Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Trouble in Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Lands

Trouble in Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Lands

Trouble in Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Lands

There is palpable tension in the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Lands following the refusal of the Permanent Secretary, Elder Etop Uko to quit office, having been overdue for retirement. 

THE INK was informed that Elder Uko who retired April, 2018 has refused to vacate his seat but rather uses his position to victimize and frustrate staff in the ministry. 

Elder Uko is said to have began a unilateral process of posting members of the ministry and parastatals associated with the ministry without recourse to other relevant stakeholders and directors in the ministry. 

An act that many staff in the ministry observed as parochial, self centered and highly destructive. It was gathered by our reporter that the retired but ‘refused to quit’ Permanent Secretary had over the months engage in a war of bureaucracy with the Director of Town planning over the posting and non posting of personnel into the ministry and her parastatal. 

Our news desk understands that Elder Etop Uko maneuvers the activities of the ministry and is said to have engaged in some illicit activities that range from selling of lands indiscriminately and illegally as well as allocating large portions of Government lands to himself and his cronies. 

It was not readily ascertained whether Elder Uko has fingered the funds of the Ministry. But those who claim to know mentioned to newsmen in THE INK that the retired Permanent Secretary is despotic, practices favouritism and is very clannish in nature even when the permanent Secretary denies all those allegations saying, the people are just telling bad stories about him. 

THE INK was informed by multiple sources that the Director of Physical planning who is always on hand to speak truth to the Permanent Secretary became a victim of the permanent Secretary’s high handedness when he, without due process, tampered with posting and reposting in the ministry. 

The trouble is said to have led to serious disagreement that called for the attention of the Chairman of UCCDA, Prince Enobong Uwah. The intervention of Uwah led to the Director of Physical planning staying put in UCCDA. Our reporter was informed that staff of the ministry are uncomfortable with the excessive and undue overbearing influence of the retired permanent Secretary. 

Some senior staff of the ministry who also spoke to our reporter maintained that there are those who are ably qualified to take over the seat of the permanent secretary but have been refused because of the refusal of Elder Etop Uko to quit. However, when contacted, Elder Etop Ukodefended self, saying that his continuous stay in the ministry as the Permanent secretary was made possible by the commissioner and the State Head of Service. 

He maintained that he cannot on his own take decisions for the ministry and that any decision he takes is always in conformity and /or agreement with the Commissioner, Arch Ime Ekpo. 

The retired permanent secretary asked our reporter to call the commissioner and seek Clarifications on the reasons behind his continuous services to the Ministry despite his retirement. 

The Head of Service and the commissioner could not be reached for comments when contacted.

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