By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has taken steps to ensure that due process is adhered to by the state executive arm in the discharge of government programmes to citizenry.
Arising from its oversight function of checkmating the activities of the executive, the House on Thursday ordered the immediate suspension of the implementation process of the state government’s pragramme tagged: Anchor Poultry Borrowers Scheme.
The action of the House is sequel to a matter of urgent public importance brought before it during plenary by the chairman, house committee on agriculture, Hon. Nse Ntuen who raised the alarm over some observed irregularities in the selection process of beneficiaries for the loan scheme.
Briefing the House on the matter, Hon. Ntuen, who is the member representing Essien Udim state constituency in the Assembly, said he was surprised to see newspaper publications to the effect that over 3000 indigenes of the state have been selected to benefit from the Anchor Poultry Borrowers Programme, an empowerment programme of government, and expressed regrets that due process was not followed in the selection of beneficiaries. He said the action could not have had the authorization of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
After exhaustive deliberation on the matter by members, the house in a resolution directed that “the disbursement and implementation of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of government be suspended until after the conclusion of investigation and action taken at plenary”.
Meanwhile, a seven member ad-hoc committee headed by member representing Itu state constituency, Hon. Idongesit Ituen has been mandated by the house to conduct an investigative hearing into the matter. Hon. Nse Ntuen serves as the deputy chairman of the committee.
Other members of the committee include Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan, Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh, Hon. Samuel Ufuo and Hon. Mrs. Mfon Ekong are to serve as members. The committee’s investigation will border on the disbursement and implementation of the programme.
Terms of reference to the committee as read by the Speaker, Hon. Onofiok Luke include to, among others, investigate and determine the source of the publication of over 3800 names of acclaimed beneficiaries; to ascertain whether due process was followed in the selection process; and whether the list of beneficiaries represents the composition of the state in proportionate manner.
The committee which has two weeks duration to submit its report is also mandated to determine the source of funding, and as well recommend sanctions for any public officer found to have erred in the process.
In another development, the House on Thursday read for the first time the bill for the law to provide for the establishment of Akwa Ibom state primary healthcare development agency. The bill is sponsored by the Speaker, Hon. Onofiok Luke and 12 others.
Earlier in the day, the committee of the whole led by the Speaker, had an interactive session with officials of the state civil service and management of the state’s school of Health Technology. Speaker Luke said the interface was necessary as the House needed expert input into the Akwa Ibom state School of Health Technology Bill. The bill is aimed at giving legal backing to the Akwa Ibom state school of Health Technology Established, Etinan, in 1988.
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.