A group, Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance has tackled the federal government for allegedly delisting the names of two prominent sons of Akwa Ibom, Senator Bassey Akpan and Mr Effiong Akwa, the Some administrator of the NDDC from the nominees list for national awards.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred investiture to eminent Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, who have contributed to the development of the country.
But, the Integrity group in Akwa Ibom which claimed that there sons made the list earlier queried why the investiture committee would at the eleventh hour expunge the names of those people thereby subjecting them and the state to public ridicule.
In a statement signed by the group’s National President, Barr. Stephen Abia and the National Secretary, Prince Imoh Etimudo respectively and obtained by our correspondent in Uyo, the group urged the federal government to rescind its’ decision to avoid laying a wrong precedence.
The statement in parts, “When the list of national awards nominees was released, we took pride in the fact that some deserving indigenes of Akwa Ibom State made the list. We saw the national awards recipients as worthy ambassadors of Akwa Ibom State, whose spirit of excellence, distinction and hard work in their different stations of life align with the true Akwa Ibom Dakkada spirit.
“But we were later to be saddened by the manner in which the name of one of our accomplished sons of Akwa Ibom State, the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District, Senator Bassey Albert was curiously dropped from the list few minutes to the awards ceremony.
“We have been reliably informed that the name of Senator Bassey Albert who was nominated for Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON, was dropped by the federal government on the premise that he is indicted and is being prosecuted in a corruption case by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
“Granted that the man is involved in a corruption case and several other issues bothering on graft, is it not established that in law one is not guilty until so presumed by the court? Disgracing him from the national honours list at the eleventh hour is totally wrong, unacceptable and a slight on the people of Akwa Ibom State.
“Does the federal government say that Senator Bassey Albert is the only Nigerian with corruption baggage whether in court who was nominated for the honour? Or is he being treated specially because he is an Akwa Ibom son? What if in the end the court pronounced him not guilty, how will the wounds inflicted by this shabby treatment be healed? In any case, the corruption case against the senator did not just happen during the week of the award ceremony, why did they include his name in the first place, if not to disgrace and rubbish the man for whatever reason?”
“We equally condemn the surreptitious removal of the name of the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa after an official publication of the national honours list for whatever reason the federal government may come with. To us, that was selective disgrace to our sons, and we totally condemn this.”
The group therefore urged the federal government to address the situation saying; “Nigeria belongs to us all, and what is good for the goose, is good for the gander. We cannot continue to watch our sons and daughters receiving the shameful treatment of second class citizens.”