Within the past several days, Akwa Ibom people have been crying about the decision by Governor Godswill Akpabio to launder the people’s money under the pretense of sending the entire members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for a meeting in Houston, USA.
This is to inform you that Ibibio People’s Union sent a letter to the US Secretary of State, a copy was also sent to US Embassy in Nigeria, requesting her to deny or cancel the visas that were already issued by the United States Government to members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for this purpose.
We could have notified you of our efforts earlier than now, but we were waiting to make sure that the Office of the Secretary of State and the American Embassy in Nigeria are in receipt of the letter. Below is a copy of the letter. Enjoy.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
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 25th anniversary 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)
(1) All states going bankrupt, owe N2.4trn
By: ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Friday, July 13, 2012
*Senate seeks review of revenue formula
…Laments cost of governance
Unless the Federal Government acts fast to curb the appetite for foreign debts, all the 36 state governments may go bankrupt, the Senate warned yesterday. This was the verdict of the upper chamber of the National Assembly when it received the report of its Joint Committees on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Finance, Appropriation and States and Local Government Administration, presented by the Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade.
Senate said all the states depend on federal allocations and foreign loans, a development which it said, is anti-development.
The Upper House also canvassed a review of the extant Revenue Formula Act which was enacted by the Babangida military regime in 1992.
Senate is also pushing for a new revenue formula that would favour states and local governments, with periodic reviews henceforth.
The states owed a hefty N2,390,900,305,399.84 as at last December.
A breakdown given by the joint committee showed that total foreign and other loan deductions from January 2009 to December 2011 stood at N266,892,065,000.06 while gross statutory allocations during the same period was N2, 657, 792, 370, 399.90.
Gemade listed the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) files from 2009-2011 as its source with a further note: “The above table is only in respect to foreign debts and other loans directly tied to the Federation Account so, it does not include other exposures to commercial banks and the capital market which are substantial.”
On the demand for a review of the revenue formula, Senate noted that previous attempts made by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) particularly in 2002 and 2004, the system of revenue allocation has remained that of 1992 with only a slight modification.
“Since the approval of the existing revenue formula in 1992, there had been changes in the political structure of the country. Six additional states were created in the country in 1996 and are yet to be taken into consideration.
“Similarly, when the same revenue allocation formula was approved, the local government councils were only 589, with the additional 185 councils created in 1997, the number increased to 774. This, too, has not been taken into consideration by the existing revenue allocation formula.
“The existing revenue allocation formula does not include the new principles to be used in revenue sharing among states and local government which were clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution and that the increased constitutional responsibilities as encapsulated in section 313 of the Constitution and New National Minimum Wage as well as recent increases in salaries and wages of political office holders and the judiciary were not envisaged by the existing sharing formula.”
To forestall states going totally bankrupt, Senate is considering new laws that would limit exposure of the state governments to just 20 percent of their federal allocations.
“The legislature should consider appropriate legislations limiting the total exposure of states to external and domestic borrowings to not more than 20 per cent of their allocations from the Federation Account. Such borrowing should be for economic projects only and when it is absolutely necessary. Further, there should be strict compliance to the relevant provisions of the Borrowing by Public Bodies Act (CAP. B10,LFN,2004);
“Application of the 13 per cent derivation principle be properly implemented, considering the Supreme Court judgment in suit SC28/2001 on April 5, 2002.”
Besides, Senate urged government to ensure that future proceeds from the Excess Crude Account are geared towards projects that would impact on the economy.
“Stabilisation Funds and allocations from the Excess Crude Account to states should be targeted at economic projects that have direct impact on the people.” The Gemade report specifically slammed governors for grossly misappropriating and misapplying public funds.
“There is high rate of corruption and corrupt practices through misappropriation and misapplication of public funds, abuse of immunity clause by some state governors and the incapacitation of the various anti-graft agencies through political subterfuges.”
Senate further said that viability should be one of the major considerations for states creation in the future. “There is a fundamental issue of non-viability of the 36-state structure. The fragmentation of the original three-region structure at independence to one of the four regions, 12 states, then 19 and now, 36 states, with the multiplication of governors, state Houses of Assembly, ministries, commissioners, secretariats.
“Most of the revenue accruing to the states and their LGAs end up being misappropriated as states fail to remit the LGAs share since they control the joint state/LGA account,” the report said.
(2) 31 FACTORIES FOR 31 AKS LOCAL GOVT. AREAS…. JOIN THE INDUSTRIALIZATION PLAN AND GET DETAILS
By Dr. Moses Udoh and Dr. Ndem U. Ndem
We specially invites all Akwa Ibom professionals and business executives resident in the USA, Canada to Houston, Texas (August 3-4, 2011) and Europe (October 12-13, 2012) for the Akwa Ibom State Economic and Investment Expo 2012. During the events, Akwa Ibom citizens in the Diaspora will celebrate the State’s Silver Jubilee (25 years anniversary) and we want you to join us and our visiting government officials for the celebration.
The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio, CON, will be the Distinguished Keynote Speaker. He will be accompanied to the event by a strong delegation of top federal and state government officials, members of the Nigerian diplomatic corps, the global press as well as business and social leaders.
As there will be opportunities for you to interact with top level government officials in order to present and discuss your investment interests, we strongly encourage your attendance and look forward to seeing you at the summit, knowing fully well that your attendance and participation will be invaluable and most memorable. There are spaces available for participating industrialists, investors or companies to exhibit their products and services. If you are interested, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WESTIN HOUSTON MEMORIAL CITY
945 Gessner Road, Houston, TX 77024
Tel: 281 501-4300
Click Here To Reserve
Group Rate: $92.00
Cut off date for discounted rate is July 15, 2012. Regular rate is $240/night.
Please, share this important information with your professional colleagues and friends. The event will offer excellent opportunities for social and business networking and to celebrate Akwa Ibom State with the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio and key political, business and social leaders from Nigeria.
If you want to participate/register as a potential investor or to make a presentation during the event, please contact the undersigned:
Dr. Moses Udoh
Chair, Economic Summit Committee email@example.com (803) 608 8452
Dr. Ndem U. Ndem
Co-Chair, Economic Summit Committee firstname.lastname@example.org (706) 464 1164
(3) [NIgerianWorldForum] Re: ||NaijaObserver|| All AKS Legislators to visit Houston for Legislators Workshop and Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit/Investment Expo 2012
July 13, 2012
ALL MEMBERS OF THE AKWA IBOM STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY TO PARTICIPATE IN
THE AKWA IBOM STATE ECONOMIC SUMMIT/INVESTMENT EXPO 2012 AND LEGISLATORS’ WORKSHOP
IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
Rt. Hon. (Elder) Samuel Ikon
Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly
The Rt. Hon. (Elder) Samuel Ikon, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, will lead a team of twenty-six honorable members of the Akwa Ibom State legislature to Houston, Texas.
While in Houston, starting early August 2012, the legislators will participate in the Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit and Investment Expo 2012 followed by a week long Legislators’ Workshop on effective governance.
AIDN warmly welcomes the State legislators, proudly noting that the fifth session of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has registered already as one the most prolific sessions ever in the history of Akwa Ibom State.
While we are honored to have all members of the State legislature participate in the Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit and Investment Expo 2012, we also acknowledge their outstanding and creditable contributions towards the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, the Public-Private Partnership Council and Bureau of Public Partnership.
We wish the honorable legislators and all attendees the most valuable and rewarding week in Houston, Texas.
Barr. Uduak Ukpeh, Secretary General
Mr. Clement Ikpatt, President