Hoodlums Take Over as LG Chairmen Abandon Security Villages Over Zero Allocation

Hoodlums Take Over as LG Chairmen Abandon Security Villages Over Zero Allocation
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Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo

Security complexes constructed across the 31 Local Government Areas by the administration of former governor Godswill Akpabio, have become dens for armed robbers, cultists and kidnappers, checks by our Correspondent revealed.

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The multi billion naira facilities, it was learnt, was designed to compel the Local Governments’ administrators to live closer to the rural dwellers for effective grassroots administration, but the housing scheme has become abode for criminals as the Chairmen have abandoned them due to excruciating cash crunch occasioned by the alleged refusal of governor Udom Emmanuel, to heed the Federal Government’s directive on direct allocation to the Councils.

“The security villages built by the Akwa Ibom government as residential quarters for top security personnel and senior officials of the 31 Local Government Councils in the state, was to compliment the “Housings for All” policy of former Governor Godswill Akpabio administration in the state, under the Local Government Administration Law in his first term”, Chief Aniekan Udousung, a community leader in Eket recalled.

“The estates are made up of several detached bungalows with sporting and recreational  facilities meant to accommodate the Council Chairmen, Secretaries, Heads of Personnel and Heads of the different security agencies in each of the council headquarters”, he added.

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But several years after, it appears the essence for which it was established to service the councils’ been defeated; as the Local Government Chairmen are currently administering their Councils from Uyo, the state capital, except during essential events.

“The rationale was to reduce rural – urban drift and also making the Council Chairmen live in their headquarters, to avail themselves of the challenges as well as meeting the needs of the people”, a senior official of the Association of Local Government Employees (NULGE), who would not wants his name mentioned told our Correspondent.

Investigation revealed that while that of Uyo have been converted into an orphanage; that of Eket had been allocated  to the Army for accommodation. 

That of Ikot Ekpene remains fallow with no Council officials living in them, while others located in rural parts of the  state have become inaccessible because of their remote location, making it unattractive to the senior Council officials thereby becoming a hideout for criminals.

It was gathered that more than 99 percent of senior Council officials live in the state capital, with a few of them outside Uyo living in their personal houses around the Council headquarters.

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‘This situation has resulted in high level of absenteeism among the council workers, as  many are not always available in their offices due to distance between the state capital and places of work’, notes Sir Moses Offiong, a retired civil servant in Oku Iboku, Itu Local Government Area.

However, some concerned stakeholders have frowned at this state of affairs as the absence of key Council officials have impacted negatively on service delivery and worsens the already low morale and productivity of the workers.
“The abandonment meant that millions of Naira spent  in building the estates have been wasted except for few of them that have been put into other usages”, Comrade Usanga Bob, a social affairs analysts observes.

Although some Chairmen claim they lived in the facility, their claims could not be ascertained as most of the Chairmen, it was learnt, live in their private houses and hotels in Uyo and administered their Councils from there.

Hon. Aniekpon Ekpo and Chairman, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area said, “I am living in the security estate in my Local Government, and this has afforded me opportunity to acquaint myself with the challenges of the area and my people,I implore others to do so to reduce the rural-urban drift”.

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The Chairman, Ini Local Government Area, Mr Israel Idaisin disclosed that, the 100 units estate in his domain have been leased to private school operators, as Polytechnic in order to ward-off criminal elements, who may have wished to occupy the facility and use it for unwholesome activities.

Meanwhile, Chairman, House of Assembly Committee in-charge of Local Government, Hon. Mark Esset recalled that the 6th Assembly had passed a resolution, mandating Local Government Council chiefs and other key officers to relocate to the security villages to be closer to the people.

While regretting that, Council Chairmen have refused to abide by the resolution, Esset however disclosed there was plan by his Committee to embark on a quarterly visit to councils to ascertain performance and state of security villages across the state with a view to ascertaining the defaulters..

Aljazirahnews


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