To bolster effective representation and even distribution of developmental dividends, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has okayed the motion for the creation of additional state constituencies.
The motion sponsored by Rt. Hon. Asuquo Nana Udo, Member Representing Ikono State Constituency, was raised during Tuesday, August 8 Plenary.
The motion titled “The Need to Create Additional State Constituencies in Akwa Ibom State”, and in accordance with Order 3, Rule 1 of the Standing Order of the house sought for urgent need for creation of new constituencies to promote political advancement in the state.
Presenting the motion, Udo pointed out that since the state’s inception over three decades ago, the creation of additional constituencies has become overdue and necessary to enhance the State’s progress and development.
Also, he explained that “That the creation of thirty-nine (39) new political wards across the three (3) Senatorial districts of the State by Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) has not only delimited our political wards but has also prepared us for national political expansion.”
Udo who hinted that Katsina State, which was created on the same day and year as Akwa Ibom, had 34 state constituency seats, stressed that the State Assembly should have a number of seats that reflect nearly equal population and representation.
Quoting Section 91 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), to support his stance, Hon. Udo noted that the constitutional provisions in Sections 112, 113, and 114 subsection 1 of the constitution, allows a State House of Assembly to have at least twenty-four (24) and not more than forty (40) members.
The motion garnered support from various assembly members, including Hon. Selina Ukpatu, Member Representing Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo and Rt. Hon. Otobong Bob, Member Representing Nsit Ubium State Constituencies.
The Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong, directed the Clerk to convey the Assembly’s resolution on the matter to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant government bodies.
Other motions Raised at the floor of the house.
A motion urging the ”State Government to Prioritize the Establishment and Modernization of Libraries, Laboratories and ICT Unit in Secondary Schools Within the State”, was sponsored by Hon. Engr. Ben Udobia, Member Representing Esit Eket/Eket State Constituency.
The motion sought for prioritization and equipping of secondary schools with modern educational facilities as well as training and knowledge upgrade for teachers.
Another motion calling for investigation into delayed construction of Nsit Atai-Oron road project was also received.
The motion titled ”Motion for Completion of Construction of Nsit Atai – Oron road” was sponsored by Rt. Hon. Effiong Johnson, Member Representing Mbo State Constituency.
Presenting the motion, Hon. Johnson explained that the road project, initially awarded about 17years ago has remained uncompleted and led to the closure of the traditional route to Oron through the Ituk Mbang, Ekpene Ukim, and Ndon Ebom road.
The lawmaker disclosed that the initial contract for the road was awarded by the administration of Godswill Akpabio in 2006.
He revealed that after a series of delays, the contract was revoked by former Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2021 and reassigned to a different construction company, with the intention of completing the 29km road project before the end of the current administration in 2023.
Hon. Johnson who expressed regret over the delay in the completion and deplorable state of the road, prayed the Speaker to mandate the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno to initiate investigation into the abandoned road and expedite action to ameliorate the plight of motorists plying the route.
Motion for Urgent Compensation for Victims of 2017 Cult Crisis and others Received Nod
Like other motions raised during the plenary, a motion on the ”Need to Rehabilitate and Compensate Victims of the 2017 Ukanafun, Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo Crisis”, was also received.
The motion sponsored by Hon. Elder Emem Udom, Member Representing Ukanafun State Constituency, was co-sponsored by Hon. Sampson idiong and Rt. Hon. Mfon Idung, Members Representing Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency.
Hon. Udom, the primary sponsor of the Motion, explained that the crisis instigated by Late Akaninyene Jumbo, known as ‘Iso akpafid’, has left grave repercussions including property damage, loss of lives, and disruption of livelihoods in the affected LGAs.
Udom who stressed that during the crisis, law and order nearly collapsed, and security forces such as the Army, Mobile Police Force, and DSS struggled to contain the situation, described the situation as a reign of terror that forced victims to abandon their homes and businesses for safety in neighboring towns.
The lawmaker, while expressing regret over the amnesty granted the perpetrators by government, noted that victims of the incident are yet to receive any compensation or succour from government to cushion the effect of the incident.
He however urged the State Government to establish a Reconciliation and Compensation Committee, mandate the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to distribute relief materials to the victims, as well as task the House Committee on Security to ensure compliance.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. (Elder) Udeme Otong, mandated the House Committee on Security, Youths, and Sports to collaborate with the Ministry of Internal Security in order to find a lasting resolution to the matter.
Meanwhile, motion on “Urgent Need to Address Gully Erosion in Eman Uruan, Uruan Local Government Area,” was raised by Hon. Dr. Itorobong Etim of Uruan State constituency.
Also, another motion titled “Immediate Action Required: Oil Spillage in Eastern Obolo,” was presented by Hon. Mrs. Selinah Ukpatu representing the Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo constituency.
The motion sought for the cleanup of oil producing communities affected by oil spillage in line with NOSDRA regulations and Environmental Guidelines and Standard for Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) 2018, Part 8-B, Section 4, irrespective of JIV outcomes.
Similarly, Hon. Uduakobong Ekpo-Ufot, Member Representing Etinan State Constituency also raised a motion for urgent intervention into the crisis in Ndoneyo community in Etinan LGA, which he said has claimed lives, property and displaced members of the community.
Two New Bills Passed First Reading
Two bills were brought to the floor by Hon. Prince Ukpong Akpabio, Member Representing Essien Udim State Constituency.
The bills passed first reading.
The bills, titled “HAB 302,” seek to enact a law for the development and oversight of fisheries in Akwa Ibom State, and other purposes.
Also, the second bill, designated as “HAB 303,” seeks for a law to establish the Akwa Ibom State Oil Palm Development Agency.
The bill was sponsored by Prince Akpabio and co-sponsored by nine other legislators.
The House of assembly adjourned the plenary to Thursday 10th August.