…responds to allegations of bribe taking by UCCDA
By Osondu Ahirika
The Chairman of the Uyo Capital City Development Authority, UCCDA, Prince Enobong Uwah has charged anyone with genuine complaints about the UCCDA to make the details available to him with a firm assurance it will be addressed.
Prince Uwah made the call in a response he personally posted to a facebook post by the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Explorer Newspaper, an Uyo based tabloid, Mr Augustine Akpan, alleging that, the UCCDA abdicated on its responsibility of development control after taking bribes, allowing a developer to construct a soak away on part of the main road.
in the said post, titled, ‘UCCDA Just After Making Money?’, Mr Akpan wrote :
“Incensed by the near-total abdication of its core responsibility of enforcing compliance to safety standards as well as stamping its feet against illegal raising of structures within Uyo Metropolis to chasing ‘settlement’ (bribe) from property owners, I’m constrained to ask if all what greedy officials of Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA), care about is making money and not the safety of residents of such areas.
For the record, Uyo Capital City Development Authority was established by Edict No. 13 of 1988 with the aim of managing the urban land within Uyo Capital City Territory through the implementation of Uyo Capital City Master plan.
By the provisions establishing it, UCCDA was and is expected to carry out “physical planning and development control of the City with the aim of providing direction for the visions and aspirations of all stakeholders as well as instilling certainty and confidence in the present and future growth of the town with regards to development process”.
It is however sad that rather than implementing its lofty vision “to build a beautiful, healthy, efficient, functional and enviable Capital City for sustainable growth, that is conducive for living, working and recreating”, the agency has deviated to combing every nook and cranny of the metropolis negotiating shady deals with desperate property owners who would not mind raising structure on the middle of the road.
The ‘X’ sign often marked on ‘illegal’ building is now becoming more-or-less an invitation to defaulting property owners to ‘do the needful’ and not a call to compliance to safety standards. Once ‘settlement’ is done, the mark is erased the next morning for work to continue. This is no exaggeration but reality. It is has been happening in this city and it has just happened this afternoon very close to my yard.
I feel so angry returning home this evening only to find out that the same structure built almost on what should be the internal road that leads to my abode that was previously marked but was later given clean bill of health to continue work after ‘settlement’ was the reason I should not get home in peace.
How could UCCDA not have known that when it gave approval to the defaulting property owner that stretched his building to the road without asking him where he intends to dig his soak away, that that deal will backfire some day?
Now, out of frustration, the defaulting property owner has not only turned to the tiny portion of his land opposite the walkway (road) that separates his building to dig the soak away (albeit partly on the road) but he has also encroach on his neighbor’s land. And to make matters worse, the same place he dug happens to be someone’s graveyard.
Now with the tension this has caused in the yard owing to the desecration charges he has been handed by children of the deceased, can UCCDA be exonerated from this? Would this have happened if they had not sacrifice commitment to their assigned responsibility on the altar of ‘settlement’?
My name is Augustine Akpan, I am calling out #UCCDA to tell the world why they have abdicated their responsibility.
However, in quick reaction to the post, the UCCDA boss who just returned from a one week training on Smart Cities in London, responded thus:”My brother, my name is Enobong wah, . Please, I would like to have details of your complaint in my inbox and I will certainly look into it.”
Prince Uwah further added, ‘I guess there’s always room for improvement in public service, so please don’t be quick to pass judgement. I appreciate your concern. Thank you’
Quizzed by newsmen on the development, Prince Uwah reiterated that, the UCCDA under his watch has zero tolerance for graft, bribery and corruption of any form. He maintained that, his office and lines of communication are always open to complaints from anyone who feels aggrieved and charged clients to report any UCCDA official who demands a bribe for any services offered or favours.
Prince Uwah said, the UCCDA remains undistracted by uninformed criticisms, noting that, the UCCDA recently embarked on mass demolition of illegal structures which violate the physical planning and deface the beauty of the metropolis without relenting even when some miscreants attacked officials of the UCCDA.
Insisting that, UCCDA will never compromise on its standards, Prince Uwah enjoined those with facts on any shady deals to blow the whistle and alert him on such and assured that, such complaints will be addressed.
He thanked Governor Udom and for his absolute support for the UCCDA and pledged to actualize the Governor’s vision for the capital city.
On plans of the UCCDA, Prince Uwah said, all is set for the take off of Martha’s vineyard Housing Estate located at Idoro road, which he said will be the most modern estate in the State.
Prince Uwah also disclosed that the Permanent Secretariat of the UCCDA located behind the State secretariat is ready and the Authority is set to relocate to the complex once it is commissioned by the governor.
Several people who reacted to the reaction of Prince Uwah commended his humilty and sense of responsibility.
In his comment, Mr Ukeme Michael wrote,
‘This is the first time in Akwa. Ibom. State, a public holder has responded to a critics in a calm and humble manner’. Another respondent, David Matthew opined, ‘Enobong Hammer Uwah, now this is what public service implies. Such humble and sincere response. God bless you sir’.
On her part, Mrs Ndifreke Enefiok said,
“Enobong Uwah has just proven that some public office holders are know their onion. This is what maturity and understanding what “leadership” means. Instead of attacking the person, you address the situation. Well done Sir! I’m sure something will be done immediately to stop the trend raised by Augustine Akpan.”
Again, Samuel Odungide in his submission stated, ‘If my facts is correct, this is not the first time he is responding to matters on facebook. However Sir, I know that you know that the issues raised by my friend and colleague here requires a great deal of wits and political will to not just look into it, but stomp it. It’s like cancer that has eaten deep. It requires a surgical operation to remove.I wish you the the best even as a champion that you are.
However, as at Press time, the UCCDA boss says mr Augustine Akpan is yet to reach him with the formal complaint as requested.
He wrote, to restate this in reaction to Samuel Odungide’s comment, ‘…trust me’, Uwah wrote, ‘a lot has been done, including movement of staff but the public must also help. Report any unprofessional conduct directly to me. As we speak, Augustine has not reached back to me with the details. We will continue to work harder’, he added.