Inside the abandoned hospital project in Ukanafun.

Abasifreke Effiong

The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, CJID, has urged indigenes of Ukanafun local government area, Akwa Ibom state to engage their government representatives and the Akwa Ibom state government on the abandoned General hospital project at Ikot Akpa Ntuk.

The organisation made the call at a town hall meeting in Ukanafun while interacting with indigenes of the area as part of its public accountability project called “Udeme”.

Indigenes of the area had decried that despite not have any other medical facility, the State government has abandoned the project.

The organisation urged indigenes of Ukanafun to engage their representatives and the State government on the abandoned hospital project, saying that over N600 million has been budgeted for the project between 2006 and 2021 by the State government.

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It regretted that despite the non-availability of an alternative healthcare facility in the local government area, the hospital project has been abandoned.

The project was initiated by the Chief Godswill Akpabio administration.

It also said that the town hall meeting was part of its public enlightenment programme on the “Udeme” project, its initiative seeking to increase and strengthen citizens’ participation in public accountability, and access to governments’ budgets and empowering them to seek accountability by tracking and monitoring implementation of government projects in their communities.

The Head of Communications, CJID, Asari Ndem, said the essence of “Udeme” is to sensitize citizens to get involve in what the government is doing within their locality and urged the people of Ukanafun to engage relevant government MDAs on the hospital and other projects captured in the budget for the area.

Ndem stressed the need for people to get to know their representatives at different levels of government and get them to ensure that whatever projects or programmes assigned to the area by governments are implemented.

Speaking on the role of the media, civil society organizations and citizens in social accountability, Mr. Peace Edem, of Youth For Change Initiative, YOFCI, told citizens to stop being indifferent about following on government’s projects and programmes in their community.

“Citizens should not sit on the fence, they should put government to work. The worrisome reason why we came to Ukanafun is the hospital project. The local government has no medical facility that is functional, that is why we came here to discuss with the stakeholders, CSOs, the media as well as the citizens so that they can rise up and work together and demand accountability.”

The organisation also paid a courtesy and sensitization visit to the Paramount Ruler of Ukanafun.

Resource persons at the event talked on “Roles of community leaders, religious and traditional rulers in social accountability”, “Understanding public procurement and budgeting”