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Akwa Ibom Jailed Lawyer: Falana, Others Sue Chief Justice Over Rights of Lawyer



femi falana sues akwa ibom cj

An originating summons has been submitted to the Federal High Court in Uyo, AKwa Ibom, by a group of attorneys led by human rights advocate Femi Falana (SAN) in an effort to uphold the fundamental human rights of Inihebe Effiong, a detained activist lawyer.

Justice Ekaette Obot, the chief judge of Akwa Ibom State, had sentenced Effiong to one month in prison for contempt of court on July 27, 2022.

A copy of the judgment rendered on July 27, 2022, is what the applicant is requesting in the lawsuit with the case number FHC/117/FHR/170/22, which was filed on August 15 along with an application for an accelerated hearing against Justice Obot, the only defendant.

Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), John Aikpokpo-Martins, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-SPIDEL), Dr. Monday Ubani, Olakunle Edun, and Funmi Falana are additional attorneys who are assisting the application.

Others include Taiwo Olawanle, Joseph Eleh, Nsikak Akai, Augustine Asuquo, S.M. Oyeghe, E.E. Phillips, and Femi Aborishade.

In his plea, Effiong asks the court to rule that he is entitled to a copy of the ruling from the defendant-presided Akwa lbom State High Court, which sentenced him to prison on July 27.

The applicant further asked the court to declare that the respondent’s refusal to provide him with a copy of the judgment since July 27 despite several requests is illegal and unjustifiable.

The relief was requested on three grounds, including, among others, the respondent’s denial of the applicant’s (applicant’s) right to a fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 of the Constitution and his (applicant’s) right to appeal the decision.

The secretary in Effiong’s chambers, Miss Aniema Akpan, submitted a five-paragraph affidavit in which she testified that the respondent had violated the applicant’s fundamental right to a fair trial by refusing to give him a copy of the judgment 14 days after his conviction despite his request for one on July 29.

The affidavit stated that the respondent found the applicant guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to one year in prison while the applicant was representing Leo Ekpenyong in a libel case brought by Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom in suit number HU/279/2019.

The application hearing date has not been set.



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Grassroots Women Applaud Governor Umo Eno for Empowering Women in Local Governance




The Mkpat Enin Grassroots Women have expressed their gratitude to Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State for his commitment to empowering women by providing them opportunities to serve at the local government level.

The commendation was given by Rose Ekanem, the group’s coordinator, who praised the governor for appointing Mercy Bassey as the Transition Committee Chairman of Mkpat Enin Local Government Council.

Ekanem highlighted Mercy Bassey’s leadership skills, social network, and capacity-building efforts, noting that these qualities have proven her competence in grassroots governance. She urged Governor Eno to continue supporting Bassey, endorsing her as the most capable candidate for the Council Chairman position under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The group believes that Bassey is well-positioned to further her vision of sustainable development and food security in the region.

The Mkpat Enin Grassroots Women also called on the local community to support and vote for Mercy Bassey in the upcoming election. During a meeting, the group’s president referenced an African proverb to emphasize Bassey’s long-term positive impact on Mkpat Enin, describing her as a leader who has significantly improved the lives of the people.

Under Bassey’s leadership, numerous initiatives have been undertaken to transform the Council Secretariat. She has reconstructed dilapidated facilities, provided essential amenities, and intervened in abandoned state government road projects, rehabilitating them to improve transportation and safety. Her inclusive leadership has brought transparency, peace, and development to Mkpat Enin.

Some of Bassey’s notable achievements include:
– Grading roads connecting multiple villages to enhance rural living conditions.
– Cultivating a variety of food crops on council land to boost local food security.
– Building a Traditional Ruler Council House at the Secretariat.
– Rehabilitating the cottage hospital at Odoro-ikot by replacing the roof, providing borehole water, toilets, lighting, and new hospital beds to promote health and save lives.

The Mkpat Enin Grassroots Women emphasized that Mercy Bassey’s efforts have not only addressed immediate infrastructure and health needs but also laid the foundation for long-term sustainable development in Mkpat Enin. They believe that her continued leadership will bring even more positive changes to the community.

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Governor Eno Credits Success to God, People’s Support in First Year




Akwa Ibom State Governor Umo Eno has attributed the successes of his first year in office to divine grace and the massive support of the Akwa Ibom people.

Speaking at the first anniversary celebration of his administration held at the Uyo Township Stadium, Governor Eno expressed gratitude to his predecessor Mr. Udom Emmanuel, his campaign team, and the electorate from various ethnic and socio-political backgrounds for their unwavering support.

He also praised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the Old National Anthem Bill into law, recognizing its reflection of the nation’s aspirations and its alignment with the Akwa Ibom State anthem. Additionally, he acknowledged the collaboration with the President of the 10th Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which he noted has contributed to reducing political tensions in the state.

Governor Eno highlighted several achievements in his first year, including advancements in rural development, education, housing, job creation, agriculture, human capacity development, and infrastructure. He emphasized that his administration has kept faith with its promises and outlined ambitious plans for the future, focusing on the five pillars of the ARISE agenda.

In agriculture, he mentioned the completion of the Ibom Model Farm and Resort in partnership with Songhai Farms of Porto Novo, which aims to increase food production and ensure price stability for staple foods. He also discussed linking existing infrastructure to a comprehensive value chain and consolidating current policies and programs.

Governor Eno announced the approval of a second round of one project per Local Government Area (LGA) and the construction of more strategic rural roads. He detailed several significant projects slated for the upcoming years, including the ARISE Shopping City in Uyo, a mall designed to attract global brands, and the commercialization of existing facilities in Lagos and Abuja.

He also mentioned plans for medium-density housing estates for professionals, the activation of the industrial park with multiple industries, and upgrading the Ibom Specialist Hospital with a new renal center.

Community-focused initiatives include building an elderly recreational center, an international market in Ikot Ekpene, and developing Oron Beach. In education, the administration plans to construct more model schools and implement a student exchange program to London, along with establishing an ICT center at Ibom-LED for exams and recruitment tests. The consolidation of the Dakkada Skills Acquisition Centre is also a priority.

Regarding aviation, Governor Eno reaffirmed the state’s commitment to its flagship airline, Ibom Air, announcing the arrival of a second A220-300 Airbus in July. He outlined plans to complete the Smart International Terminal Building, the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, and the Taxiway to build a comprehensive aviation ecosystem in Akwa Ibom.

Prominent stakeholders from various sectors, including former Military Administrator Yakubu Bako, Senators Ekong Sampson, Effiong Bob, and Emmanuel Ibok Essien, traditional leaders, local government representatives, the legislative arm, the judiciary, and the PDP, expressed their satisfaction with Governor Eno’s leadership and accomplishments. The event featured cultural displays and musical presentations, and several individuals and supporters were honored as ARISE Ambassadors for their significant contributions to the state.

Governor Eno’s first-year anniversary celebration highlighted both the achievements and the ambitious plans set to transform Akwa Ibom State in the years to come, reinforcing his commitment to the ARISE agenda and the continued development of the state.

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Umo Eno: The New Face of Nigerian Politics




By Michael Effiong

Nigeria’s political landscape is witnessing a significant shift. Indeed, there is something unique and exceptional happening in Akwa Ibom State, and it is time for the entire nation to rise, applaud, and emulate Governor Umo Bassey Eno.


In just barely one year in office, Governor Eno is carving a niche for himself with his leadership and governance stye, which are rooted in the values of unity, empathy, humility, integrity, and prudence. Many now refer to him as the new face of Nigerian politics.


For those following Governor Eno’s activities, this moniker is not mere flattery. In words and actions, he has demonstrated traits that are rare in our political space. Even those traits hitherto exhibited by others, he is taking these traits to a new level. He is the true epitome of politics without bitterness.


Many politicians claim to operate an open-door policy and make decisions without political bias, but their actions often tell a different story. In his inauguration speech, Governor Eno stated, “Elections are over, and our kindred spirit must be renewed and deepened. We are all Akwa Ibomites first before politics. Politics must not separate or sever the ties of our brotherhood, common heritage, and aspirations. I pledge to be Governor for all, irrespective of political persuasions.”


Governor Eno understood from the start that no party has a monopoly of knowledge and that reducing the political temperature in the state would help him succeed. A toxic atmosphere stunts growth, no matter how good or intelligent a person is.


As a “Talk and Do” leader, he has extended his hand of friendship across party lines more than any other contemporary Nigerian politician. This is exemplified by his decision to fly to Abuja to congratulate former governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio just hours after he was elected as President of the Nigerian Senate.


This action drew mixed reactions in the state. Some political leaders in Umo Eno’s PDP were unhappy, feeling the move was uncharitable to his supporters after a bitter and divisive election season. However, as a thoughtful, earnest, decent, dignified, farsighted, and focused leader, Governor Eno knew that, as a pastor, there is no substitute for Unity and Faith. Even the Nigerian coat of arms shows that what usually follows are Peace and Progress.


This move has become his guiding principle, he has embraced All Progressives Congress (APC) members who received federal appointments and opened his heart to leaders from other parties. It is no wonder Nigeria’s Minister of State, Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt Hon. Victor Ekperikpe Ekpo described him as a blessing and vessel of peace. According to the Minister, “As a Pastor, you have not disappointed the pulpit; as a politician, you have not disappointed us. As Governor, you’re the champion of unity in Akwa Ibom State. You are a unifier.”


Despite rumours that this open-arms and fatherly gesture may precede a crossover to APC, Governor Eno affirms that his rapprochement with APC political appointees and working closely with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu makes good business sense, as it would yield fruits and democratic dividends for the state and its people. Collaboration and cooperation trump confrontation any day for the astute entrepreneur.


The dividends of this relative peace are now evident as he is making giant strides in agri-business, rural development, infrastructural renewal, education and more, without traducing his predecessors. In rural development and road construction, the governor has continued projects started by the last administration and initiated his own in all 31 local government areas.


Statistics show that over 280 kilometers of road are ongoing, with some completed and commissioned before his first anniversary. Because of the quantum of projects, some now call him “Mr. Projects Pro Max.”


A few of the road projects brought to fore his responsive and empathetic leadership style. Take for example the 1.3 kilometers underground concrete flood control and reconstruction of a section of Atiku Abubakar Way, Uyo, complete with walkway, drainage, and solar street lights. After receiving a tip about the road’s flood-ravaged state from a concerned citizen, he verified it personally and awarded a contract for its immediate reconstruction to prevent a recurrence by the next rainy season. The road has since been completed and was commissioned by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.


Governor Eno’s empathy shines through his actions. Moved by the inflation biting the land, he established the Akwa Ibom Bulk Purchase Agency through which a Food Voucher scheme was launched. Beneficiaries selected from the updated National Social Register now receive 5kg bags of rice, beans, and garri. Emphasizing that the food voucher programme is a stopgap, he has begun an aggressive “Back to Farm” programme, where the state is supporting farmers and requiring political leaders to engage in agri-business.


To show his seriousness, he is setting up his own farm too while declaring every first and third Friday of the month as work-free days to enable civil servants embrace farming. Of course, one cannot forget his partnership with Songhai Farms. A Model Farm is already sprouting in Nsit Ubium LGA.


Governor Eno consistently states that his mantra is building from the bottom up and touching the poorest of the poor.


Another evidence of this is the ARISE Shelter Initiative, fondly called ARISE Homes. In the first phase, 100 poor people across the 31 LGAs will be gifted brand-new 2-bedroom houses.


His model Primary Health Centre projects are a lullaby to rural dwellers. These centres have consulting rooms, a theatre, doctors, nurses, matrons and quarters, a laboratory, ICT and records unit, a modern kitchen, solar-powered electricity, a standby generator, and 214 medical equipment and consumables. To ensure proper staffing, 200 more health workers are to be recruited.


Furthermore, he initiated medical outreach programmes in the three senatorial districts which reached thousands, with hundreds of surgeries and treatments performed on-the-spot.


Ensuring peace is also the motivation for building goodwill with organized labour, apart from many perks for workers, he has released over N18billion for gratuities, leave grants and pensions.


People living with disabilities have not been left out, with a N100 million facility for students and grants of N250,000 per undergraduate and N300,000 for postgraduate students.


Understanding his own grass-to-grace story, Governor Eno genuinely cares about helping people earn a decent living. This mindset led to the establishment of the Ibom Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Centre. Through its Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme (EAP), the government has trained 800 budding entrepreneurs and given them N400 million in grants. His plan is to train 5,000 entrepreneurs before the end of his tenure, with N2.5 billion in grants. The economic effects of this will no doubt be massive.


In addition, he has completed the state-of-the-art Dakkada Skills Acquisition Centers (DASAC), reputed to be the first-of-its-kind in Nigeria.This facility which now has a governing council will train people in various skills in agri-business, woodwork, plumbing, ICT, Tailoring etc.


Governor Eno wants to equip youths with resources to make their own money and employ others, rather than wait for handouts.


In just one year, Akwa Ibom is really rising. As a matter of fact, Governor Umo Eno has shown competence, capacity, and character. He has pursued his economic blueprint, the ARISE Agenda, with such gusto without borrowing a single kobo. So, describing him as the new face of Nigerian politics is not enough, we should also call him “Mr. Performer.”


Effiong, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Eno writes from Lagos

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