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Akwa Ibom govt offers five-day tax break to transport operators

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Gov Udom Tinubu Akwa Ibom

To gain the support of transport operators in the state ahead of Saturday’s election, the Akwa Ibom State Government has announced a temporary suspension of all levies and daily tickets to operators of tricycles and mini-buses in the state.

The suspension which takes effect from Monday would terminate on the eve of the governorship and House of Assembly election – Friday.

In a statement from the Commissioner for Transport in the state, Uno Uno, the state government said the gesture was to enable the operators to “breathe a sigh of relief” amidst the nationwide cash crunch.

“The general public, particularly operators of commercial tricycle and minibuses and the Compliance and Monitoring team are hereby notified of this development.

“In continued support for the State government, transporters are urged to use the 5 days of grace to prepare to take active part in the governorship and state assembly elections slated on 18 March.

“It is hoped that in response to the kind gesture of the State government, transporters will remain law-abiding and shun all forms of violence throughout the period of the elections,” Mr Uno said.

Commercial mini-bus and tricycle operators in the state pay N300 and N200 respectively as daily tickets to the state ministry of Transport.

Findings revealed that besides the N300 daily ticket, commercial minibus operators in the state also pay N4, 500 every six months or N9, 000 annually for renewal of “road worthiness” – an operational permit from the Ministry of Transport.

A minibus operator in the state who preferred to be anonymous said the operational permit number otherwise called “MOT” is boldly written on each minibus and tricycle without which such vehicle would be impounded by a taskforce.

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Politics

Eket Senatorial District Media Professionals Criticize Senator Akpabio’s Claims

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The Association of Eket Senatorial District Media Professionals in Akwa Ibom State has criticized Senator Godswill Akpabio for his claims that his successor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, did not undertake any projects for the people of Ikot Ekpene and Eket Senatorial districts.

Senator Akpabio, in a video that has been widely circulated, stated that Mr. Emmanuel, during his tenure as governor, did not leave any significant imprints in both Ikot Ekpene, Akpabio’s district, and Eket, Emmanuel’s district. This comment was made in response to Senator Ekong Sampson’s plea for the inclusion of Akwa Ibom in a bill to establish new federal medical centers in Nigeria. Akpabio asserted, “I gave you a governor (Udom Emmanuel) who for eight years did not do anything for the people of Ikot Ekpene and Eket Senatorial district, he did not leave any imprint.”

In a statement signed by Joseph Ekong, Director of Public and Strategic Communication, the media professionals described Akpabio’s remarks as “unguarded and illogical.” The group expressed shock that such comments were made in the legislative chambers.

The statement emphasized their reluctance to engage in public disputes with Senator Akpabio but warned that they could reveal documents about Akpabio’s tenure as governor that might not be flattering. The group underscored that Akpabio’s response to Senator Sampson’s constructive contribution was misplaced and unfounded.

They highlighted that during Akpabio’s tenure as governor, the Eket Senatorial District, which contributes 40% of revenue to the federation account, saw little infrastructure development beyond initial groundbreaking stages. The Uyo-Etinan-Eket Road, a significant access route, did not progress beyond groundbreaking during Akpabio’s administration.

While refraining from detailing Mr. Emmanuel’s achievements in Eket, the group focused on dispelling misinformation about Ikot Ekpene. They urged Senator Akpabio to use his position as Senate President to foster development rather than undermine his successors.

The group concluded by advising Senator Akpabio to adopt a more unifying approach, similar to other national leaders who have leveraged their positions to benefit their home states, instead of engaging in what they termed as “shadow-punching” against a non-responsive Mr. Emmanuel.

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Governor Umo Eno’s Bipartisan Gesture: ARISE Initiative Delivers New Home to Opposition Member

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In a display of bipartisan goodwill, Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State extended support to Ikwo Sunday Emmanuel, an opposition member from Eyoyekip village in Uruefong Oruko Local Government Area.

Emmanuel, considered a vocal critic of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), received a newly furnished home under the ARISE Compassionate Home Initiative, alongside a N500,000 business seed fund.

Representing the governor, Commissioner Koko Essien of Internal Security and Waterways presented the title documents for the home, emphasizing Governor Umo Eno’s commitment to benefiting all residents of the State, irrespective of political affiliation.

Madam Ikwo Emmanuel, known locally as Mma Inyang, expressed profound gratitude for the governor’s generosity, highlighting her years of hardship and political stance. She recounted her journey as an opposition member and acknowledged the significant impact of the new home on her life.

The event also witnessed a notable shift in political allegiance, with opposition members in the area defecting to the PDP in appreciation of Governor Umo Eno’s inclusive governance approach under the ARISE Agenda.

In related developments, Governor Umo Eno has mandated civil servants in Akwa Ibom State to engage in farming activities every first and third Friday, aimed at boosting food production and stabilizing market prices. During an inspection of local government initiatives, the governor applauded the agricultural efforts led by Otobong Aaron in Nsit Ibom, underscoring the importance of replicating such successes across all wards to achieve food sufficiency goals.

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Comrade Uduak Ekong Appointed Chief Press Secretary to Akwa Ibom First Lady

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has appointed Comrade Uduak Ekong, former Chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWoJ) in the state, as the Chief Press Secretary to the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Eno.

The appointment, effective from June 1, 2023, was announced via a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prince Enobong Uwah, dated June 20, 2024.

Ekong, who previously served at the Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) and chaired the AKBC TV Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, brings a wealth of experience to her new role.

A statement from the media unit of the governor’s wife expressed the governor’s approval of Ekong’s appointment, highlighting her extensive background in journalism and union leadership within AKBC and NUJ.

Ekong’s appointment underscores Governor Umo Eno’s commitment to strengthening communication and media relations within the state administration.

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