By our Reporter
The member representing Etinan State Constituency, Barr. Anefiok Dennis, has literally washed his hands off the issue of cash pledged by the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, on behalf of the legislature, during the last Thanksgiving Service organized by the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
The Amos Etuk led exco of NUJ had in January, held a thanksgiving service at the Qua Iboe Church, Ika. At the event which was attended by a cross section of the state’s political class, the Speaker of AKHA, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, represented by Bar Dennis, made a promissory donation of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only, to help in the building project of the host Church.
The Profile Newspaper gathered that the cash was to be routed through the House Chairman on Information, Barr. Aniefiok Dennis. Two months after the event, our paper learnt, efforts by the NUJ to get the cash for onward delivery to the benefiting Church prove abortive, even when the Union had been informed of its release.
Upon investigation, our paper gathered that the money was approved and released but was allegedly pocketed by an aide to the Etinan lawmaker, Mr. Equere Paul.
A source at the House of Assembly chamber, who craved anonymity, while absolving Mr Speaker of any complicity, also hinted that Barr. Dennis had reportedly scorned the said aide, to ensure he made the cash available as according to our source, the lawmaker had no hands in the whereabouts of the cash.
According to document obtained by our paper, the money was approved and released along with other subheads by the House authorities since January.
As at the time of this report, an officer of the benefiting church who confided in our reporter said the Church leadership might consider writing a reminder letter through the NUJ to the leadership of the State Assembly, informing it of non-receipt of the pledged money.
Efforts to reach the Etinan lawmaker, Rt. Hon Dennis for comments on the matter were unsuccessful as he was learned to be attending to official matters when our reporter visited his office. Calls to his known phone number were neither replied nor returned.
When contacted, a Senior member of the state Council of the NUJ said he was unaware of the issue but promised to revert when properly briefed.