A Lagos-based Human Rights Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, ESQ has attributed the murder of Iniubong Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy in Akwa Ibom State to outcome of misplaced priority by the State government.
Late Umoren in her quest to get a job was abducted, raped and murdered last week by one Uduak Frank Akpan, 20 in a guise of offering her a job.
Nigerians both at home and in diaspora have continued to condemn the act and have called for a thorough investigation as well as prosecution of the culprit(s).
But Mr. Effiong (ESQ) in a press conference held at Watbridge Hotels and Suites, Uyo, on Wednesday said it would be intellectually dishonest to discuss only the killing of the young lady without relating to the circumstances that led to her death.
The Activist blamed the Akwa Ibom State government led by Mr Udom Emmanuel on its failure to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths despite the huge allocations and resources of the State.
He said if the problem of unemployment and gross mismanagement of revenue accruing to the State remained unaddressed; youths would continue to fall prey to scammers who have taken advantage of the unemployment rate in the State.
Buttressing his point, the Lawyer said, “as Nigerians continue to mourn with us over the killing of Iniubong Umoren, history will judge us harshly if we fail to examine how her own government by omission or commission contributed to her untimely death. I say this with every sense of responsibility.
“Iniubong was an orphan, a 26-year-old graduate of Philosophy. She was poor and unemployed. Instead of deploying the huge resources of the State for job creation, Gov Udom Emmanuel has ostensibly sworn to continue to waste the resources on frivolities.
“It has been a painful harvest of misplaced priorities since the governor assumed office in 2015. Few examples will suffice: in the 2021 approved budget of the State, a whopping sum of N64.828 billion has been earmarked for the administrative or running cost for the government house, Deputy Governor, SSG and allied offices whereas only N14.557 billion has been budgeted for the Social Sector including health, Education, youths/sports, Life Enhancement Agency and the likes.
“The N2 billion sunk into building a needless new governor’s lodge in Lagos State even though the State house of Assembly claimed it budgeted N1.2 billion would have been used to generate employment opportunities for many young people like Iniubong.
“Between 2020 and 2021 fiscal years, N11.750 billion have been earmarked for the construction of the unconstitutional State worship centre which is purely a white elephant project. If this amount were to be deployed as interest free loans or business grants to the teeming youths of Akwa Ibom at the sum of N1million per person, at least 11, 000 people would have been empowered with N1million each which will reduce the frightening high unemployment rate in the State.
“Again, the governor spends N2.5billion annually for ‘routine maintenance’ of private aircraft purchased by his predecessor for the governor’s exclusive use. If N2.5billion is invested annually to upgrade public schools in the State which are currently in a state of comatose, it will enrich the human capital of the State and produce more employable graduates. As we sit here today, Akwa Ibom State University is on strike because the governor has not paid workers of the institution.
“In the guise of creating jobs, the governor introduced an initiative known as Ibom 3000 project aimed at training youths in various fields while this may appear commendable, it is worthy of note that only a paltry sum of N50million was budgeted for the project in the 2021 budget.”
The Lawyer who decried the 2020 third quarter data report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) placing the State second in the unemployment index in the country urged the governor to assent to the State Youth Development Fund Bill which according to him would create opportunities for economic empowerment of the unemployed youths in the State.
While calling for a scrupulous investigation into the murder case of Late Umoren, the human rights lawyer said the only way to honour the memory of the deceased is to name/rename a public building or institution after her and channel the huge State’s resources to job creation.
He however made fifteen demands from the state government among which were; ”naming/renaming a public building or institution in Uyo after Late Miss Iniubong Umoren to honour her memory and to constantly remind predators that rape, assault, murder and other forms of violence against women are intolerable in Akwa Ibom state.
“Creation of Domestic and sexual violence response taskforce complimented by a law, dedicated phone lines for victims to call and report abuses and a special court to try cases related thereto.
”The State government should immediately come up with specific concrete and verifiable policies and measures to address and significantly reduce the alarming high unemployment rate in Akwa Ibom state.
”The Akwa Ibom State Youth Development Fund Bill should be re-passed by the State House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor without delay.”
He added that failure of the State government to accede to the demands made in the press conference, “the youths of Akwa Ibom State will be led on a peaceful protest to occupy the government House and the State House of Assembly” adding, “I will happily lead the protest, we shall never be silenced.”
In his response, the honourable Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Ini Ememobong said unemployment is not only peculiar to Akwa Ibom State saying that people should check the unemployment rates in other countries before rushing to blame the situation on government.
He said, “What is the GDP of America, and what is the unemployment rates there, what is the GDP of China and the unemployment rates in China? In Ireland, what is the unemployment rates there? These are things that are common sense. We are in economic crisis and unemployment is global.”