The feud between Ephraim Inyangeyen, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works and elders of Eket Local Government has recently assumed a dramatic dimension.
It could be recalled that the works commissioner, a fortnight ago, described Eket people as the most difficult people to deal with in the state. He alleged that the people's attitude was inimical to the development project of the state government.
With particular reference to the road dualization project in Eket, the commissioner had said they were not friendly and did not cooperate with the state government in terms of providing conducive environment to the construction company.
According to Inyangeyen, Eket people had refused to move out of the right of way on the Atabong road, with demand for astronomical compensation, thereby slowing down the pace of work on the road.
And in a swift reaction to the allegations, Chairman of Eket Senatorial District Elders Forum and former minister of lands and housing, Chief Ndueso Essien said the statement by the commissioner was a cheap blackmail that lacked substance, admonishing him to be mindful by his utterances and to stop embarrassing the Governor by his utterances and conduct.
According to him, Ephriam Inyang will go down in history as the ''most arrogant, most insolent and most exploitative commissioner that has served the State Cabinet''.
He maintained that Ephriam Inyang does not respect rules and regulations binding the operation of government business and that he is overbearing on everybody, including his colleagues in the state Exco.
“Before you demolish some ones house, the law says you should give him 90 days of notice, but in his own case, he demolishes and tells you to come to his office for payment. Since 2015 up till today, not up to 80% of work has been completed”.
The former minister who faulted the modalities employed by the commissioner with payment of compensation to property owners along the right of way, said the refusal by Eket people (property owners) to move out of their houses when they had not received compensation for their property, was the reason they have been tagged by the commissioner as a difficult people.
He said the commissioner for works is the one who counts the properties and he does the payment to the exclusion of the ministry of lands that is responsible for those functions. He also accused the works commissioner of determining single handedly, with his estate valuer, the value for each property, without involving the property owners.