Lagos-based Human Rights Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong has tackled the Akwa Ibom State Governmant over the gruesome murder of a job-seeking Philosophy graduate of the University of Uyo, Late Miss Iniubong Umoren.
Inibehe Effiong, during a Press Conference he addressed in Uyo on Friday, condemned the killing as “felonious, beastly and horrific”.
He pointed out that the right to life was fundamental as guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution, the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Regretting that the Late Iniubong Umoren was “just one of the desperate job seekers in Akwa Ibom State”, Barr Effiong blamed the Udom Emmanuel administration for “aiding criminal activities through misplaced priorities”.
He said Akwa Ibom was one of the top five richest states in the country, having earned at least one trillion, five hundred and eighty-five billion, eight hundred and fourteen million, five hundred and four thousand six hundred and fourty-nine naira (N1, 585, 814, 504, 649) between 2015 and 2020.
Effiong wondered why a hugely blessed state like Akwa Ibom could rank second in unemployment rating, while also being plagued as the fourth most indebted state in the country with $47.926 million external debt and N230.807 billion domestic debt.
He described as “a tragedy of monumental proportion” for the state to have “a ‘seasoned banker’ as its Chief Executive who has become a curse, instead of a blessing to the people.”
“As of December 31, 2020, the External Debt of Akwa Ibom State rose to $47.926 million, while the Domestic Debt stood at N230.807 billion. This placed Akwa Ibom State as the fourth most indebted state in Nigeria”, he said.
Accusing the governor of habitually “wasting state resources on frivolities, instead of creating jobs”, Inibehe Effiong reiterated that such was “a painful harvest of misplaced priorities.”
He questioned why Udom’s administration should budget N64.828 billion naira for its running cost in the 2021 approved budget, while only N14. 557 billion was budgeted for the Social Sector, including health, education, youth/sports, among others.
The Human Rights Lawyer cited the needless building of New Governor’s Lodge in Lagos with N2 billion, and the spending of N11.750 billion on “criminal building of Ecumenical Centre, also known as the State Worship Centre.”
His words, “The amount used in building that lodge in Lagos could have generated employment opportunities for many young persons like Iniubong.
“Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution expressly forbids the Government of the Federation or of the state from adopting any religion. Akwa Ibom State is not a theocracy. It is not the business of a governor to prepare citizens for Heaven.
“If N11.750 billion is deployed as interest free loans or as business grants to the teaming youths of the state at N1 million per person, at least, 11 thousand people would have been employed.
“How can a project founded on lies, rooted in deceit and conceived by a sinful mind be a sanctuary for God and a place of worship?
“Sadly, the governor’s own Christian denomination where he was consecrated as a Deacon has been violently factionalized without any solution in sight. If he is truly embarking on evangelism, the governor should start be uniting his own Church which is now factionalized and fragmented into two entities.”
Barr Effiong frowned at the waste of N22.5 million in just 2019, for “a political gimmick and fake spiritual adventure of monthly youth summit/prayers”, and yearly spending of N2.5 billion on routine maintenance of the governor’s private aircraft.
He wondered why the same government could not pay workers of the Akwa Ibom State University who were currently on strike.
He further queried, “Governor Udom Emmanuel refused to assent to the Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund Bill which was passed by the State Assembly to create opportunities for economic empowerment of the unemployed youths.
“It is a ploy orchestrated by the state government to perpetually keep young people as political slaves and use them as thugs during elections.”
The lawyer demanded the state government to immediately retrace it’s steps if kidnap, rape, murder and other violent crimes must be arrested.
He called on the state government to ensure scrupulous investigation into the murder of Iniubong Umoren and diligent prosecution of culprit(s); naming of a public building or institution after the slain victim; and immediate creation of domestic and sexual violence task force.
Effiong demanded accelerated passage of the Bill for a law to establish Office of the Public Defender currently pending before the state assembly; creation of policies for reduction of unemployment in the state; immediate stoppage of Akwa Ibom Worship Centre; and the selling or leasing of the Akwa Ibom Governor’s Lodge in Lagos.
He maintained that Governor Emmanuel must advertise and sell the state’s private jet; slash allowances of political office holders by 50 percent; pay workers’ salaries across board, with special interest on staffers of Akwa Ibom State University; forfeit 70 percent of his security votes and use all proceeds to invest in agriculture; and then create jobs for the teaming unemployed citizens in the state.