There is a popular saying that what is worth doing, is worth doing well. Let me commend my good friend and brother, the member representing Itu state constituency in the House of Assembly who doubles as the chairman of the Ad hoc Committee investigating the alleged fraud in the handling of the Anchor Poultry Borrowers Scheme, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, for exhibiting high sense of maturity, yesterday, by revoking the much-criticised ‘warrant of arrest’ issued against one of his invitees, Engr Ufot Ebong, for failing to ‘honour’ the panel’s invitation on Thursday, November 10, 2016.

Suffice it to say, this responsive action of Ituen’s led investigative panel has further rekindled my conviction that the original intention of the panel is not to witch-hunt anyone but, to unravel the alleged fraudulent practice(s) in the scheme and recommend appropriate sanction against anyone found culpable of the crime.

To achieve this feat, members of the panel must not hold a pre-judged opinion of any of their invitees. The panel should as a matter of principle, detach itself from any act or action that will rubbish its final report on this all-important matter.

Again, all invitees should be presumed innocent and be given rights of fair hearing and opportunity to express themselves and to defend their action(s) as regards this scheme, by the panel.

Much as I do, the people of Akwa Ibom state are also interested to know who did what and on what occasion, in connection with this scheme.

And much as I am interested in the outcome of this investigation, I will continue to keep an open mind until the report is made public after its submission on the floor of the House of Assembly.

May I implore the sixth Assembly under the leadership of my close friend, brother and in-law, Barr. Onofiok Luke, not to attempt to sweep this important matter of public interest under the carpet. Because, doing so, will paint a very sad and negative picture of the “People’s Assembly” and possibly cast public doubts on the ability of the erudite state lawmakers to perform their guaranteed constitutional duties; and to carry out their first line charge of oversight function.

Finally, corruption is a human-devil that must be kicked out from our society by all and sundry, if Akwa Ibom people must enjoy the dividend of electing a government. But in doing that, we should not compromise due process of law and decorum.

It would be recalled that the member representing Essien Udim state constituency, Hon. Nse Ntuen, and his Ibesikpo Asutan counterpart, Elder Aniekan Uko, had during a plenary session of the House of Assembly alleged fraudulent practice(s) in the process of selecting the 3,862 beneficiaries of the N3.5b CBN Poultry Borrowers Scheme by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Engr. Ufot Ebong.

The matter was referred to an Adhoc Committee chaired by Idongesit Ituen. On November 3, 2016, the panel commenced public hearing on the matter and has two weeks to submit its findings to the House of Assembly. It is expected to conclude its public hearing today, Friday, November 18, 2016.

*Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator cum social critic


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