Aggrieved families of Ekpuk Nnung Ikot Udo, Ekpuk Abak and Nnung Obio Etit under the aegis of Ibiaku Ikot Akpa Ekong Community Association (ICA), Ibiaku Ishiet in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have expressed dissatisfaction in the disbursement of the N420million compensation cash paid to owners of large expanse of land acquired by the state government for a housing estate.
They alleged that the village head of Ibiaku Ishiet, Chief William Effiong Etim; his brother, Hon. Bassey Etim, a former House of Representatives member for Uyo Federal Constituency and other family members fraudulently disbursed the largest chunk of the compensation in favour of themselves.
In a petition to the state government through the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno, the community demanded for immediate halt to further disbursement of the cash and urged the state government to review the list of the 5, 625 beneficiaries alleged to be fraudulently doctored by the traditional ruler by the prompting of the former lawmaker.
According to them, it was unthinkable for one person’s name to appear more than 132 times under different guise, in a total list of 5,625 beneficiaries, adding that the petitioners have already approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take over the matter even as they appealed to government for redress.
The petition was signed by Chief Effiong Udo, Mr Inyang O. Injang and Mrs Iniobong Oton for Nung Iko-Udo family; Mr Emmanuel Okon,Mr Usen Okon Miss Arit Okon signed for the Abak family while Mr Effiong Idiong, Mr Eno Idiong and others signed for Ikot Obio Etit family, on behalf of the incorporated trustees of Ibiaku Ikot Akpa-ekong Community Association (ICA).
“We only received the list of the beneficiaries from Messrs Kufre Eshiet and Co, the Estate Valuer on Friday, the day of October, 2021, and to say the least, a study of the list only made our Independence Day, a very sour and depressing one, with a lot of dust in our mouths.
“We are at a complete lost as to how the immediate family of Chief William Etim, came to be entitled to nearly one half of the total land mass under consideration. Even a cursory look at the list will reveal the stark nakedness of the perverse and fraudulent claims of Chief William Effiong Etim, whose name appeared 106 times, and Hon Bassey Effiong Etim, whose name appears 132 times and Placid John Etim, 48 times.
“The most astonishing part of it is that these identified individuals and their Ekpuk (family) do not have any substantial land in the area for which compensation is paid.
“We are appealing to you as an anointed servant of God to use your good offices to stop the attempted heist by the aforementioned individuals and their mentors. In the interest of Justice, peace and harmony among the law abiding people and community of Ibiaku Ishiet, we appeal for the immediate stoppage of the disbursement while you review the evil list with a view to sanitizing it before payment can be recommenced,” the petition reads in part.
However, the former House of Representatives member, Mr Bassey Etim, who spoke to newsmen on the matter at the weekend, explained that “the money for compensation was not meant to be disbursed pro- rata, for the family who actually own land in the area under consideration”, adding that he has alerted his lawyer to sue the state government because he has not received a dime yet.
“When government send compensation, it does not just send money for people to go and share to everyone in the village. It is paid according to what you have on the land. I have a very large expanse of land which government has not paid me, that is why personally I have not collected a dime from the money.
“When you talk about family, lands belong to family. That is why if you look at the place, you will not see the name of my father because before he died, he shared his property to his children. You will not even see the name of my mother because whatever she had, she had shared with the children before her death.
“So, the issue of paying compensation to community families is completely nonsense. Land belongs to family and money was not sent to the village to be shared, people believe that compensation is to start sharing money to people. Go and find out. There is a schedule of payment, if a name appear 100 times, is it not based on the plot of land that the person has? Money was not sent to be shared pro-rata, it was sent to people who had property,” he explained.