Akwa Ibom Conscience, a nonpartisan association devoted to the advancement of good governance, has said it would undertake a peaceful protest in Lagos and Akwa Ibom States on Thursday and Friday to express displeasure over the plan of Akwa Ibom government to build another Governor’s lodge in Lagos.
The plan was announced in a press statement signed by the convener of the association, Inibehe Effiong.
In it, the group drew attention to the controversy around the exact amount the state government approved for the project, arguing that regardless of the cost of the new lodge, it is unacceptable, as the state already has two similar facilities in Lagos.
“The House of Assembly approved N9.1 billion for it but the Commissioner for Information claimed that the cost is N2 billion. Whatever the cost of the proposed new lodge or the arguments for same, Akwa Ibom people have rejected it. Akwa Ibom already has two facilities in Lagos State: a liaison office and a lodge. It also has same facilities/properties in Abuja,” the statement read.
Akwa Ibom Conscience noted that Governor Udom Emmanuel initially denied the existence of the new project in an address to the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) in Uyo but recanted his denial the following day, when he claimed the project would cost a "paltry" N1.2 billion and dismissed his critics as "myopic".
The association lamented that scarce resources are being expended on the maintenance of the existing facilities yearly, and demanded that the proposed project be expunged from the main and supplementary budgets, and the funds channeled to productive sectors that will generate jobs for unemployed youths.
On the upcoming public protests, the group said the Lagos event will hold on August 10, starting by 8a.m. at the Akwa Ibom State Liaison Office in Lagos at Ajose Adeogun Street on Victoria Island. Access is through the Eko Hotel roundabout, before the Zenith Bank Headquarters.
The Uyo protest will hold the following day, August 11, beginning at 10 a.m. According to the group, that event “will take-off from Ibom Plaza to the Government House at Willington Bassey Way in Uyo, and from there to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.”
It said they hope to address the Governor and the Speaker of the House, respectively. Intending protesters are advised to wear a black or blue jeans trouser/skirt with a black T-shirt or white T-shirt.