whose property were destroyed due to the road construction, said Akwa Ibom and Cross River States were supposed to pay for the compensation.

According to Enang, the bill of quantity given to the contractor, Sematech Construction Company did not include payment of compensation, as Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, were supposed to pay compensation to property owners

He had noted that Akwa Ibom state government however, recently wrote to Federal government that it won’t be able to pay the compensation, stressing: “We are going to pay the compensation. Let us keep the peace. Let the contractors have their right of way to do the job. I assure you that government will pay compensation.”

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