By Deborah Ekanem
In a bid to safeguarding the rights and privileges of Ibiono Ibom indigenes, Akwa Ibom Oil Community Development Network (AKIPCON) has inaugurated Ibiono Ibom Chapter to oversee oil and Gas exploration in the area.
The inaugural meeting which took place on Friday, 26 July 2019 at Obong Emem-Obong Essien Hall, old council, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area had 20 EXCO members comprising of Royal Fathers, Elites, youths and women sworn in to pilot the affairs of AKIPCON in Ibiono Ibom. The newly sworn in Executive members were: Hon.Mary Akpan (JP) -Local Government coordinator; Mr. Joseph Bassey- Deputy Local Government Coordinator; Apostle Dr Emmanuel Ntia- Mobilization officer; Dr. Itoro Essiet Udo- Secretary; Dr. Solomon J. Ekong- treasurer; Mr. Nse Benjamin- Assistant Secretary; Hon. Emem Usoro- PRO; Mrs. Grace Nsuhereidem Bassey- Environmental Officer; Dr. Boniface Dan- Security/Conflict Resolution; Mrs. Mary Daniel- Welfare Officer and Mrs. Glory Ekwere Antia- Woman Leader. Others on the list were: Elder Edet Okokon- Financial Secretary; Mr. Gabriel Sunday Okon-Protocol; Apostle Nkereuwem Nana- Director of Religious Matters; Mr. Obong J.J. Akpan-Auditor General 1/Adviser; Pastor Nsikan Akpan Inyang-Auditor General 11; Mr. Ubong Okon Ekanem- Auditor General 111; Chief Joseph Okuku- Clan Council 1 and Chief Okon Bassey Akpan- Clan Council 11.
Addressing the Exco members, the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Okuku (Dr) Ime UdoUsoro Inyang expressed gratitude to God for making the project a reality. His words, “this day is one of the days we have been praying for, what we are witnessing today started as a mirage but today it has become a reality since the day the Court gave its verdict”. He charged the newly sworn in Executive on quality service delivery. The Royal Father expressed optimism that AKIPCON under the leadership of the President General, Apostle (Dr) Ufot Phenson will make the people of Ibiono Ibom proud as its will deliver its mandate. He described the Executive members as men of integrity, urging them to be steadfast and see the assignment as a call to serve humanity.
Meanwhile, the President General of AKIPCON, Dr.Ufot Phenson said that the general acceptability of the group by the Royal Fathers and the people of Ibiono Ibom was an indication that the people were in need of their rights as it concerns the operations of oil and Gas Companies. Dr. Phenson assured that with the presence of AKIPCON in Ibiono Ibom, the socio-economic, human Rights as well as infrastructural development of the people in the area would be guaranteed as compensations will be made to pay adequately by oil and Gas companies. He called on the companies to do the needful to improve the living conditions of the people as well as creating employment opportunities for the teaming youths. He advised the newly sworn in executive to focus on the goal of AKIPCON which according to him was to liberate the down trodden masses, even as he urged them to bury all forms of sentiments in the discharge of their duty.
On his part the Secretary General of AKIPCON, Evangelist Emmanuel Bassey said that the group aimed at protecting and promoting the Human and Environmental rights of the people, especially abuses emanated from the activities of oil and gas companies as it was enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He said the group will help conceptualize ideas and proposals that would enhance the propagation of the objectives of AKIPCON for a better society.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive, the Coordinator of the group, Ibiono Ibom Chapter, Hon. Mary Akpan appreciated the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom, the National Human Rights Commission, the President of the group and the entire sons and daughters of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area for the confidence repose on them to serve the people. She promised to carry out the assignment devoid of bias and favouritism to the betterment of all in accordance with the law. High point of the event was the administration of oath of office to the newly sworn in Executive. The event was witnessed by the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom, members of the Clan Councils and other Royal Fathers.