By Thompson Essien
Gov Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State
Forwarded here is the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong, the Chairman of Uyo Local Government, was arrested by the United States Homeland Security, as reported by the Global Concord newspaper, which is based in Uyo. It is important to mention that this is the first time I have seen this article, which I received this morning from the editors of the paper, upon my request for a copy.
When I wrote my own version of the story last week, I had no idea of how much money was involved, until now. Now, we all have a better understanding why Godswill Akpabio had to leave the United States in a hurry, when he knew the agency was investigating the source and the intention of why such a huge amount of money was brought into the United States.
As you read the story, please bear in mind that Akwa Ibom State Government has been mute over the matter. Even Akpabio’s numerous agents and his Special Senior Personal Assistant (Ete Clement Ikpatt) in the United States are not talking in public over the matter. However, if they ever issue any statement, we should expect them to repeat the same old mantra; “we don’t respond to the lies of Thompson Essien.”
For the benefits of those abroad who may not understand the laws of the United States, let me explain here that as far as the amount of money found in the possession of Ekerete Ekpenyong was not declared before he landed in the country, the money has now become the property of American Government—seized!
Then sit back and reflect on how much $450,000.00, or N74.2 million, could have done for the people of Akwa Ibom State, especially when one considers that since March or April, salaries have not been paid to government employees, schools are in dilapidated conditions, hospitals are bare and the walls are crumbling, unemployment is at its highest level since the creation of Akwa Ibom State in 1987, hunger and poverty have become a menace that afflicts the majority, not to mention the high rate of crime and a rise in prostitution among the young. And because there is no money, Uyo, the state capital, as well as other parts of the state, has become stagnant, where nothing moves because there is nothing to stimulate the economy.
All these happen in the midst of plenty; Akwa Ibom is the richest of all the 36 states that make up the entity known as Nigeria. In June 2012, it received nearly 23 billion naira in oil allocation from the federal government. As you read this story, please ponder and look beyond the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested at Houston airport. Enjoy!
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
L .G. Chairman Arrested in US
Akpabio steps in
Security report reaching Mid-Week Global Concord from Houston, Texas, United States of America alleges that the incumbent chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested by Houston security at the airport on arrival with over $450,000 (N74.2 million) on Wednesday the 8thAugust, 2012.
The source disclosed that the council helmsman was arrested by Houston Security Agents during security a check at the Airport when over $450,000 was discovered with him.
The money allegedly discovered in his possession according to our source, was not declared to Customs during filling of Customs papers both in Nigeria and Houston.
Mid-Week Global Concord news desk gathered that during interrogation, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong told Houston security that the money was a donation from Uyo Local Government Council to Akwa Ibom State Association for 25th anniversary celebration in Orlando Florida of which he was one of the delegates from Akwa Ibom State.
Another source who spoke with the paper in confidence said that the chairman was later released on the intervention of the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio pleading that he Ekerete Ekpenyong was a Mayor of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State coming to represent his people at the anniversary.
Another source who accompanied them to Florida told this paper that there was no donation from Ekerete Ekpenyong on behalf of Uyo Local Government at the Akwa Ibom State Convention in Florida.
“At what point did the FGPC of Uyo Local Government council set and approve over $450,000 to Akwa Ibom State Association anniversaries celebration in Florida”, the source queried.
However, there are lamentations across all the Local Government Areas in the State due to massive deductions from the monthly allocations most of which could not be explained which left most Local Governments with practically zero allocation in spite of the jumbo allocation from the Federation account.
This paper learnt that the deduction from Local Government accounts is for the Governor for his private use. We also learnt that most of the Council Chairmen were installed by the governor to loot the Local Government treasuries.