By Emmanuel Ayungbe
UYO – A former Minister of Land, and Housing, and Urban Development, Chief Ndueso Essien, has raised alarm that the contractors handling the Akwa Ibom State portion of the East-West Road, deviated outrightly from the original master plan of the Federal Government.
Essien, who spoke, weekend, when the national Executive Council of Eket Senatorial District Youth Assembly, ESDYA, paid him a courtesy visit at his country home in Ikot Ibiok, Eket Local Government Area of the state, described the road project as the worst ever embarked upon by the Federal Government.
He said that the road was originally planned and approved by the Federal Government to be a dual-carriage way, but the contractors handling the construction of the road fraudulently deviated from the original concept and converted it to a single lane highway under the pretext that there was paucity of fund for payment of compensation for the many structures to be pulled down.
“The road was meant to be a dual carriage way, but the contractors came up with the deceitful plan to convert the dual carriage way to a single lane highway, in the pretext that there were many houses to be demolished and compensation paid. So, they decided to make provisions for a single lane and built a by-pass,” he said.
The ex-minister urged the Federal Government to intervene by returning the road to its original master plan of dual-carriage way as there would be no budgetary provision for it after this year’s budget.
Essien also reiterated the call for the establishment of Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Communities Development Commission, AKIOPCDC, to cater for the interest of oil-bearing communities in the state.
He said that past agitations for the setting up of the commission failed because previous democratically elected governors of the state were not from Eket senatorial district, hence they deliberately frustrated the move.
“The reason it was not achieved then was because the elected governors from 2003 to 2015 were not from Eket senatorial district. So, none of them assented to the establishment of the commission, knowing it would take a chunk of money from the state’s derivation fund,” Essien added.
He expressed optimism that the commission will come into existence now that the current governor of the state, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, is from Eket senatorial district.