Youths of the two communities, Obio Etoi and Obio Ofot, where the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo is located, have threatened to disrupt the World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Zambia. The youths have said the Akwa Ibom government should fulfill its promises to them if they wanted the match to go on in peace.
Youths from the communities numbering about 200 with different placards alleged that despite the beautiful edifice, members of the communities were still unemployed, while the state government has not constructed roads into the communities as the parties agreed before the stadium was built.
Sunday Peters, the youth leader of Obio Etoi village, who led the protesters, said since 2011 when Julius Berger commenced work at the stadium the villagers have nothing to show for it.
“The company blocked all diversion ways to the community with their heavy equipment and machines, at a point we had to sell our land to maintain the road. That is why we are crying to the state government and we will continue to cry until something is done.”
According to him, because of Julius Berger’s action, the communities within the stadium have become flooded as most water ways have been blocked by its equipment.
Eteidung Ezekiel Inyang Ekott, the village head of the Obio Etoi, said that the youths’ action was not meant to disturb the Super Eagles’ match that is coming to the communities, but to attract government attention to their promises to the communities. He said several letters from his palace to the state government reminding it of the plight of the host communities had been ignored.
Ephraim Inyang, the state Commissioner of Works, who came to the protest venue with Charles Udo, the Information Commissioner, said the road had been earmarked for construction. He added that works will commence in a week’s time.