…says he’s overbearing and autonomous
Elders of Eket Local Government area in Akwa Ibom State have reacted to a publication in some news outfits alleging them to have stalled the progress of work at the ongoing Eket remodeling project.
The said publication, it was gathered, has it that the State Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang, accused the people of the area of impeding the progress of work in the area.
Reacting to the allegation, a former Member of the National Assembly, and ex-Minister of Lands and Housing, Rt. Hon. Chief Nduese Essien, described the statement credited to the Works Commissioner as nothing but cheap blackmail, lacking in substance, and advised him to desist from peddling falsehood against elders and the people of Eket.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, May 7, at his Shelter Afrique residence, the former parliamentarian and Leader, Eket Senatorial district Elders Forum, advised the Commissioner to be mindful of his utterance and stop embarrassing the Governor by his utterances and conduct.
“Eket people are very unhappy with that interview, particularly coming after some well-meaning Eket people intervened when the social media was recently awash with story about him on the same matter. No Ekid son would out to castigate Eket son’s and elders the way Ephraim Inyang has done. Ephraim Inyang will go down in history as the most arrogant, most insolent and most exploitative Commissioner that has served in the state cabinet”
“He says that Eket people are the most difficult people to deal with. That is not true. Eket people are not difficult to deal with, and that they don’t want development”.
“I wonder how people who have witnessed considerable level of development since 1979 up to 1999 would be said to be anti-development. The problem we’ve had on the dualization of Atabong road hinges on the Commissioner’s attitude to work. He behaves as if government is run from the head of one person, which is not the case. The functions of government is a joint responsibility. It is shared between ministries, agencies and departments of government. No single individual is authorized to perform all those functions, and again there are laws and regulations that binds the running of public office; Ephraim does not respect rules and regulations binding the operation of government business.
He is overbearing on everybody including his colleagues in the exco. Before you demolish someone’s house, the law says you should give the person 90 days’ notice, but in his own case he demolishes and tells you to come to his office for payment. Since 2015 up till today not up to 80% of work has been completed”.
Chief Ndueso Essien who faulted the modalities employed by the Works Commissioner in the payment of compensation to property owners whose property situates on the right of way of the ongoing remodelling of the oil city, explains that the refusal by Eket people (owners of property) to move out of their houses when they had not received compensation for their property was the reason they have been tagged by the Commissioner as a difficult people who are against development.
“The Commissioner for Works is the one who counts the properties. He determines the value of the properties, he does the payment to the exclusion of the Ministry of Lands that is responsible for those functions. You may have heard that a number of his colleagues complain bitterly about the way he is running an overbearing administration”.
“The problem that has arisen from Eket dualization of Atabong road is because the Commissioner for Works determines single-handedly with his estate valuer the value for each property without getting the property owners involved”.
“Property owners are supposed to have their own valuer along with the government valuer, then they would come into agreement on what should be the acceptable amount of money that should be paid to a property owner before demolition commences. I am speaking as someone who was a Minister in the Federal Ministry of Lands, and apart from being a Minister this has been the practice from colonial days. This is not the first time that roads are being constructed in Nigeria” he said.