I write this memo to you as a youth of Akwa Ibom State extraction and a comrade in the struggle to free humanity from the shackles of oppressors.
My Speaker, Onofiok Luke, you have in the days of students’ unionism in the university of Uyo, advocated for the students’ rights, and it was for your struggle that the people of Nsit Ubium found you worthy to represent them in the House of Assembly, and be a voice to them.
You have ascended to the position of the speakership of the State Assembly, meaning you speak for the generality and well being of the entire Akwa Ibomites.
Permit me to briefly inform you, that in so far as the struggle is concerned, I have contributed for humanity.
In my days as the Secretary General of Students’ Union Government, of the revered Malabo Republic, University of Calabar and a former Parliamentarian in the SUG parliament, it was incumbent on me to speak for the interest of the students, and protect the mandate which was freely given to me.
It is in the light of the above; I organized the first of its kind, successful online protest in the state, where phone numbers of your colleagues in the house was occupied with text messages and phone calls from spirited Nigerians and Akwa Ibomites, to drive home our demand that the proposed property charge bill by the member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno State constituency be thrown into the ravine.
May I draw your attention to the existence of Akwa Ibom state tenement rating law, CAPS 130. VOLUME 6, as part one section 3 empowers local government areas as rating authorities.
Section 25 of the law states: Any village head, clan head, paramount Ruler or traditional ruler, in whose area of jurisdiction there is tenement rating, shall assist the rating authority or officers of the Directorate –
(a) To identify the owner of any property within his area of authority.
(b) To distribute demand notices to property owners that may evade service of demand notices or do any such act that may conceal the identification of their property.
(c) To carry out public enlightenment campaigns within the area of his jurisdiction on the need for the rating authority to LEVY and collect tenement rates.
My speaker, with the above, it is reduplication on the part of Akpan usoh and the co-sponsors of the property charge bill in the House of Assembly to proceed with the obnoxious bill which is aimed at bringing untold hardship to the people, in a shattered Nigerian economy.
I have thoroughly read the proposed bill, and from page one of it to the last page, its emphasis is on money, money, money and more money.
How many persons in Akwa Ibom can afford a three square meal today?
Why target the bill at the poor and downtrodden?
What does Akpanusoh seek to achieve in this fraudulent and satanic bill?
What social assistance has the Akwa Ibom state Government rendered to her citizens to warrant this taxation?
What happens to the Internally Generated Revenue of the state that we are yet to know how much the state generates every month?
Why have we not heard anything on the whereabouts of the Paris Debt refund which was meant to offset debt of workers and pensioners, but they have not been paid?
Aside the much talked about ground breaking, what impact have we felt from the leadership of the state?
Mr. Speaker, 2019 will not be a stroll in the park, neither will it be business as usual.
No people’s oriented bill will grant the Governor an exclusive right of exempting some persons from paying tax. When a law is to be made, it should be for everyone, not a few.
Why should the bill exempt religious bodies from paying the charge, when they get money from the people without going into charity, or even helping their members.
The power now rest with the people. And anyone wishing to contest any election, or re-election, must show his scorecard.
I am writing as a stakeholder in the Akwa ibom state project, advising that the House, led by you, do not go ahead with the public hearing of the DEMONIC property charge bill.
I speak the minds of majority of Akwa Ibomites, and wish to convey our position to you, that we condemn the bill in its entirety and reject it outrightly.
The civil servants in the state will be affected, prices of goods will skyrocket, as everyone will try to keep pace. the workers will demand for a higher pay from the government, to enable them meet their needs.
Sir, at the end, the bill will still take the burden back to the State Government, who complains of insufficient fund most times.
If there should be a bill, we will appreciate to see Akpanusoh sponsor a bill to reduce the imprest and allowances of the state House of Assembly and not target a bill to further compound the woes of the masses in the state.
The proposed bill will in future cause deaths, more hunger and killings, long after Akpanusoh and you have left the Assembly.
My Speaker, what are the legacies you will leave in the House? What will you be remembered for? Will you be counted as a speaker who brought untold hardship to the people of my beloved state?
Think, I say think…
Never again shall darkness triumph over light.
A REPUTATION FOUNDED ON INTEGRITY MUST BE NURTURED BY TRUTH
Eneh John is an investigative Journalist, Human Rights Activist, and Publisher of Trail Reporters News. (www.trailreporters.com)