A non-political organisation in Akwa Ibom State has expressed sadness over malfeasances by public officers bordering on impunity and outright rascality in the state.
This is as the group has called Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Public Accounts Committee to engage the services of external auditors to verify all public incomes and expenditures with a view to determining the leakages and malfeasances perpetrated by various military administrators, governors and public office holders.
Since the creation of Akwa Ibom State on September 30, 1987, 11 administrations comprising six military administrators, one police commissioner, four civilian governors have presided over the affairs of the state populated by more than five million people.
Of recent, some people in the state especially radio analysts, public commentators, academics even politicians have been strident in calling for a probe of the Godswill Akpabio administration, an action the group views with contempt repugnant of justice and equity.
Under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Akwa Ibom State and signed by David Uyo, President and John Ekong – Secretary, the body which copied some government relevant government agencies attributed such malfeasances to the lethargic nature of Akwa Ibom people in not demanding for accountability from public officers.
In the petition entitled DEMAND FOR PROBE OF AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS, the group lamented that “These colourations have often given rise to allegations that are overtly prejudiced and easily definable along tribal lines and other divisive tendencies.
“These unfortunate developments have impeded our collective vigilance and fight against acts of malfeasance by public officers and indeed successive administrations.
According to the group, “the State has had several accruals from various sources including Federation Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“These sums which run into trillions have been managed by successive governments that have presided over the affairs of the State.
“Owing to the lethargic nature of our people, demands for accountability from public officers are often either not forthcoming or where they manage to arise, are tainted with prejudice and other colourations that do not serve our collective good.”
“These colourations have often given rise to allegations that are overtly prejudiced and easily definable along tribal lines and other divisive tendencies.
“These unfortunate developments have impeded our collective vigilance and fight against acts of malfeasance by public officers and indeed successive administrations,” it admitted.
Though it commended some of the past military/civilian administrations for laying enduring foundation for the development and achieving significant strides in various areas of governance, it noted that such could not “sacrifice such seeming trickles on the altar of the collective good of Akwa Ibom people.”
Specifically, it cited a few instances of rascality to include the construction of cottage hospitals in Bakassi Peninsular then in our state by the Yakubu Bako administration which was alleged to be a conduit pipe for the fleecing of the State.
“During the administration of His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, there was a case of upfront payment of N5.3 billion out of a contract of N5.6 billion to a South African company for the construction of Ibom Science Park, Uyo. The job output till date is alleged to be very minimal compared to the sum disbursed.
“That administration was also rocked with the scandal of releasing over 90% of contract sum to a US- based company called Dyncorp for the construction of the present Victor Attah International Airport. The contract was abandoned at site clearing level.
“Other allegations of financial malfeasance that rocked that administration were cases bordering on money laundering to which the actors were compelled at various times by the United States and German authorities where they were apprehended, to buy quantum rice and BMW vehicles respectively which they claimed were the reason for their being in possession of such large sums of hard currencies.
“The Godswill Akpabio administration which has been incessantly accused sometimes albeit wrongly should also be investigated especially as it concerns the Tropicana Entertainment Centre, Uyo in which Silverbird and some public office holders in the state government are known to be culpable.
“The Udom Emmanuel administration which has collected more than N1 trillion so far from Federation Account including IGR, should also be probed especially on how much the State Government has invested in the much-trumpeted 15 industries, how much has been deployed to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) department to source for foreign investors, how much has been spent on the 1700 km of roads claimed to have been completed but known to have been abandoned, and the purchase of the three aircrafts without its being captured in the State budget. Again with the increased megawatts by the Ibom Power Plant, how much has it generated into the State coffers for development projects?” the group further cited.
The group, therefore, sought “Based on the audited accounts by the State Auditor-General and external auditors, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and any other related agencies for that matter, should wade in, arrest and prosecute suspects with a view to recovering the looted funds and returning same to the State Government coffers.”