The chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk, has called on the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) under the chairmanship of Mr Aniedi Ikoiwak to put modalities in place to ensure that the local government election is conducted as scheduled, accordingly and on time as the tenure of the present chairmen will soon elapse. This he observed will be a plus to AKISIEC as being effective and straightforward and will also justify the confidence repose on the commission by the people of Akwa Ibom state. Etuk said this while commenting on some topical issues concerning Akwa Ibom state at the occasion of the disbursement of welfare packages to beneficiaries of the union recently. "Recently the local government administration system has come under public scrutiny. We are also aware that the Akwa Ibom state Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) has stated its readiness to conduct elections into the third tier of government by the last quarter of the year. The local government administration remains critical to our development, being the closest to the grassroots and constitutionally, we expect the state government and AKISIEC to chart a new course that will bring about a smooth, credible and transparent electoral process in line with the relevant laws. Etuk also restated the union's stand in condemning in strong terms the rising cases of rape in the society and commended the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for giving assent to the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Law 2020, maintaining that the law will deal decisively with offenders accordingly. He equally commended the efforts made by various stakeholders in the fight against rape through sensitization and awareness, and called on perpetrators of such heinous crime to desist from it forthwith. The Akwa Ibom NUJ boss commended, Mr Prince Akpan Ikim (chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and waste management Agency) for his determination to partner the union through donations and also observed with dismay the disappointing attitude of the public particularly residents of Uyo metropolis who delights in emptying their waste in gutter when it rains, noting that such is the cause of incessant flooding in Uyo, the state capital. "The union has observed rather sadly the disappointing attitude of residents of Uyo metropolis who delight in emptying their waste in the gutter particularly when it rains. This human activity has contributed in no small measure to the flooding of some areas of Uyo metropolis. The union therefore urges residents of Uyo metropolis to bag their waste appropriately and dispose of them at the designated points provided by the Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency. Etuk also commended the Akwa Ibom State government for the milestone recorded in the health sector especially in the completion of the state-of-the-art Isolation centre situated in Uruan LGA and pledged the Akwa Ibom NUJ's commitment to continually remain as strategic partners in the consolidation of development so far recorded in the state. He recounted that the present administration of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom state council, took a giant leap in performance in many areas and lamented the outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic in the world which has slowed down activities everywhere including the union. The chairman, however, thanked God that the union has not and will not lose any member to death as a result of COVID-19 attack. "We have worked collectively to ensure that our programmes continue to give our members the greater interest of development from human capacity, sports, solemn Assembly, media interaction with political stakeholders, including His Excellency, the governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, governor of Akwa Ibom State and the welfare achievements we consolidate today. These are indeed challenging times in our lives with the COVID-19 pandemic which has made it almost difficult for us to meet in the last few months. However, we give God all the glory that despite the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases, no member of the union has died and we have not lost any member of the union this year.