By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
THE traditional rulers of Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Ikot-Ekpene and Ikono local government areas of Akwa Ibom state, have appealed to the federal government commence payment of compensation to property owners on Calabar-Itu Highway.
The Royal fathers who made the appeal after an advocacy visit to the State Director, of Centre for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN) Otuekong
Franklin Isong said shifting the payment of compensation to Akwa Ibom and Cross River States was not in the best interest of the people.
Speaking on behalf of others, the Paramount Ruler of Itu, Edidem Edet Akpaninyan maintained that it was unlawful not to compensate property owners on a government project.
He lamented that work on the federal road has stalled because of non payment of compensation, adding that delay in the project has increased the number accidents with it’s attendant casualties on the road.
His words: “We commend the Federal Government for reawarding the road, and our son Senator Ita Enang for facilitating the reaward of the contract. But the road is now a deathtrap because its present condition has caused several accidents.
“It seems the FG has abandoned the road.
So what we are saying is that controversy over payment of compensation is stalling work on the project.
“We want the Federal Government to pay the compensation and not the state government so that the road project will progress because that road is of great economic importance to us.
“It is regrettable that there was no provision for compensation on the Calabar Itu highway. Other roads in other parts of the country also attracted compensation. Our own should not be different”.
The royal father, however, berated former Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang for unilaterally
appointing Community Laison Officers (CLOs) stressing, “We want our right to be given to us to nominate Community Liason Officers. It is unlawful for any other person to do so for us.”
The state Director of CHRAN, Franklyn Isong commended the traditional rulers’ for their commitment towards issues regarding the development of their respective communities, and for their peaceful disposition in resolving the challenges confronting the controversial Calabar-Itu Highway project.
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