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CHRAN Calls On AKHA To Probe AKROIMA, Says Agency Has Failed

A civil society group in Nigeria, the Centre for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), has called on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to probe the activities of the Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA), as the agency has failed to deliver on its responsibilities to the people of the state.

The call was contained in a presentation made by CHRAN’s Director, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, during a public hearing held by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly at the Assembly Complex in Uyo on “A Bill for a Law to Establish the Akwa Ibom State Infrastructure and Assets Management and Maintenance Agency, and for other matters connected therewith” on Friday, February 23, 2023.

The CHRAN observed that Section 4 of the said Executive Bill, which deals with Health, Safety, and Environment Policy, was in conflict with the purpose and objectives of another bill before the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly titled “A Bill for a Law to Establish the Akwa Ibom State Safety Commission and for Connected Matters,”  which has passed through First Reading.

In the face of the conflict between the two bills, CHRAN urged the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to reconsider the two bills to address the anomaly and enable both bills to operate without conflict.

The CHRAN also observed that the agency sought to be established by the bill is similar to, and shares commonality with, the Akwa Ibom State Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA).

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The CHRAN noted that AKROIMA appears to have failed, with the result that State roads are riddled with potholes while the AKROIMA operational site in Ibiaku Ishiet, Uruan Local Government Area, is overgrown with weeds and filled with abandoned and vandalised heavy equipment, including tractors, caterpillars, trailers, tippers, etc.

The CHRAN feared that the agency proposed in the Executive Bill, the subject matter of the public hearing, duplicates and conflicts with AKROIMA.

The CHRAN was of the strong view that AKROIMA has failed in its functions and urged the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to direct a probe into the activities of AKROIMA.

The CHRAN believed that the bill should not be used as a gloss to cover the failure of AKROIMA.

The CHRAN urged the government to take note of existing agencies, bills, and laws before introducing new ones to avoid unnecessary duplication, conflicts, and rivalry amongst government agencies.

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The CHRAN observed the dearth and decay of infrastructure in various key agencies of the government of Akwa Ibom State, like the Akwa Ibom State Fire Service, and urged urgent attention by the government.

The CHRAN appreciated the Speaker and Members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for inviting it to the public hearing, believing that its submission would be incorporated into the final legislation.

The public hearing, which was chaired by the member representing Mkpat Enin State Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Special Projects, Monitoring, & Implementation, Hon. Uwem Peter Imo-Ita, had in attendance the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong, represented by the member representing Ika/Etim Ekpo State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Mfon Idung.

The event also had in attendance the Clerk of the House, Mrs. Nsikak-Abasi Orok, and other members of the House, including Rt. Hon. Otobong Bob; Rt. Hon. Asuquo Nana Udo; Hon. Moses Essien; Hon. Bassey Bassey; Hon. Itoro Etim; Hon. Selinah Ukpatu; Hon. Uduak Ekpo-Ufot; Hon. Eric Akpan; Hon. Udobia Udo, and Hon. Aniefiok Attah.

Other participants were: the representative of the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; the Political Adviser to the Governor and Chairman of Akwa Ibom Roads and Other Infrastructure Maintenance Agency (AKROIMA), Prince Godwin Ntukude; the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); and the representative of the Nigerian Bar Association, amongst others.

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