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Akwa Ibom children ply dangerous river in rickety boats to access education

They suffer the risk of drowning in rickety river. Two children were said to have been rescued when a boat mishap happened a fortnight ago leaving them severely injured, after being rescued by a skilled swimmer

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Akwa Ibom children ply dangerous river in rickety boats to access education

Pupils using boat to cross over the river

Pupils using boat to cross over the river

‘We’ve lost faith in government’ – Village Head

By Uduakabasi Ikpat/Ofonime Honesty & Joseph Atainyang

Like a fairy tale, told in the days of old, when humanity coped with nature in most catastrophic circumstances, villages exist in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, where school pupils would cross a deadly river on a daily basis to access basic education.

School children from four years old are exposed to harsh whether condition as they walk through swamps, get drenched before crossing a fishing settlement to where they acquire education.

Unlike what now obtains in modern cities in Nigeria, where children enjoy the luxury of being conveyed in air conditioned vehicles by parents and guardians to and from their schools, those of Ikot Mfon and Ndiya Usung Inyang communities in Etinan and Nsit Ubium Local Government Areas, respectively, are not so fortunate.

They suffer the risk of drowning in rickety river. Two children were said to have been rescued when a boat mishap happened a fortnight ago leaving them severely injured, after being rescued by a skilled swimmer.

The Ikot Mfon/Ndiya River serves as the boundary between the two communities.
The river is where a popular Catholic Missionary identified as Reverend Father Fintan drowned while spreading the gospel of Christ as far back as the late 1800s. His tombstone stands on the river bank.

The children attend Goodnews International Nursery School, Ndiya Usung Inyang; Qua-Iboe Church Central School, Ndiya and Comprehensive Secondary School, Ndiya. Meanwhile, the only educational institution available in Ikot Mfon community is the Saint Francis Catholic Primary School.

Ikot Mfon is in Ward 2, in Etinan. It has no social amenities like electricity, motorable roads, and having been cut off from the conjoined Ndiya community of Nsit Ubium LGA, has no attraction to its local market, where petty traders gather to sell their wares.

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Inhabited by local farmers, fishermen and artisans, and subjected to unfavourable conditions, the community is unhappy at the level of abandonment by government. They condemn a situation in which government officials would come to them during elections period, take their votes but run back to the state capital, Uyo, as soon as the political period was over.

Speaking with our team, the Village Head of Ikot Mfon, Eteidung Oscar Ekanem said the road from Ndiya which links the bridge to his community existed before the civil war.

Eteidung Ekanem said it is a federal government road leading to Ikot Ubo and also to Abak town. He lamented that the collapsed bridge had long failed without efforts to get it reconstructed, until the year 2016 when a lorry loaded with about 80 bags of kernel fell into the river, destroying the dilapidated bridge in the process.

Eteidung Ekanem, who spoke through village council chairman, Obong John Williamson stated that all four persons on board perished in the river, including a police officer, with only one survivor.

His words, “The road had been there before the civil war. We don’t have government attention here. They only come here when they need our votes. But after every election, they would leave us and run back to Uyo.

“That river has consumed many persons. All four persons died, except one in 2016 when a kernel merchant wanted to cross the bridge with about 70 or 80 bags of the product. The police officer who came with them also died. It was published everywhere in the media.

“The whole of this Ward II does not have electricity. When they brought electricity here, they diverted it to Udom’s (the governor’s) side. We shall never be part of this system again. We are not Ikot Mfon (grace family). They have counted us out of everything they are doing.

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“I am calling on the federal government to come to our rescue, knowing that the state government has no good intention towards us. They have come for inspection over 30 times. Nobody is doing anything about it. We are crying daily because of our children. Please, tell the government to come to our aid”, the visibly emotional man concluded.

Aligning his views with that of Eteidung Ekanem, a family head in Ikot Mfon, Obong John Francis Aaron observed that the situation is deadly, especially as children are daily crossing the river to acquire education, adding that it also affects the women who engage in commercial activities.

The Youth Leader of Ikot Mfon, Mr Francis Udofot and Celestine Johnson, a youth of the community, decried the anguish they experience in the area. They said the community boasts of human capital that engages in agro based activities, as they are blessed with enormous vegetation and arable land. They mentioned that they have crude oil and oil palm.

Our team spoke with school children who shared their thoughts on the circumstance. Happiness Anietie and Maurice Etuk are Basic 5 pupils of the Goodnews International Nursery School who said they are always scared while crossing the river.

Grace Peter, Basic 4, and three children of the same parents: Mary Patrick, Matthew Patrick and Gabriel Patrick of Basic 3, 2 and 1 all from Usung Esuk of Ikot Mfon village called on the government to step into the matter and safe them from imminent danger.

Market women, including Comfort Morrison from Ikot Ante, Bibiana Michael from Ikot Mfon and Eno Evangelist from Ndiya lamented that their businesses which hitherto had flourished, was currently crumbling after the collapse of the linking bridge. They informed that their fare is always N100 to cross over to another side of the road.

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Meanwhile, a local miner of sharp sand, William Jeremiah, together with Ekomobong Samuel told our team that the two communities have been living peacefully ever before the bridge collapsed. They narrated that many people do not find it easy to cross the water.

They maintained that the school children would even stand in the rain for a long time and sometimes return home when there is no canoe to paddle them to the other side.

However, the federal government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has constantly been announcing her interest in developing the local communities and linking them up with cities to boost economic viability. The government has promised to prioritize the development of every part of the country.

In his Democracy Day Address, President Buhari repeatedly stated that his government would ensure the construction of critical feeder roads in the local areas so as to facilitate the transportation of food and other commodities.

Meanwhile, the member representing Etinan Federal Constituency, Barr Onofiok Luke could not respond to the development as calls and text messages sent to his cell phone attracted no feedback.

Ikot Mfon Community is however blessed with prominent scholars like Prof Ntiero Umoren of the University of Uyo and the late Dr Dennis Umoren, while the neighboring Ndiya of Nsit Ubium is blessed with the former Akwa Ibom State Secretary to Government and Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, as well as Mr Inyang Unya.
Their people called on them to properly relate with relevant government agencies in order to wipe their tears away.

Education

In Uyo, Southern Atlantic Polytechnic Film Academy debuts Film Festival

While putting papers together for the first ever Southern Atlantic Film Festival the Polytechnic Management today announced that the Filmmaking Department of the institution will soon Commence the Production of Blockbuster Film Production as its first project in line with the Department’s vision of producing international Standard Films and projecting their Students in the Films.

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In Uyo, Southern Atlantic Polytechnic Film Academy debuts Film Festival

Southern Atlantic Polytechnic Film Academy debuts Film Festival

Southern Atlantic Polytechnic Film Academy debuts Film Festival

The Southern Academy Polytechnic was recently commissioned by the Akwa Ibom State Government.

The Filmmaking Academy Department of the highly accredited Polytechnic is gathering momentum as several foreign professional Filmmaking institutions are showing interest in the Academy.

The Polytechnic Management has acquired professional Filmmaking Equipments for the Academy.

Commissioning of Southern Atlantic Polytechnic recently

Commissioning of Southern Atlantic Polytechnic recently

While putting papers together for the first ever Southern Atlantic Film Festival the Polytechnic Management today announced that the Filmmaking Department of the institution will soon Commence the Production of Blockbuster Film Production as its first project in line with the Department’s vision of producing international Standard Films and projecting their Students in the Films.

The Filmmaking Academy undertake Courses on:

* Acting
* Technical Dance
* Screenplay and Scriptwriting
* Technical and Staunt Acting
* Verious Kinds of Film Editing,
* Effects and Animation
* Directing
* Production Management
* Costuming
* Creative / Character Make Up
* Continuity
* Cinematography
* Modelling
* Still Photography
* Set Designs
* Set Lighting
* Set Sound Engineering.

* Scholarship Grants Available
* Hostel Accommodation Available

Accredited By National Board For Technical Education (NBTE)

Scholarships Opportunities Available For Brilliant Students.

Admission is in progress,
Admission forms are available at the Polytechnic Campus along Airport Express Road, Uyo Akwa Ibom State

Call 08108074939 or 08033238037
For Admission Forms.

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Education

A’Ibom State Polytechnic has improved Academically and Physically – Dr. Samuel Edet

Edet said the institution successfully secured accreditation for 32, out of 33 courses presented before the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), saying according to the Exit Report from the NBTE, it was the first time an institution recorded such feat.

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A’Ibom State Polytechnic has improved Academically and Physically – Dr. Samuel Edet

Acting Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic Governing Council, Dr Samuel Edet, said the Governing Council has enjoyed a good working relationship with the present management of the school, saying there has been remarkable improvements in terms of physical structures and academic performance in the state-owned Polytechnic.

He was making the remarks during a Press Conference in the School, Friday, as part of programmes to mark the 6th Convocation Ceremony of the Institution.

Edet said the institution successfully secured accreditation for 32, out of 33 courses presented before the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), saying according to the Exit Report from the NBTE, it was the first time an institution recorded such feat.


While describing the Institution’s graduands as being of high standard, Dr Edet said the school is one of the Polytechnics with the best Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities in Nigeria and pledged that the Governing Council under his able leadership, remains undaunted in ensuring the institution attains an enviable height.

On his part, Acting Rector of Institution, Dr Moses Umohobong, said the conferment of
National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) on Students who completed their academic programmes for the 2014/2015, 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic sessions, will hold in the Institution’s premises, on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Flanked by the Registrar, Dr (Mrs) Mary Ndah, the Rector pointed out that the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel who will grace the event as Special Guest, is expected to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the 52 Rooms Udom Emmanuel Academic Block.

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He said the institution will use the event to confer Fellowship Awards on some deserving personalities and also exhibit some works done by its students.

While thanking Governor Emmanuel for his support to the School, Dr Umohobong said said the institution has zero tolerance for cultism and further assured that necessary security measures have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free convocation ceremony.

He said the institution has written officially to government on its intention to gain accreditation for other courses, especially, mechanical engineering.

About 9,096 Students shall convocate during the event.

The Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic was established by Akwa Ibom State Government Edict No. 11 of 1991. The decision to establish the Institution was taken after the creation of Akwa Ibom State from Cross River State in 1987.

Major Credits from Uwakmfon Dan

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Education

New Akwa Poly Rector resumes office, Takes over from Israel Affia

The new acting rector of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Dr. Moses Umobong has resumed office following the expiration tenure of the immediate past rector, Dr. Israel Affia.

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New Akwa Poly Rector resumes office, Takes over from Israel Affia

Dr. Moses Umobong in a warm embrace of Dr. Isreal Afia

Dr. Moses Umobong in a warm embrace of Dr. Isreal Afia

The new acting rector of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Dr. Moses Umobong has resumed office following the expiration tenure of the immediate past rector, Dr. Israel Affia.

At the taking over ceremony which took place at the council chambers of the institution, Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area on Friday, saw the outgone rector handing over all the school documents at his disposal to the newly appointed acting rector.

Presenting the documents, the outgone rector, Dr. Israel Affia thanked God for taking from the beginning to the end of his tenure. Dr. Affia, who served for two terms of six years said he was happy to have finished his tenure in good health and still strong.

He noted that his position as rector of the institution was a race which he had passed through difficulties in the course of discharging his duties, adding that through the support of the Governing Council members, management staff and students he recorded successes in the institution.

According to him, “I want to thank God for the race I have just finished. I passed through a lot of blackmails, criticisms and frustrations, but God saw me through. My prayer is that God that saw me through will see my successor through.”

The two-term rector said he was leaving the institution better than the way he met it six years ago, and that he was fulfilled with his achievements. He used the ceremony to congratulate his successor, Dr. Moses Umobong on his appointment, praying God to help him succeed in his tenure even as he described him as his close friend whom he has been working together.

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In his words, “I call on everyone to rally around my successor in office. I am available for any kind of advice he may need from me. Do not make those mistakes that I made knowingly or unknowingly.” Affia however, openly opologized to people he might have steeped on toes in the course of discharging his duties and pleaded for forgiveness.

In his acceptance speech, the new acting rector, Dr. Moses Umobong said he was honoured to have been appointed by Governor Udom Emmanuel and subsequently taking over the mantle leadership position of the institution.

He commended his predecessor, Dr. Israel Affia for successfully discharging his functions measurably in the past six years and congratulated him for his stewardship in the institution and prayed God to give him good hope in his subsequent and future endeavours.

The acting rector assured all members of the polytechnic community that a new dawn has come and that his administration is not only going to adopt a new and different approach to achieving the objectives for which the institution was established, but is also poised to encourage and promote an all-inclusive governance in tandem with global practices.

Dr. Umobong emphasised that the overall aim of the approach is to relaunch the institution back into the comity of renowned and preferred polyphonics nationally and internationally.

He maintained that the leadership of the institution under his watch shall strive to priorities the welfare and security of all staff and students of the polytechnic, adding that modern and critical infrastructure and resources necessary for effective learning shall be provided through collaboration with the government and relevant organisations within and outside the State.

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Earlier in his opening remarks, the acting chairman of the Governing Council, Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Dr. Samuel Edet described the day as a history making day in the institution. He congratulated the acting rector on his appointment and called on everyone to give the same support his predecessor enjoyed while in office.

The Governing Council chairman warned everyone to allow the new rector function in his capacity for the benefit of the institution, saying that if the rector his given a free hand to operate, the polytechnic will grow. He urged the people of the polytechnic to pray for the new rector to succeed, noting that the future of Akwa Ibom children is at stake if the rector fails.

The handing over ceremony was witnessed by Governing Council members, management staff, head of departments, labour leaders as well as students of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic.

(c) EMMANUEL AKPAN

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