Barely three days after a rancorous radio appearance where he vehemently defended Federal Government’s Ruga programme, Ita Enang has lost his job as a presidential aide on National Assembly Matters.
While Premium Times exclusively reported that the position has been given to a former Osun Senator, Omoworare Babajide, neither the Presidency or Mr. Enang has debunked the story.
The vocal former lawmaker had on Friday appeared on Planet FM, a local radio station in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and drummed support for the controversial Ruga programme.
“Virtually 95 per cent of cows on the streets of Akwa Ibom State are owned by indigenous politicians both former and serving, clerics and bigwigs in the business circle.
“I have the list and if I’m dared the more, I will publish it for public consumption,” Mr. Enang is quoted to have said during the radio show.
His controversial outburst on the radio came a day after suspected herdsmen killed one Friday Etor and injured one Nsikak Udo in Ikot Obio Nso, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of the state.
Mr. Etor died on the spot from gunshots in the neck while Mr. Udoh was shot in the leg on their farmlands.
The unwarranted attack on the two indigenes of the state on Thursday had resulted in a public outcry and a demand for justice by people of the state across party lines.
The state Governor, Udom Emmanuel had directed the Secretary to the State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem to visit and commiserate with victims of the violence.
But in a daring move, the presidential aide had insisted the Ruga programme was the best for the country and strongly justified why Nigerians should support it.
Mr. Enang had been speaking so loudly even when the Presidency had indicated that the Ruga programme had been suspended.
He even told Akwa Ibom students in the Nigerian Law School during a visit to his office the Federal Government budgeted N2.2 billion for the establishment of Ruga settlements across the country.
On August 6, Mr. Enang had also appeared on Arisetv.com where he, among other things spoke on the Ruga programme.
A Facebook post by his media aide, Essien Inyang read, “Tune in to watch Senator Ita Enang, SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters on arisetv.com as he explains the federal government’s policies aimed at affecting the lives of the citizenry…
“Top on the agenda would be the Rural Grazing Area, RUGA,” the post had read.
While the presidential aide was busy defending the controversial programme and bandying figures about, many who had thought the Ruga project had been suspended became suspicious of the government.
A former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Nduese Essien had while reacting to Mr. Enang advised the Federal Government to instead invest in the nation’s petroleum sector.
“When we were thinking the Federal Government had suspended the Ruga project, behold the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Ita Enang, has just alerted the nation that a provision of N2.2billion had already been made in the 2019 budget for the scheme and that money had always been spent on Ruga.
“He is also urging the state governments particularly those in the southern parts of the country to make land available for the smooth take-off of the Ruga cattle settlement programme.
“The renewed desperation to force through this programme is becoming more worrisome to ardent followers of Nigerian history, development and politics,” Mr. Essien had said.
On Sunday, the leadership of the Senate, challenged Mr. Enang to show Nigerians where the N2.2 billion he claimed was appropriated for the Rural Grazing Area programme was inserted in the 2019 budget.
The Senate leadership said it examined the 2019 budget to establish the claims of the presidential aide but found no amount meant for the implementation of Ruga programme.
With the National Assembly denying Mr. Enang’s budgetary claims and the Presidency’s unwillingness to discuss the programme, observers believe the presidential aide might have fallen out with his principal.
However, if confirmed, his sack would leave Senator Godswill Akpabio as the only Akwa Ibom person at the Federal Executive Council and the Presidency.