Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

DR HENRY ARCHIBONG: THE VOICE OF ITU/IBIONO PEOPLE

There is no gainsaying the fact that Dr. Archibong is a legislative firebrand, a bundle of talents and a blessing to the House of Representatives. This is evident in the quality of his debates and contributions on the floor of the House. Within the two years of his people’s centered representation since he was inaugurated on June 9, 2015 so far, he has sponsored four motions, four Bills, three petitions and two matters of urgent public importance, therefore carving out a niche for himself in the business of lawmaking as a people-centered legislator.

In July, 2015, barely one month after his inauguration, the quintessential lawmaker moved to overcome the fears first timers usually have when he took the floor of the House and presented a petition on behalf of one of his constituent, Etubom Ita Oku Ita from Obong Itam in Itu L.G.A titled “Unjust Termination of Appointment and Deprivation of Entitlements from Somotex Nigeria Limited: An Appeal for Review”. After a brilliant presentation, the petition was laid without a debate and referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions. The committee after inviting both parties for hearing and debates on the matter, found out that Etubom Ita Oku was unjustly removed from office by Somotex Nigeria Limited and immediately granted the prayers of the petitioner which included payments of his salaries and entitlements from 2004 till date and re-absorption back into the company.

In August 2015, exactly two months into the House, Dr. Archibong returned to the floor of the House with a debate on the deplorable state of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Highway with a motion titled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Rehabilitate and Construct Calabar-Itu Highway Particularly Ene Atai- Mbak- Oku Iboku Section from the Rest of Nigeria”. After a good debate, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on works. The result of the investigation of the Joint Senate and House Committee on Works made it possible for N6B to be appropriated for Rehabiliation work on the road in the 2016 budget. Just last month, the Federal Government awarded contract for construction and dualization of the said road spanning from Aba through Ikot Ekpene to Itu and down to Odukpani in Cross River State.

In the same August 2015, Dr. Archibong took to the floor again with another motion titled, “Urgent Need to Mandate The Federal Ministry of Aviation to Carry Out Screening on The Operational Reliability of All Domestic Airplanes Operating Within the Airspace of The Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Having been adopted and referred to the House Committee on Aviation, the motion received so much accolades and commendations from Nigerians across party lines, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The third motion Dr. Archibong presented on the floor of the House in October 2015 sought to add value to the industrialization policy of His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s administration and was tiltled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Take Over the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC), now Oku Iboku Pulp and Paper (OIPP) Limited in Oku Iboku, Akwa Ibom State, Over Seven Years After Privatization”. It can be recalled that the NNMC was one of the largest employers of labour in the state during its functional days. The Federal Government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had sold the company to a private investor under the “guided liquidation” principle which stated that after five years the agreement will be revoked if the company is not revived. Dr. Archibong therefore took the matter to the House when he discovered that the guided liquidation agreement was breached by the investor. After a good debate, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Privatization for further legislative action.

In the same October 2015, Dr. Archibong took to the floor of the House with another very important motion that sought to create employment for Nigerian Youths and wealth for our Nation. The motion was titled “Need to Urge Manufacturers of Cell Phones, Electronics and Electrical Appliances to Setup Their Plants and Factories in Nigeria to Assist the Nation in Technology Transfer, Job Creation and Reduction of Capital Flights”. Again, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Industry for further legislative action.

In 2016, precisely April, the federal lawmaker presented another petition belonging to Sgt. Augustine Effiong, a police officer from Ikot Usen, Ibiono Ibom L.G.A on the floor of the House. The petition, which sought redress for Sgt. Effiong who was wrongfully withdrawn from service was titled “Wrongful Withdrawal from ASP Promotion Course 2, 2006, Wrongful Prosecution for Impersonation, De-Kitting and Non-Payment of Salaries and Other Entitlements Since October 2006”. The petition was laid and referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions. The committee having sat on the matter and satisfied by the evidences and claims made by the petitioner found that the Nigerian Police was wrong in their actions, and ruled that the petitioner be reinstated and promoted accordingly with all outstanding salaries and entitlements paid.

Dr. Archibong again in the same April, 2015 presented another petition, on behalf of Major Hogan Okon Ene, a military officer, who was prematurely retired from service after sustaining major injuries during a national assignment. The petition, which was titled “Wrongful Retirement, Failure to Treat a Wounded Soldier, Discrimination, Intimidation and Gross violation of Human Rights by the Nigerian Army”, has been listed and awaiting commencement of hearing by the House Committee on Public Petitions.

In the month of September, 2016 Dr. Archibong came up with his first bill which sought to support economic diversification by creating farm settlements in different parts of the country to create jobs and employment opportunities for our youths. The bill was titled “An Act to Establish the National Farm Settlements and Empowerment Agency and for Matters Connected Therewith”. The bill, which has passed first reading in the House has been referred to the House Committee on Rules and Business for consolidation with similar bills.

It may be recalled that in the month of October last year, the Federal Civil Service Commission announced vacancies for employment and urged qualified Nigerians to apply through their application portal. Recall also that it was difficult for prospective applicants to access the portal as it only opened for a maximum of fifteen minutes after which it shuts down again; thereby making it impossible for applicants to apply. Dr. Archibong, along with two his colleagues having been briefed by their constituents on the epileptic nature of the portal, took the issue to the floor of the House and co-moved a matter of urgent public importance titled “Urgent Need to Investigate the Unwholesome Practices Involving the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) with respect to the Ongoing Recruitment Exercise Announced by the Commission”. The matter generated a lot of concern from members of the House condemning the actions of the commission. The matter was promptly adopted and investigated. The result of the investigation led to the opening of the FCSC portal for the application to be submitted.

It is no longer news that the communal clash between the Oku Iboku and Ikot Offiong communities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States respectively broke out into a serious war in December 2016 claiming many lives and displacing many families. Having met with the chiefs and youths of the area and having also visited the area for on-the-spot assessment, Dr. Archibong quickly took the matter to the House in January, 2017 upon resumption from Christmas break. In a matter of urgent public importance titled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government’s Intervention on the Recent and Ongoing Killings, Maiming and Wanton Destruction of Properties in Oku Iboku in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State by Assailants from Ikot Offiong in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State”. In presenting the matter, Dr. Archibong elucidated the historical background behind the communal war and prayed among other things, for Government to send relief materials to the people of Oku Iboku to help cushion the effect of the war, describing them as ‘internally displaced persons’. Accordingly, the matter received attention of the House, and was duly adopted. The resultant is the heavy presence of the military in the area and setting up of a high-powered committee with representatives from both communities to look into the matter. His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel also visited the area to provide succor to the affected communities.

Another feat recorded by the lawmaker came in same January, 2017 when he sponsored and presented his second bill bordering around the status of the Maritime Academy in Oron titled “An Act to Establish the Maritime University, Oron to Make Comprehensive provisions for Due Management and Administration and for Related Matters”. This bill sought to make the Maritime Academy in Oron to assume full status of a university, awarding degrees to grandaunts. The bill which has so far received commendations across Akwa Ibom State, has passed second reading in the House of now awaiting public hearing.

Dr. Archibong’s bill for an “An Act to Provide for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Prevention and Control of Diseases and for Related Matters” and another bill for an “Act to Establish the Mining Areas Development Commission, etc. to have Organized Management and Administrative Structure for more Effectiveness and Development and for Connected Matters”, have been listed by the House of Representatives awaiting presentation on the floor of the House.

It is instructive to note that none of Dr. Archibong’s motions, bills, petitions or even matters of urgent public importance has suffered rejection from the House. This is evident of a man who understands the system, the place value of his people and to key in properly in order to address their problems and issues in the most constructive and legitimate manner.

His workaholic nature as a medical doctor has certainly rubbed off on his extra legislative and oversight functions. For instance, Dr. Archibong is a member of many standing committees in the House. He is a member of committees on; (1.) Niger Delta Affairs; (2.) Constitutional Review (a special committee where he is representing Akwa Ibom State); (3.) Federal Capital Territory; (4.) Federal Road Safety Commission; (5.) Diaspora Matters; (6.) Agricultural Institutions; (7.) Health Care Services; (8.) HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria; and (9) Water Resources. He is also a member of Ad-Hoc Committees including; (1.) Committee to investigate the Accounting Procedures of Federal Inland Revenue Service; (2.) Committee on Deadline of Digital Broadcasting; (3.) Committee on Effects of Illegal Lumbering and Deforestation in Nigeria; (4.) Committee to Investigate the FG Bailout Funds to State Governments; (5.) Committee on Investigation of the Harmful Effects of Coca Cola drinks and very recently, he has been appointed Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Need to Re-Evaluate the Health Infrastructure of the Federal Capital Territory to Ensure that Communities and Districts are Duly Served.DR HENRY ARCHIBONG: THE VOICE OF ITU/IBIONO PEOPLE

There is no gainsaying the fact that Dr. Archibong is a legislative firebrand, a bundle of talents and a blessing to the House of Representatives. This is evident in the quality of his debates and contributions on the floor of the House. Within the two years of his people’s centered representation since he was inaugurated on June 9, 2015 so far, he has sponsored four motions, four Bills, three petitions and two matters of urgent public importance, therefore carving out a niche for himself in the business of lawmaking as a people-centered legislator.

In July, 2015, barely one month after his inauguration, the quintessential lawmaker moved to overcome the fears first timers usually have when he took the floor of the House and presented a petition on behalf of one of his constituent, Etubom Ita Oku Ita from Obong Itam in Itu L.G.A titled “Unjust Termination of Appointment and Deprivation of Entitlements from Somotex Nigeria Limited: An Appeal for Review”. After a brilliant presentation, the petition was laid without a debate and referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions. The committee after inviting both parties for hearing and debates on the matter, found out that Etubom Ita Oku was unjustly removed from office by Somotex Nigeria Limited and immediately granted the prayers of the petitioner which included payments of his salaries and entitlements from 2004 till date and re-absorption back into the company.

In August 2015, exactly two months into the House, Dr. Archibong returned to the floor of the House with a debate on the deplorable state of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Highway with a motion titled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Rehabilitate and Construct Calabar-Itu Highway Particularly Ene Atai- Mbak- Oku Iboku Section from the Rest of Nigeria”. After a good debate, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on works. The result of the investigation of the Joint Senate and House Committee on Works made it possible for N6B to be appropriated for Rehabiliation work on the road in the 2016 budget. Just last month, the Federal Government awarded contract for construction and dualization of the said road spanning from Aba through Ikot Ekpene to Itu and down to Odukpani in Cross River State.

In the same August 2015, Dr. Archibong took to the floor again with another motion titled, “Urgent Need to Mandate The Federal Ministry of Aviation to Carry Out Screening on The Operational Reliability of All Domestic Airplanes Operating Within the Airspace of The Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Having been adopted and referred to the House Committee on Aviation, the motion received so much accolades and commendations from Nigerians across party lines, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The third motion Dr. Archibong presented on the floor of the House in October 2015 sought to add value to the industrialization policy of His Excellency, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s administration and was tiltled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government to Take Over the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC), now Oku Iboku Pulp and Paper (OIPP) Limited in Oku Iboku, Akwa Ibom State, Over Seven Years After Privatization”. It can be recalled that the NNMC was one of the largest employers of labour in the state during its functional days. The Federal Government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had sold the company to a private investor under the “guided liquidation” principle which stated that after five years the agreement will be revoked if the company is not revived. Dr. Archibong therefore took the matter to the House when he discovered that the guided liquidation agreement was breached by the investor. After a good debate, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Privatization for further legislative action.

In the same October 2015, Dr. Archibong took to the floor of the House with another very important motion that sought to create employment for Nigerian Youths and wealth for our Nation. The motion was titled “Need to Urge Manufacturers of Cell Phones, Electronics and Electrical Appliances to Setup Their Plants and Factories in Nigeria to Assist the Nation in Technology Transfer, Job Creation and Reduction of Capital Flights”. Again, the motion was adopted and referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Industry for further legislative action.

In 2016, precisely April, the federal lawmaker presented another petition belonging to Sgt. Augustine Effiong, a police officer from Ikot Usen, Ibiono Ibom L.G.A on the floor of the House. The petition, which sought redress for Sgt. Effiong who was wrongfully withdrawn from service was titled “Wrongful Withdrawal from ASP Promotion Course 2, 2006, Wrongful Prosecution for Impersonation, De-Kitting and Non-Payment of Salaries and Other Entitlements Since October 2006”. The petition was laid and referred to the House Committee on Public Petitions. The committee having sat on the matter and satisfied by the evidences and claims made by the petitioner found that the Nigerian Police was wrong in their actions, and ruled that the petitioner be reinstated and promoted accordingly with all outstanding salaries and entitlements paid.

Dr. Archibong again in the same April, 2015 presented another petition, on behalf of Major Hogan Okon Ene, a military officer, who was prematurely retired from service after sustaining major injuries during a national assignment. The petition, which was titled “Wrongful Retirement, Failure to Treat a Wounded Soldier, Discrimination, Intimidation and Gross violation of Human Rights by the Nigerian Army”, has been listed and awaiting commencement of hearing by the House Committee on Public Petitions.

In the month of September, 2016 Dr. Archibong came up with his first bill which sought to support economic diversification by creating farm settlements in different parts of the country to create jobs and employment opportunities for our youths. The bill was titled “An Act to Establish the National Farm Settlements and Empowerment Agency and for Matters Connected Therewith”. The bill, which has passed first reading in the House has been referred to the House Committee on Rules and Business for consolidation with similar bills.

It may be recalled that in the month of October last year, the Federal Civil Service Commission announced vacancies for employment and urged qualified Nigerians to apply through their application portal. Recall also that it was difficult for prospective applicants to access the portal as it only opened for a maximum of fifteen minutes after which it shuts down again; thereby making it impossible for applicants to apply. Dr. Archibong, along with two his colleagues having been briefed by their constituents on the epileptic nature of the portal, took the issue to the floor of the House and co-moved a matter of urgent public importance titled “Urgent Need to Investigate the Unwholesome Practices Involving the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) with respect to the Ongoing Recruitment Exercise Announced by the Commission”. The matter generated a lot of concern from members of the House condemning the actions of the commission. The matter was promptly adopted and investigated. The result of the investigation led to the opening of the FCSC portal for the application to be submitted.

It is no longer news that the communal clash between the Oku Iboku and Ikot Offiong communities in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States respectively broke out into a serious war in December 2016 claiming many lives and displacing many families. Having met with the chiefs and youths of the area and having also visited the area for on-the-spot assessment, Dr. Archibong quickly took the matter to the House in January, 2017 upon resumption from Christmas break. In a matter of urgent public importance titled “Urgent Need for the Federal Government’s Intervention on the Recent and Ongoing Killings, Maiming and Wanton Destruction of Properties in Oku Iboku in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State by Assailants from Ikot Offiong in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State”. In presenting the matter, Dr. Archibong elucidated the historical background behind the communal war and prayed among other things, for Government to send relief materials to the people of Oku Iboku to help cushion the effect of the war, describing them as ‘internally displaced persons’. Accordingly, the matter received attention of the House, and was duly adopted. The resultant is the heavy presence of the military in the area and setting up of a high-powered committee with representatives from both communities to look into the matter. His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel also visited the area to provide succor to the affected communities.

Another feat recorded by the lawmaker came in same January, 2017 when he sponsored and presented his second bill bordering around the status of the Maritime Academy in Oron titled “An Act to Establish the Maritime University, Oron to Make Comprehensive provisions for Due Management and Administration and for Related Matters”. This bill sought to make the Maritime Academy in Oron to assume full status of a university, awarding degrees to grandaunts. The bill which has so far received commendations across Akwa Ibom State, has passed second reading in the House of now awaiting public hearing.

Dr. Archibong’s bill for an “An Act to Provide for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Prevention and Control of Diseases and for Related Matters” and another bill for an “Act to Establish the Mining Areas Development Commission, etc. to have Organized Management and Administrative Structure for more Effectiveness and Development and for Connected Matters”, have been listed by the House of Representatives awaiting presentation on the floor of the House.

It is instructive to note that none of Dr. Archibong’s motions, bills, petitions or even matters of urgent public importance has suffered rejection from the House. This is evident of a man who understands the system, the place value of his people and to key in properly in order to address their problems and issues in the most constructive and legitimate manner.

His workaholic nature as a medical doctor has certainly rubbed off on his extra legislative and oversight functions. For instance, Dr. Archibong is a member of many standing committees in the House. He is a member of committees on; (1.) Niger Delta Affairs; (2.) Constitutional Review (a special committee where he is representing Akwa Ibom State); (3.) Federal Capital Territory; (4.) Federal Road Safety Commission; (5.) Diaspora Matters; (6.) Agricultural Institutions; (7.) Health Care Services; (8.) HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria; and (9) Water Resources. He is also a member of Ad-Hoc Committees including; (1.) Committee to investigate the Accounting Procedures of Federal Inland Revenue Service; (2.) Committee on Deadline of Digital Broadcasting; (3.) Committee on Effects of Illegal Lumbering and Deforestation in Nigeria; (4.) Committee to Investigate the FG Bailout Funds to State Governments; (5.) Committee on Investigation of the Harmful Effects of Coca Cola drinks and very recently, he has been appointed Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Need to Re-Evaluate the Health Infrastructure of the Federal Capital Territory to Ensure that Communities and Districts are Duly Served.

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