Akwa Ibom State Government and a former aide to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, have clashed on the issue of compensation for Calabar-Itu federal road.
The government accused Enang of brainwashing some stakeholders in Itu at the weekend by telling them it was the responsibility of the state to pay compensation for the Calabar-Itu road.
Addressing a press conference, yesterday, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Research and Documentation, Mr. Essien Ndueso, said by such comments, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain was inciting the people against Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Essien said it was preposterous for Enang to ask the state to pay compensation for a road constructed by Federal Government. He said: “How can Ita Enang not know that the same Federal Government is constructing roads and railways worth hundreds of billions of naira in the north and even into neighbouring countries, and none of the benefitting states have been made to pay any compensation?
“In the first place, who even undertook negotiation for the compensation that Ita Enang wants Akwa Ibom State Government to make the payments? Who appointed property valuers to evaluate the cost of the properties in the right of way? This is a contract that is expectedly to be funded with petroleum profit tax. And in the first place, Akwa Ibom State is losing revenue from that. Yet, Ita Enang wants the state government to pay compensation for the road to be constructed.
“Where does he want the state government to pluck the extra money to pay compensation for Federal overnment?”
But Enang, in response, denied asking the state government to pay compensation for the road, saying his statement on the road was deliberately misconstrued.
He said: “I raised no issue against the state government at all, and I am very surprised at the statement in purported reaction.
“I only informed and pleaded with the communities along the road corridor to allow the construction go on as compensation was not released and given to the contractor as it was not part of the Bill for them.
“The video is there and it was in the presence of state government functionaries. I was conscious of their sensitivity and was cautious in presentation as the purpose was to appeal to the communities, and not to inflame passion nor incite.”