AKWA IBOM, Nigeria – The people of Ikot Obio Inyang village in Etinan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state have written a petition to the Nigeria Police Force as well as to the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, over alleged vandalization of their water source.
The community in the petition, also accused their village head, Chief Emem Akpan, of being responsible for the vandalization of the panels fueling their water source.
It was gathered that the solar powered water project was donated to the village by NDDC at the cost of N53, 747, 185.80 (Fifty three million, seven hundred and forty seven thousand, one hundred and fifty five naira, eighty kobo only.
Reporting the vandalization to the NDDC, Ikot Obio Inyang Development Association (IKODA) in a letter dated September 9, 2019 and signed by its National President, Enefiok B. Umoh and Secretary Uduak Edet Udoh, said that two items; the Solar Pump and the Solar Panel were vandalized.
The letter partly reads, “It was the NDDC, Uyo office that awarded the contract to a competent contractor. He completed the work and handed it to the village council to take good care of the project. Ikot Obio Inyang is one of the villages without good drinking water. This water project supplied water to Ikot Obio Inyang community as well as Ikot Obio Inyang Health Health Centre.
“In the light of the above, we request the Director to please direct his Engineers to come to Ikot Obio Inyang, Inspect the extent of damage done to the project and carry out investigations to find out the perpetrators.”
Umoh, who also spoke with our correspondent on phone, said the association decided to take up the matter as those who took the initiative to approach NDDC for the water source.
“As an association, which applied for the water since we have no natural water source in the community, we decided to report the matter to NDDC and the state police command, which thereafter prompted the Etinan Divisional police office to investigate the matter.”
He, therefore, appealed to the police to insist on recovering the solar panels from the village authority
Another member of the community who would not want his name in print added; “The police during the investigation discovered that the village head and the council were aware of the vandalization, and that the small boy who climbed the tank to bring down the solar panels did so on the instruction of the village head.
When visited his palace, the Village head, Eteidung Emem Akpan admitted that the solar powered water donated to the village by NDDC was vandalized and that he, the village head was accused and interrogated by the police for allegedly being responsible for the vandalism.
Akpan, who reported to have been linked with a case of kidnapping, admitted to have had too many police and court cases than should a village head. He, therefore, accused the state government of not acting in his defence whenever his people had course to link him up with cases of crime.
His words, “I was given a certificate of recognition as village head in 2013. I have faced so many things ever since. My people labelled me a kidnapper, I had been on that case since 2016 to 2019 that the case was finally dismissed. The government never helped me in these travails”.
The village head however said he suspected that the solar panels and the solar pump were vandalized by the contractors who handled the job, since they, according to him, knew how they installed the facilities
“Even the second one we did, I strongly warned the contractor to ensure that the pump was safely secured, he assured me, but after a while, it was again vandalized. So I suspect them,” he said.
Commenting on the issue of vandalization of public facilities, the Chairman, Etinan Local Government Area, Mr Cletus Ekpo, expressed his disappointment over such issue and vowed to ensure that the certificate of recognition is revoked from any village head confirmed to have condoned or promoted such activitities in the area.