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GOV UMO ENO’S AIDE CALLS FOR UNITY, COLLABORATION AMONG INDIGENES IN LAGOS

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An appeal has been made to Akwa Ibom State indigenes in Lagos to embrace, unity, work closer with government and collaborate with one another especially in these trying times.

 

The call was made by Michael Effiong James, Senior Special Assistant (Lagos Liaison) to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno during an interactive session with presidents of Local Government Area Communities at the Liaison Office in Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

The senior aide noted in his address that he decided to call the meeting to farmiliarise himself with the LG Presidents and exchange ideas on matters of mutual interest to them and their members.

 

In his words “ I am delighted to welcome you to what I can call your Embassy in Lagos. This meeting is very timely because we needed to know each other, seek more support for the Pastor Umo Eno administration and map out strategies that well help the welfare and wellbeing of our people here in Lagos and environs”

 

While noting that positive action and goal-oriented attitude would greatly improve the community, he added that the plethora of challenges faced today can be tackled through team work.

 

He informed them that he was unhappy with the atmosphere of disunity among indigenes especially in their associations and urged that it was time to bury the hatchet and work together towards making giant strides.

 

Mr James stated that collaboration instead of fierce competition was the way to go for Akwa Ibom indigenes to climb higher in the economic ladder of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre

 

While urging them to be law-abiding citizens in Lagos, he noted that those of them who desire to embrace agriculture or engage in any form of business can consider investing back home as the Umo Eno government is business-friendly.

 

He stated that in the last eight months Governor Uno Eno has done a lot to deliver good governance to his people.

 

According to him, the government has paid over N12 billion as pension and gratuities to retirees, spent N3billion as well as FG’s N2billion loan on various palliatives measures, began a bursary scheme for Akwa Ibom indigenes in public higher institutions, built model primary schools and health centres, spent over N10billion on inherited projects, flagged off 49 development projects across all the 31 LGAs and making good on his campaign promise of rural development with extensive road projects scattered across the state.

 

In addition to calling for the people to return to farming, the SSA stated that Governor Umo Eno has recently submitted an executive bill to the house to set up a bulk purchase agency to urgently stem the tide of high cost of food items.

 

He pleaded with the people to have some patience as the government’s robust economic and social plans are taking shape and there are good times ahead.

 

He also used the opportunity to reveal some new developments in the liaison office including the data collection project, which he said is aimed at seamless communication and interaction between the office and the indigenes.

 

Earlier in his remarks, Coordinator of Presidents of Akwa Ibom Communities, Elder Maurice Isaac was full of thanks to the Senior Special Assistant for initiating the meeting and seeking to find areas of collaboration with indigenes living in Lagos.

 

Noting that this is the first time the body will be invited for such a meeting, he stated that he would mobilize his people to ensure that the symbiotic relationship established bears fruits.

Also speaking, Dr. Edet Ambang, President of Akwa Ibom Communities (AKISCOM) Lagos, who attended the meeting in his capacity as President, Oron Union noted that the initiative was noble and affirmed that he was certain that their members will give full support to Governor Eno and his administration.

 

The highpoint of the meeting was the demonstration of the data collection project by Mr. Uko Edet after which Mrs Eme Bassey, Special Assistant (Lagos) delivered a vote of thanks where she sought continuous engagement between the indigenes and the Liaison Office.

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Crime

Akwa Ibom NMA Chairman and Vice Chairman Impeached Amid Allegations of Misconduct

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In a dramatic turn of events, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Akwa Ibom State chapter has impeached its Chairman, Prof. Emem Abraham, and Vice Chairman, Dr. Aniekan Utuk, following allegations of gross misconduct, high-handedness, and misappropriation of funds.

The impeachment took place during an Ordinary General Congress held on Wednesday at the NMA Secretariat, Kilometer 8, Nwaniba Road, Uyo.

The impeachment motion, supported by 71 members present at the Congress, marks the end of Prof. Abraham’s administration, which began on July 16, 2022, and was due to conclude on July 17, 2024. Following the impeachment, Dr. Usenobong Morgan Akpan, the Association’s Secretary, was elected as the Acting Chairman, with a vote of 61 in favor and 13 against.

During a press briefing at the Doctor’s Mess, Udo Udoma Avenue, Dr. Akpan outlined the reasons for the impeachment, citing financial mismanagement and procedural breaches. “The embattled Chairman and her vice were impeached for running the NMA Akwa Ibom State for five months without a budget while expending millions of naira, and presenting to the State Executive Council a financial statement for a free medical outreach accounting for only N6 million out of N34 million questioned,” Akpan explained.

Additional grounds for impeachment included breaches of the NMA National Constitution and Akwa Ibom State Bye-laws, unauthorized ejection of members from the association’s WhatsApp group, and high-handedness. Dr. Akpan called for the immediate withdrawal of privileges and recognitions previously accorded to the impeached officials.

“As the Secretary of the NMA, I was made the Acting Chairman by virtue of hierarchy; with the Chairman and Vice Chairman being impeached, I am next in line. We request that all forms of recognition and privileges accrued to the suspended persons be withdrawn,” Akpan stated.

In a counter-statement, Prof. Emem Abraham declared the impeachment null and void, insisting she remains the Chairman of the NMA Akwa Ibom State chapter. She accused Dr. Akpan of acting unilaterally and stated that the association’s ordinary general meeting (OGM) on June 2, 2024, was disrupted and recessed for security reasons, with no impeachment process initiated.

Prof. Abraham emphasized, “There was no impeachment process against me or any officer of the Association. The NMA AKS is intact, and I remain in charge as the Chairman.”

The Public Relations Officer of NMA, Dr. Unyime Ndoh, echoed this sentiment, urging members to disregard the impeachment claims and stating that the OGM would reconvene soon.

Further investigations revealed that the crisis in the NMA Akwa Ibom chapter intensified after the kidnapping of Dr. John Robbin Esu in Oron local government area on April 30, 2024. Following a 15-day ordeal, Prof. Abraham called for a strike to expedite Dr. Esu’s release, which led to internal conflict and the eventual impeachment.

The unfolding situation highlights deep divisions within the NMA Akwa Ibom chapter and raises questions about leadership and governance within the association.

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Workers Protest at Federal Polytechnic Ukana Over Salary, Welfare Issues

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Workers at the Federal Polytechnic Ukana have launched a protest following a brief congress meeting at the institution’s TETFund auditorium.

The protesters voiced their dissatisfaction with the management’s handling of their demands, which include the non-payment of the 38% balance of salary shortfall, non-payment of promotion arrears, and the forceful conversion of staff.

Emerging from the congress, the protesters marched to the Rector’s office, holding placards and chanting solidarity songs while demanding the full implementation of their demands. Placards bore inscriptions such as, “SSANIP says no to unnecessary transfer of members,” “No to forceful conversion of staffs,” “Pay us our 38% balance salary shortfall (2016–2018),” and “Pay us our correct salary placement arrears (2015-2018).”

Mr. Tamunosiki Daka, chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) at the Federal Polytechnic Ukana, addressed the protesters, emphasizing that their actions were not confrontational but a plea for their welfare.

“We are not here to fight anyone; we are here to demand our rightful dues,” Daka stated. He expressed disappointment over the management’s indifference to their issues, including salary shortfalls dating back to 2015, despite numerous reminders.

Daka elaborated, “Over the years, from 2015 to date, we have been crying for salary shortfalls. When the visitation panel came, they promised to address it, but nothing has happened. We have met the management, but they did not provide any substantial reason for us not to go on strike. We wrote to the acting Rector, but she did not attend to us. The current Rector, Dr. Uduak Ndaeyo, attended to us, but still, no concrete answer was given.”

Highlighting the union’s procedural adherence, Daka noted, “We issued the necessary ultimatums—21 days, 14 days, and 7 days—before embarking on industrial action. Despite our pleas for the past six months, no action has been taken.”

Daka also criticized the appointment of a teaching staff member to the position of ICT, questioning its appropriateness. He announced that the workers would shut down all offices, including the Rector’s, if their demands were not met by Monday.

In a broader appeal, Daka called on President Bola Tinubu to investigate the personnel salaries of the institution from 2015 to the present, questioning the claims of full payment under the IPPIS platform.

“We urge the President to investigate all personnel salaries from 2015 to date. They claim they paid all shortfalls, but we have seen nothing,” Daka added.

The protest highlights ongoing frustrations and calls for accountability and prompt action to address the workers’ grievances.

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Ibom Air Celebrates 5th Anniversary, Announces Ambitious Future Plans

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Ibom Air, the Akwa Ibom State-owned airline, marked its 5th anniversary on May 7, 2024, celebrating a significant milestone in its mission to provide reliable and exceptional air travel services across Africa.

Since commencing commercial operations on June 7, 2019, Ibom Air has demonstrated a strong commitment to world-class operational standards, gaining the confidence and loyalty of passengers throughout the region. The airline’s remarkable growth includes expanding its fleet, increasing its route network, and enhancing the overall customer experience. Notably, Ibom Air has maintained industry-leading on-time performance, a hallmark of its operations.

Reflecting on the airline’s achievements, Chief Executive Officer Mfon Udom expressed pride in their journey. “We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the past five years. Our success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team and the unwavering patronage of our passengers,” Udom stated. He also extended congratulations to the shareholders, the government, and the people of Akwa Ibom State for their committed ownership and strong support from the start, which have been instrumental in the airline’s focus on excellence in connecting people and places.

In celebration of its anniversary, Ibom Air unveiled ambitious plans for the future, including positioning itself as an ESG-responsible company with a clear sustainability vision. The airline plans rapid fleet and route expansion to tackle connectivity issues within the African region, alongside a focus on leveraging advanced technology.

Chief Operating Officer George Uriesi highlighted recent technological advancements aimed at improving customer experience. “We have recently unveiled cutting-edge technology and infrastructure to improve our booking, check-in, and in-flight services while enhancing our self-service portal on the website to make it more user-friendly. Similar attention will be paid to one of our most critical touchpoints: our call centre. We plan to make it a 24-hour service very shortly,” Uriesi commented.

In the area of sustainability, Ibom Air is committed to reducing its environmental impact through sustainable practices. The airline introduced the fuel-efficient Airbus A220-300 aircraft, with an expected fleet of 11 aircraft to ensure its carbon footprint aligns with global best practices. Additionally, the airline’s corporate social responsibility program will focus on giving back to the less privileged and vulnerable, positively impacting its communities.

To further commemorate this milestone, Ibom Air will recognize staff who have been with the airline since its inception, celebrating their dedication and contribution to the airline’s success.

“At Ibom Air, today and every day, we appreciate our customers who have stayed with us and have been unwavering in their commitment to building this brand. As a result, we pledge to continue to uphold the highest standards of safety, comfort, and convenience for our passengers,” affirmed Uriesi.

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