Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has challenged the protocols and parameters used by the National Bureau of Statistics to arrive at the conclusion that the state was the second largest in terms of unemployment.
Emmanuel gave the remarks in an interactive session with Akwa Ibom people in Uyo on Sunday.
He asked that he should be spared the distraction from NBS as he remains focused in the discharge of quality and excellent services to Akwa Ibom people.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the NBS said Imo State with 48.7 per cent unemployment rate was the highest in the country, followed by Akwa Ibom with the second highest unemployment of 55.2 per cent in its recent report on August 14.
The bureau said Anambra recorded the lowest rate of unemployment at 13.1 per cent.
According to the Governor, Akwa Ibom State is second in foreign direct investment, noting that every part of the state is a construction site, and he wondered what people would describe as employment.
Emmanuel said: “It is the same statistics they reeled out before the 2019 elections; may be NBS had forgotten that the elections are over.
“Statistics have procedures and approaches.
“How did they arrive at their sample size?
“They don’t even know the population of Nigeria.
““It is questionable to see an Igbo state have the highest level of unemployment.
“The fastest way to stimulate the economy is investment in industries.
“Do you know how many workers we have under Ibom Air, both direct and indirect?”
The Governor also acknowledged the feedback received from members of the public in the fight against COVID 19, as well as the distribution of palliatives to the people of the state.
Emmanuel, however, urged Akwa Ibomites to continue observing all the COVID-19 protocols.
On the demand by the people for the reopening of schools, the governor said the Federal Government had the final say on reopening of schools.
“Once they give the go ahead on that, we will ring the bell and schools will open,” the governor said.
Emmanuel denied plotting a third term in office through a surrogate and vowed never to allow any cultist take over the reins of governance from him in 2023.
He said: “I am not interested in third term through a surrogate; the only thing you can help to do is to ensure that no cultist is allowed to emerge as Governor of the state.
“Some Council areas are highly volatile, so if they nominate a cultist, we shall not permit such.
“Any cultist arrested would not be released.”
Emmanuel observed: “The only way to ensure peace was to eradicate cultism and if you want to ensure peace, look up to God in order to embrace peace.
“Some cult groups are clashing in some parts of the state and we have tried to make sure we crush them.
“We will stop at nothing in ensuring we crush cultism in the state.
“It is not our intention to deploy soldiers to volatile areas and you are forcing us to do so.
“Please let parents talk to their children, as they stand to gain nothing from cultism.
“It can’t be that because of one man the whole village would run away.
“It is time to go the right way.
“Most armed robbers and kidnappers are cultists and we will crush them.”
Emmanuel also explained why he is opening up more internal roads in Akwa Ibom, saying that it would allow for ease of transport and movement of goods and services.
He admitted that the lockdown caused by COVID-19 had affected the completion time of these projects, but stated emphatically that the roads would be completed in good time as government and governance was a continuum.
The Governor maintained that the intervention of his Administration in every sector of the state was wholesale.
He assured that pensions and gratuities would continue to receive the rapid attention they are presently receiving.