When the expression “Man’s Inhumanity to Man”, was first used by Robert Burns, it rapidly created a strange urge for profound reflection on whether or not human beings were actually made to mourn. While the notion was saddening, it however served as a useful tool to illuminate the society what unadulterated brutality can best be defined. For most people in political circles today, especially the power-drunken, being brutal is their favourite pleasure, not minding whether such brutality offends human or social justice. As horrible as this truth sounds, it is, unfortunately, part of the reality that adorns the person of Ephraim Inyangeyen, from Akwa Ibom State.
Even if it could be part of man’s nature to unleash cruelty on another of his kind, the tough and unpleasant consequences on the staff, family, friends, relatives, and customers of Food Affairs, would have, at least, created enormous reasons to disembark on the highly condemnable vicious act. It is more than two years since the unlawful, ridiculous, ferocious and excruciating demolition of the Food Affairs business premises in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, without due process and payment of compensation, about which the staff and management of the business are still traumatized while counting their losses.
Ephraim Inyangeyen, former Commissioner for Works in Governor Udom’s first administration (2015-2019) on June 27, 2019, maliciously demolished a business building belonging to Food Affairs Limited at No.1, Uyo – Ekpene Road, Ikot Ekpene during business hours without any prior notice and/or payment of appropriate compensation just to secure a reappointment as a commissioner in Governor Udom’s second administration which he eventually did.
Properties worth millions of naira ranging from furniture, electronics, refrigerating and air condition equipment, raw, semi-finished and finished food products, fittings, toys, generators, staff personal effects as well as cash were smashed by the two bulldozers that abruptly entered the premises on the command and supervision of Ephraim Inyangeyen.
To attract public justification for this inhuman act, Inyangeyen publicly lied that former Governor, Godswill Obot Akpabio paid the sum of 150 Million naira, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel paid 100 Million naira and he paid 30 Million, as compensation for the same property which was marked for demolition to give way for construction of the Uyo – Ikot Ekpene Road, yet they refused to pack out of the property to enable the contractors handling the road project continue with their work.
With sarcastic, disdainful and ridiculous statements, the commissioner claimed to have demolished APC structure in a sardonic celebration with a bottle of dry gin. For him, the structure belonged to APC; surprisingly, the owner of Food Affairs Limited is an astute businessman, not a politician.
He wanted to prove to his boss and fellow party men that he is working tirelessly even when he was not holding any political office, not minding going after activities and businesses of PERCEIVED OPPOSITION as in the case of Food Affairs. He was desperately seeking his reappointment in Governor Udom’s second administration, by all means, after all, the first administration had afforded him money, power and fame. He could buy over corrupt pressmen and the gullible public to justify his actions with a series of lies that Food Affairs is against the Government and never wanted the road to be done.
Nevertheless, Mr Ephriam must sell out his series of lies to cover up for his mistakes and he is so afraid of the truth. The simple question is, why is Mr Ephriam Inyaneyen not willing tender the proof of payments for the compensation of the Food Affairs business building has he claimed as evidence in the public domain if there is any?
It was a terrible and pitiable scene as staff and customers scampered for safety, and some regrettably left their personal belongings behind as the madness continued. Production staff in their aprons, who never knew what happened, narrowly escaped death, almost trapped, eventually came out through the broken back fence to a neighbour’s compound as the building caved in. The extension of the edifice used the bar with assorted drinks and furniture was not spared. Looters had a field day as they packed anything and everything, they could lay their hands on as Ephraim gave orders to ground everything.
To ensure the prompt destruction of first-hand evidence of the demolition, the manager of the facility who tried taking pictures of the demolition exercise was rough handled and his phone ceased on the instruction of Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen.
Barr. Godwin Oyong’s intervention who was accidentally available at the time of this unlawful and malicious demolition to explain to Mr. Ephraim Inyangeyen that no notice nor compensation was served on his client, fell on a deaf ear as he simply told him to go to court while he continued with his drink (dry gin). Two hours later, the building had been brought to rubble and he once again boasted that he had finally finished APC House in Ikot Ekpene.
The press conference on June 29, 2019, and subsequent Radio announcement and interview on Planet 101.1FM by the Managing Director of Food Affairs got people confused, with diverse opinions. Of course, one cannot blame them because what happened to the Food Affairs business building, Ikot Ekpene was unthinkable. Those who did not understand passed judgment because Mr Ephraim as a former commissioner had publicly and categorically stated how a total amount of Two Hundred and Eighty Million (N280,000,000.00) was paid while they refused to pack out.
We, therefore, call on the Federal and State Governments to do thorough investigations on this matter and pay adequate compensation for the loss (Building, Materials, and Business time).