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Militants issue Udom 14-day ultimatum to publish Akwa Ibom councils’ allocations

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Militants under the aegis of the Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF) have issued Governor Udom Emmanuel a 14-day ultimatum to publish federal allocations to local government areas in Akwa Ibom State.

State Commander of the NDLF, Captain Victor Eyoh, and four others made the demand yesterday in a statement made available to newsmen in Uyo, the state capital.

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The group urged the governor to make public records of all council allocations received by the state from June 2015 to date, failing which its members would stage a mass protest, which might have serious impact on the economic and government activities in the state.

The NDLF had last week accused the Akwa Ibom State Government of stalling development at the grassroots level by tampering with council funds since Udom assumed office in 2015, an allegation the state government had denied.

“For the avoidance of doubt, as indigenes of Akwa Ibom, we are aware that during the first five months after the inauguration of the outgoing local government councils, all the 31 councils were operating on zero allocations.

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“In subsequent months, about N6 to N8m per month was disbursed to each council for payment of political office holders, councilors, and traditional rulers.

“We, therefore, stand by our earlier claim that the state government has been illegally tampering with local government funds and challenge the government to publish details of monthly revenue received from the Federation Account from June 2015 for the 31 local government areas of the state and records of disbursements to the councils,” the statement added.

But Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Iniobong Ememobong, refuted the claims that the state government was tampering with councils’ funds, saying Governor Udom was not a signatory to councils account.

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Ememobong, who said the NDLF might be working for the opposition, asked the group to approach the Federal Government for records of funds allocated to council areas in the state, adding: “The Federal Government was responsible for the publication of allocation to local government areas.

“The Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) can say whether the governor has been tampering with their allocations or not. However, Governor Udom is not a signatory to any local government account and therefore cannot tamper with their allocations.

“But it is amazing how a group can be spokespersons for such issues to the extent that they are sounding like echo chambers of some opposition chieftains.”

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