Akwa Ibom Indigenes Petition US Govt, Seek Cancellation Of Visas To All State Officials
Akwa Ibom state indigenes in the United States under the banner of Ibibio People’s Union have petitioned the United States government accusing the executive and legislative arms of the oil rich Niger Delta state government of embarking on jamboree trips abroad for the sole purpose of laundering and wasting state funds. They are therefore seeking a denial and or cancellation of American visas to all state officials that may want to embark on such trips.
A copy of their letter to the US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton was made available to ireports-ng.com and is reproduced below:
July 16, 2012
The Secretary of State of the United States of America
U. S. State Department
Re. Request for Denial of United States Visas to Members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKSHOA)
We extend to you the greetings and well wishes of the great people of Akwa Ibom State in Niger Delta of Southern Nigeria. We have followed and admire the indomitable spirit and zeal that you have exhibited in your present position as Secretary of State, fighting to bring peace, democracy and good governance to all countries.
We are writing on behalf of Ibibio Peoples Union (IPU): http://ibibiopeoplesunion.com/
about-ibibio-peoples-union/ who-we-are.php/) a non-profit, non-political organization of Nigerian- Americans promoting good governance for Nigeria.
We have noted that the current situation in Akwa Ibom State is of such concern to the USA that the USA has issued an advisory to her citizens against visiting the State. IPU shares your concern and is determined to get to the root of the problem so that the state might return to its erstwhile most peaceful place in Nigeria.
Madam Secretary, we are constrained to bring to your attention that a root cause of the unrest all over Nigeria is poor governance, looting of public funds and a lack of justice. Whether it is the jihadist Boko Haram in the north or the kidnapping in the south, the underlying cause is the poverty of the populace engendered by the misuse of public funds. We bring to your notice and action a proposed waste of public funds in a state where the state employees have not been paid in three months. You can and we request your help to stop this.
We have been reliably informed that the entire members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKSHOA) together with the Executive branch are headed to Houston, Texas, to deliberate on how to site industries in the 31 local government areas in the state. This was a campaign promise in 2007. Last year a contingency of about 60 people also came to Houston purportedly to seek investors. One year later, not a single investor has shown any interest in the state and the government wants to repeat the wastage of public funds.
Madam Secretary, is it not absurd that after 5 years in office (enough time to have fulfilled this campaign promise), instead of visiting each local government area to determine what raw materials exist there and consequently what type of industry is viable there this wasteful government would travel 7000 miles to a foreign country to make this decision in a foreign hotel? It has been reported that some Nigerian officials received estacodes of up to US$1,000.00 per day when they travel out of Nigeria. Compare this to the minimum wage, which is US$112.50 per month. Last year these people spent at least two weeks here in the USA. This year they plan to have a celebration of the 25thanniversary of the creation Akwa Ibom State in Houston instead of Akwa Ibom. After which another week is slated for learning how to govern. Then it is off to Europe to repeat the same events.
From a conservative standpoint, a minimum of 30 days will be spent out of the state accruing $1000.00 per day for each attendee. You can imagine the total cost of this enterprise to a state where civil servants are owed salaries of the past three months. While we appreciate the boost to the local economy here, we must point out that robbing Peter to pay Paul does not augur well for the American companies trying to conduct lawful business in Akwa Ibom, where Peter resides.
It is also well known that many of these House of Assembly, or HOA, members have surrogates here in the USA who have purchased real estate in the USA for them that their annual salaries cannot support such purchase. It is plausible that this trip is a cover for money laundering, legal looting (aka legislooting) and squandering of public funds. It should interest Madam Secretary to note that this HOA has not passed a single bill that was aimed at benefiting the people of the state. Instead they are notorious for being the only state in the country (with goading by the governor) to hurriedly pass Decree #2 (http://www.thenigerianvoice.
com/nvnews/50758/1/akwa-ibom- state-decree-no-2.html)aimed at silencing all opposition. We are constrained to request that you cancel any visas that may have been issued to these people and to deny others from the government that may apply. The exorbitant expense of this jamboree would be better used to pay the salaries of state workers. We make our request in an effort to assist you to achieve your goal of seeing the entrenchment and growth of democracy in all corners of this world.
We thank you for your indulgence and acquiescence to our request.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
For and on behalf of Ibibio People’s Union (IPU)