Akwa Ibom State Government in collaboration with World Bank has presented a cheque of N135 million for the development of 15 rural communities in the state.
The benefiting communities include Ikot Esen Oku and Mbioto Ekpene Ituen community in Etinan LGA; Ibam Edet, Mbiafun Ikot Abasi and Nkwot Etok community in Ini LGA; Nto Uso community in Ika LGA; Offot Ikot Abasi Esu and Ibesit Okpokoro community in Oruk Anam LGA.
Others are Ikot Obom community in Nsit Atai LGA; Ikot Ukana and Okpo Eto Edem Idim community in Obot Akara LGA; Ikot Udo Obobo community in Ukanafun LGA and Ukana Ikot Ide, Ikot Ono and Ukana Ikot Akpabio community in Essien Udim local government area of the state.
The cheque was given in Uyo, during the 2nd Batch Training Program of Community Project Management Committee members and other Community Stakeholders.
Speaking during the program, the State Commissioner, Ministry of Economics Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr Akan Okon, stated that the disbursed funds would help in the implementation and execution of micro projects in the benefiting communities.
According to him, the State Government, under the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel is committed to enhancing the socio-economic wellbeing of the poor and less privileged in rural communities.
Mr Okon further advised the benefiting communities to utilize the funds effectively, as misappropriation of funds would not be tolerated.
He said “His Excellency’s robust committment has deepened the state government’s penetration into rural communities to touch the lives of the poor and vulnerable ones through provision of access to basic social services at the grassroots.
“I am pleased to inform you that after the training, cheques would be disbursed to 15 communities. This underscores the resolve and determination of the present administration in the state to develop all communities in Akwa Ibom State. Through this program, we are able to assess the rural communities.
“This project has zero tolerance for corruption and misapplication of funds as funds not utilized effectively and prudently will be refunded by the communities. It therefore becomes imperative for all participants to take this training as very Important. Alot of other communities are going to benefit after you.
Earlier, the General Manager, Akwa Ibom State Agency for Community and Social Development, Mr Ishmael Akpan hinted that the training would enable the benefiting communities have the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage their micro projects.
Mr Akpan who stressed the need for the benefiting communities to avoid conflict during the implementation of their micro projects, urged them to complete their micro projects within the stipulated timeline
He further commended the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for his passion in reducing poverty among the vulnerable and less privileged in the society.
“Rural appraisal with the cross section of the people whereby their prioritized needs are identified and through a transparent election, the community people elect members of the Community Projects Management Committee (CPMC) to manage the project on their behalf.
“The elected members of the CPMC therefore liaise with the Agency to formulate their community development plan which is sent to World Bank for review and approval. Once approval is granted by World Bank, the Agency organizes training for them and other principal stakeholders in the respective communities”. He said
In an interview with our correspondent, the CMPC Chairman in Ibam Edet community, Ini LGA, Mr Akan Ekpenyong assured the state government of fully completing their projects within the stipulated time.
He said ” in my community, two micro projects were chosen and they market stalls and extension of electricity. I am happy that we were given the cheque to implement our projects. I want to thank the state government and world bank for reaching out to us.
“I want to assure the state government and CSDP that we would complete our projects within the timeline as well as protect it against vandalism.”