Ikot Nakanda community in Akpabuyo local government area of Cross River state have cried out over what they described as “a deliberate attempt” to abandon the federal government’s skill acquisition centre, undertaken by the Ministry of Niger Delta.
The Community Liaison Officer and Youth Leader, Comrade Effiong Effiom, who spoke on behalf of the community, said their hope was being dashed with the abandonment of the project which took off in 2009.
He said: “When the project was brought here in 2009, our people were very happy that their youths would benefit from the employment opportunities and training which it would provide. The community was not even given compensation for the land because our fathers were happy to see the place developed especially when we were told that the project would be completed in 18 months.
“As it is now, we don’t even have any hope that the project will be completed not to talk of the commissioning. The last time the supervising minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Mr Darius Ishaku, came here he spoke of re-awarding the contract, and that the ministry was having problem with the companies handling the project, but till date, he has not announce the termination of the contract.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Minister of Niger Delta, Darius Ishaku, had when he paid a working visit to Cross River, said: “The delay in the completion of Bakassi/Akpabuyo Skills Acquisition Centre is due to poor performance from the contractor and we are trying to address it. We hope that very soon work will begin again.”
It would be recalled that the Skill Acquisition Centre dream came into being in 2009 through late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration as part of several measures to engage and train youths in skills acquisition in order to restiveness and unemployment in the nine Niger Delta states.