Akwa Ibom Communities Want Govt To Address Fiscal Injustice
A cluster of Oron communities in Akwa Ibom State have urged the government, at all levels, to make available to them hard copies of yearly budget estimates so as to monitor the execution of projects in their areas, as well as to be able to contribute to subsequent budget estimates.
Specifically, the communities asked the government to use the country’s budget to address fiscal injustices and infrastructural disequilibrium “in our communities as well as integrate the communities into the budget processes for grassroots development”
They are also asking for quick action on the proposed deep-sea port at Ibaka, saying it would help in the development of the communities
The communities made the request at an interactive meeting organized by the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG), said their demand to be the outcome of town hall meetings held in different villages, with the support of Oxfam
The meetings, they said, were held in Oron,Eket,Ikot Ekpene and Uyo on behalf of Okpobo, Mbo, Urue\Offong\Oruko, Udong Uko and parts of Uruan communities of the state , adding that the meetings were attended by Town Unions, Clergy Men, Youth Groups, Market Women Associations, Students, Women Groups and Community Based Organisations, that have been itching to be included in the budgetary process, from conceptualization to implementation.
“We demand that, henceforth, that Local, State and and Federal Government budgets should be accessible and available to all stakeholders in Oron axis. Government at all levels should show political will to develop Oron. Importantly, full and accelerated implementation of the construction of a Deep Seaport at Ibaka within the Oron cluster is of strategic value to our people. This will bring about development in tourism and other sectors. Upgrading of the Maritime Academy, Oron, to a Maritime University for educational advancement of the Oron people should not also be downplayed by the government. Furthermore, we demand the completion of Oron – Calabar section of the East-West Road project, including the dualisation of the Oron- Uyo Highway” the communities demanded.
They also asked the government to control the menace of erosion in Oron nation, restoration of Oron- Calabar Ferry services, construction of Beach Embankment at Efiat and to put an end to the high level of insecurity around Oron, particularly sea piracy.
The communities observed that many projects in Eket cluster listed in the Federal, State and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) budgets in 2013 were not executed, hence the demand for participation in the budget implementation.