Cross River Community of Ikot Effanga Mkpa in Calabar Municipality of the state has accused the Federal and State governments’ agencies of neglect and land grabbing.
Coming under the umbrella of Ikot Effanga Mkpa Town Council, the Ikot Effanga Mkpa people who are host community to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Cross River Basin Development Authority, Federal Character Commission (FCC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Cross River State Dump Site and others, are not happy with the way they are being treated by these government agencies, and have threatened to take necessary action to correct these abnormally.
Leader of the Ikot Effanga Mkpa Town Council, Chief Effanga Ineng Effanga, who led a five member team, alleged that the Ministry of Niger Delta Air lines and NDDC have marginalized the indigenous people of Ikot Effanga Mkpa in the just concluded employment carried out by the agency even when they were promised that 10 slots would be given to them but not even one was allotted to them as host community.
The aggrieved people who threatened to stop the commissioning of the Ministry’s Secretariat accused the Ministry of “non observant of the local content principle in terms of employment, non implementation of promises made in spite of the fact that they have their Secretariat in Ikot Effanga Mkpa town council”.
They also accused the Basin Development Authority for a similar act of “negligence and insensitivity” when they carried out employment but failed to employ somebody from the host community, even when the Town Council approached them.
“We are host to many of these Federal and State governments’ agencies yet we have nothing to show for being a good and receptive host” , Effanga lamented.
Top officials of the agencies could not reached despite efforts and in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the state, a Director who simply gave his name as Mr Okorie declined to comment on the issue stating that by his status as a civil servant he cannot talk or grant press interview.
On the issue of Cross River State Dump Site in Ikot Effanga Mkpa managed by the Calabar City Urban Development Authority (CUDA), the Ikot Effanga Mkpa people said that the dump site has become a major source of ill health to the people living there considering the unhealthy ways and means of dumping refuse in the area causing untold health hazard to the people.
Chief Effanga stated that “the State Ministry of Environment had promised to recycle and create wealth from the dump site but up till now nothing has happened and the dump site has become a major source of ill health to our people” .
They accused the state government of land grabbing in their community alluding to the fact that parcels E1 and E2 in Ikot Effanga Mkpa was seized by the state government without payment of compensation to the town council of Ikot Effanga Mkpa.
They stated that the State House of Assembly under the government of Governor Donald Duke, the then House of Assembly had advised the state government to sit down the host community and work out modalities, but the government has unilaterally to covert the land for it use without any compensation.
Erosion menace is another big head ache in the area especially the area between NTA and Basin authority/ technical school and in all these, the Ikot Effanga Mkpa people called on the Federal and State governments and their agencies to intervene in the interest of peace, development and humanity.
Commenting on some of the issues, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita said, when that dump site was created development did not extend to that point but given the situation now, “alternative places are being considered for the relocation of that dump site.
“Government is also considering the fact that the waste there can be turned into bio-fuel and I know that the government has gone there with a couple of investors to look at that dump site, so there is a possibility that something could be done there to turn it into bio-fuel” .
On land grabbing, he denied any by government but insisted that “government has the power to appropriate land for overriding public interest even though land there was acquired by previous government and I would be surprised if that government did not pay compensation and let us also not forget the fact that some of these land belong to government”.