• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Former commissioner laments neglect of Eastern Obolo, an oil-producing area in Akwa Ibom

Former commissioner laments neglect of Eastern Obolo, an oil-producing area in Akwa Ibom

A former commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Iroikak Ikan has lamented the neglect of his Eastern Obolo local government area by the Akwa Ibom government despite its oil production status.

Not even one kilometre of the road had been constructed by the state government since the creation of the state, according to Ikan, an indigene of the.area.

In an interview in Uyo, Ikan who served as a member of the state executive council during the administration of Obong Victor Attah said the only road project embarked upon by the present administration in the state covering about 6 kilometres has since been abandoned.

“ Can you believe that since the creation of Akwa Ibom, the state government has not done a kilometre of road in Eastern Obolo?” Do we call that fairness? Do we call that equity? Is it justifiable, when you collect billions of Naira from that very local government every blessed month? That is what we are talking about.

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“My community has been seriously marginalized, forgotten in the provision of amenities We may be a very small community, but over 50 percent of the oil that sustains Akwa Ibom state comes from there. It is oil money that sustains Akwa Ibom State, not palm oil money.

Crude oil and natural gas money and it come in abundance from Eastern Obolo local government area. But unfortunately, we have been marginalized and forgotten but the people would not remain like that forever. If we are not given our due, we shall start making other moves,” he said.

He Governor Udom Emmanuel had promised to construct a road from Amadaka to another community when he came for his electioneering campaign adding that after the contract was awarded, the project was abandoned three months after.

According to him, the decision of the local government to demand the creation of a separate state to be known as Obolo State was borne out of years of neglect saying that a memorandum to that effect has already been presented to the National Assembly.

“If we are not given our due, we shall start making other moves. We know we deserve better. Akwa Ibom asked to be separated from the old Cross River State. If we know that we have been marginalized, we can ask to take our destiny in our hands. We are largely an island state. Waterways can be developed. We are asking for a government that understands how to live in a riverine community,’’ he said.

He lamented that several houses have been submerged following a devastating flood in the Emeroke community without any response from both the state government and oil companies operating in the area while the livelihood of the people has been put at risk.

“The flood happened suddenly, water overflowed the banks of the river and went virtually everywhere well beyond two feet. The area we are talking about is very close to the Atlantic Ocean. There has been consistent ocean surge and associated erosion.

“That threat has always been there. It happens perennially and the people have cried and their voices are hoarse asking for help. It is an oil-bearing community, the largest reservoir of gas in West Africa. Think of the revenue associated with that but would rather exploit all the resources and not bother about their wellbeing.

“It does not cost much to have an embankment around the community. It is doable by the government and it costs nothing. Nobody has made any response so far,’’ he said.