Archive | October, 2011

How Godswill Akpabio is Pledging the Treasury of Akwa Ibom State.

27 Oct

In Akwa Ibom State, reports say tertiary institutions are on strike due to non-payment of salaries to workers and other financially related dissatisfactions. A couple of weeks ago, leaders of Labor Unions issued ultimatum to the State that unless State workers are paid salaries owed to them in addition to the minimum wage of N18,000 a month, workers would have no alternative but to indulge on a strike. Akwa Ibom State, it appears, is swamped with financial woes. Anyone who hears this may think the State Government has plundered into a state of penury. But that is not the case. In fact, Akwa Ibom is now the richest State in Nigeria, followed by River State. So what is the problem?

The reason Akwa Ibom State is now in a state of pecuniary embarrassment is due to the way Godswill Akpabio is looting the treasury to pay-off people in the country—from the judiciary, the presidency, all the way to the legislative sector—in order to stay in power as a State Governor, a position in which he bamboozled his way through at the last gubernatorial election. Emerging reports say Akpabio is now crossing the party line to bribe his political opponents. In order to be granted the favor he is courting from his political opponents, Akpabio is said to be ready to entrust the treasury of Akwa Ibom State as a pledge to those he has contacted.

Sources have confirmed how Akpabio has been having secret meetings with national leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria, or ACN, including a meeting with ACN’s heavy weights, such as Tinubu, former governor Segun Osoba, and Chief Akande, who is the National Chairman of ACN. A source has confirmed that at Lagos and Abuja airports, several people witnessed how Akpabio prostrated before Akande, asking for his support. The question is what type of support is Akpabio seeking from the leaders of ACN?

Reliable sources have confirmed how they heard Akpabio told Akande; “I need your support. I will be a better boy than Akpan Udoedehe. Akpan Udoedehe is not a boy you can trust. He is a liar, who will betray you before you know it. Oga, I will pay you anything. I have money. Money, you know is not the problem. Help me withdraw the appeal in the Supreme Court. Oga, I will do everything for you. Akwa Ibom has money. I have money. Just tell me how you want me to pay you, if you want it in dollars, I will pay, if you want in Euro, I will pay. I beg, Oga, you don’t have to give me your answer now, but think about it.”

Reports have confirmed that after Chief Akande had his ears full of Akpabio, he calmly told him; “Governor, stand up. I have heard you. But I am sorry to tell you this; ACN is not for sale. Please forget the offer and let’s pretend that you never discussed the matter with me. But let me tell you one thing; ACN stands on the principle of justice and equity. Our party (ACN) will pursue the case in the Supreme Court. If the Court says that what was decided at the Tribunal in Uyo and at the Appeal Court in Calabar is what should stand as the law of the land, then ACN will have no choice but to obey the ruling of the highest court in the land. If on the other hand the Supreme Court rules otherwise, I also expect you to abide by, show respect for, and obey the law. That is all I can tell you now.”

Senator Akpan Udoedehe’s reaction

After I heard the story, I contacted Senator Akpan Udoedehe by telephone at his home in Abuja for its veracity. The following is his response;

“Yes, I have heard the story and even much more than what you are telling me. Let me begin by saying; shame on Godswill Akpabio!! I wonder why you doubt the story. You know that Akpabio is a bastard and the way he behaves is the way all bastards behave. You also know that all bastards are liars. Let me tell you why I say he is a bastard. All his brothers are fathered by four different men. What makes this strange is that all four men are from the same (Akpabio) family. For instance, Nsentip’s father is the same man who fathered Aniedi (Akpabio?), who is the General Manager of Akwa Ibom Property Development. Now, just imagine a man, whose mother was known to keep it “all in the family” talking about my father, who was a well-known business and political leader in his days. If I were Godswill Akpabio, and had the type of wayward mother he had, I never would dare say anything against the parents of others.”

“His bastardized sense of belonging is the reason he gives himself up to people and always refers to himself as a “boy.” Just imagine a whole State Governor, prostrating before another man and calling himself a “boy.” Of course he is a boy, and that is why he behaves, lies, and talk in a careless manner as he always does. I am a “man,” not a “boy.” Maybe that is why Chief Akande, Tinubu, Osoba, and others were quick to send him out of their faces. When he told them that he will be a better “boy” than Akpan Udoedehe, they probably said to themselves “oh, no, who wants to make a deal with a boy?”

“And let me tell you one other thing; Mr. Ben Bruce (of the N40 billion contract to build the Tropicana) told President Jonathan that Akpabio said to him (Bruce) that Akpan Udoedehe is a devil who bathes himself every day with human blood using the male private parts as his shampoo. Just imagine that kind of lies! Well, only a bastard would lie that way. I am happy that all the prominent people in the country—people that he used to tell lies on me—have finally realized that Akpabio has a mental issue to deal with. People are now beginning to understand that the man is not only a pathological liar, but sick in the head”

“Regarding the story you heard as to whether Akpabio has been begging the leaders of ACN to rescue him and withdraw the appeal I and ACN filed against him at the Supreme Court, all I can tell you is yes, it is true; you can also quote me on this. He promised those gentlemen and others in similar positions, billions of naira if they would block the course of justice on his behalf. If those people were greedy enough to accept his offer, where do you think the money would come from? Of course, the money would be removed from the treasury of Akwa Ibom State. People are suffering and in abject poverty, no employment, starvation is everywhere, the State is in a state of stagnation, yet Akpabio is going from one end of the country to another, donating the money, which could be used in helping the people. Can you imagine that kind of insanity?”

Written by
Thompson Essien

Stepping Stones Nigeria’s Director Attempts Corrupt Deal With Ex-AG

27 Oct

Strong facts have immerged indicating that the Programme Director of Stepping Stones Nigeria (SSN) Mr Gary Foxcroft approached the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, of Akwa Ibom State, Bar Ekpenyong Ntekim with N15m to assist him to lobby the governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief Goodwill Akpabio to reverse its resolve to blacklist the UK charity organisation which claims to be one of the organisations
that protect the right of children branded witches in Akwa Ibom State and other parts of Nigeria.
An impeccable source in London revealed that cold tremor was in the atmosphere after an investigative report was published in different dailies which showed how Stepping Stones Nigeria kept children in an unprotected, unroofed and filthy abandoned hotel apartment; and an open shack, in the ambience of the Eket sport stadium, while claiming to take good care of them and using them to solicit for funds to line their pockets.
This news did not however go down well with the SSN boss as the Akwa Ibom State government responded swiftly to the report and rescued the children from the hazard prone locations of the Stepping Stones Nigeria. In a press release written by Mr Foxcroft and jointly signed by the SSN attorney, Barr James Ibor and Mr Lucky Imo-Inyang, Program Director of the Nigeria arm of SSN called Stepping Stones Nigeria Child Empowerment Foundation (SSNCEF) accused Akwa Ibom government of abducting children in their ‘care’. This development severely infuriated the government which moved to blacklist the UK charity and distanced itself from the organisation’s activities, in Akwa Ibom State .

‘It is evil for any organisation to keep children in unsafe and unprotected place where those children are abused, raped, impregnated on a daily basis, and trafficked out and without protection while sitting in UK to make money in their name… Government cannot fold its arm and see how this goes on unabated. We have to act and rescue the children from the hands of their predators where Stepping Stones Nigeria claims to care for them,’ the statement said.

In view of the foregoing, Mr Foxcroft therefore approached the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ekpenyong Ntekim while in London on a trip with the Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Accusation and Child Abuse which went to get testimony from him on his organisation activities with children of Akwa Ibom State . The source said the SSN boss pledged to ditch out N15m if the former AG, now Commissioner for Transportation, succeeded in persuading the governor, and create an enabling environment for him to meet with governor.

Reports strongly indicate that Gary Foxcroft had arrived Nigeria two weeks later to meet the ex-AG for the sordid deal. But the AG’s inability to convince the governor to pave way for the Briton to have a dialogue with the governor is giving serious cause for concern; as it was likely that the ex AG was be very busy in Abuja then jostling for ministerial appointment which did not however, yield dividend. It is therefore unlikely that the fund for the deal was released by Foxcroft as hope to meet the governor finally crashed.

It will be recalled that the child witch Panel which had its sitting in Uyo was already rounding up its assignment when Ntekim strongly persuaded the chairman to relocate its sitting to London . Though the chairman of the Commission, Justice Godwin Abraham had initially asked his members of their opinion, a source from the Commission said the secretary of the then commission, Barr. Theresa Obot, the commission’s secretary had raised a strong objection to taking the Commission to London as there was ‘nothing practical to be done in the overseas trip’ which was widely described as a goose chase by analysts. But the strong persuasion of Ntekim did not allow the good sense of reasoning of Mrs Obot to prevail even as she refused to accept the bogus cheque dangled to each member as hotel and feeding allowance for the four days trip.

A legal practitioner in the State, Barr Jude Ekere, expressed surprise at the arrival of Mr Foxcroft to Akwa Ibom State two weeks after the Commission of Inquiry into Witchcraft Accusation and Child Abuse left London . He argued that ‘‘…for a man who said no place in Nigeria was saved for him to stay even a day for the interview to be conducted could suddenly arrived and stayed for three weeks leaves a lot to be desired.’’
Foxcroft left Uyo for Uquo, in Esit Eket where he visited Stepping Stones Model School (SSMS), a school which was initially built for stigmatised and abandoned children but strategically converted to a private school which charges fees 70% higher than the highest paid private school in the entire area. The Uquo community in a petition letter written to the chairman of Esit Eket Local Government Chairman, Pastor Victor Isanghedighe called on the Chairman to urge Foxcroft to reduce the amount of tuition fees being paid by pupils of the school, even as it described it as ‘‘a huge exploitation,’’ or risk their wrath

The petition states in parts, “The school is advertised in the Stepping Stones Nigeria’s website as a charity school for less privilege children of Esit Eket Community where only a small amount is paid by 30% of the pupils. And the children too are advertised in their website and used to solicit for fund. This is unacceptable!’’ the petition maintained.

As the deal of persuading the governor did not work out, Foxcroft who was accompanied to Nigeria by the Director of Street Invest and new Stepping Stones Nigeria’s Chair of Trustees, Ms Felix Holman headed for Abuja where they organised a Film show for oil exploration and children of Nigeria at a Silver Bird Auditorium which witnessed an abysmal attendance due to the cynicism that is beginning to trail the activities of SSN.

One of such cynics is an Uyo based Mr Victor Umoh, a brother to the former co-ordinator of Stepping Stones Nigeria who said he was becoming pieced off with the activities of the Stepping Stones Nigeria since they stopped supporting the stigmatised children but are still using the children to solicit for funds using video documentaries, pictorial news of the stigmatised and ostracised children.
‘You cannot understand him. He will use Nigerians who work hard for the children, praise them; but as soon as he achieved his aim, he ditched them and looks for another set of Nigerians and children use and dumped when he gets what he wants. He will even use helpless children solicit for fund and still abandoned them. This is crazy using children to make millions of pounds then divert to personal use. We are really sick of hearing about the phantom reports given to the charity commission.” Mr. Umoh charged.

He further revealed that Foxcroft has employed the services of one Ms Grace Ekong fondly called Adia Tom to tour around Europe, US and other parts of the world to launch image laundry for Foxcroft’s Stepping Stones Nigeria and possibly black mail any group and persons that Gary’s SSN has used and ditched including those that disagreed with his views and activities, like the Akwa Ibom government. Ms Ekong, who is in her mid seventies, is a British-Nigerian with Eket descent, married to a Briton and has a female child who has just completed her medical studies in London .
The choice of Ms Ekong for this sordid job is described as ‘well apt and attainable’ given her age as an elderly lady, her soft spoken and persuasive style of approach to people and issues; and her ability to speak, Ekid, Ibibio, Efik and English languages fluently. She is said to have concluded her tours in US and UK , last two weeks and will be heading for Germany in a matter of weeks from now. Though, a trustee of the Stepping Stones Nigeria in UK , the special contract she signed to do an extraordinary image-laundry job, will undoubtedly, earn her much money than her previous job.

Umoh hinted at a plan that is underway: “We are consulting with stake-holders to expose the nefarious activities of Mr. Foxcroft that is using the Nigerian children to enrich himself. Why is he using funds he made from the heads of Nigerian vulnerable children to run a scam campaign against environmental and oil degradation; using Nigerian children to run a private company called Jolly Phonics in UK ? If the Nigerian government cannot do much to investigate him, don’t you think it is wise for individuals or civil society organisation to do so?” Umoh queried.
In the Stepping Stones Nigeria’s website, Foxcroft describe Nigeria as the most fraudulent and corrupt nation in the world. He went further, ‘‘Unfortunately, having the word “Nigeria” in our name has negative connotations with many people associating Nigeria for its less positive traits such as fraud and corruption’’

But recently, the UK Guardian reported that “the anti-corruption group, Transparency International, has issued a “wake-up call” as it believes that key government departments are too complacent or even in denial about the increasing threat of corruption” which is now gripping the Britain. It raises huge concern over the corruption scandal rocking– prisons, parliament, political parties and sport. It specifically took a swipe at the £100m drugs trade scandal within prisons and its officials. This is not leaving behind the phone hacking and police bribery scandal which forces the Britain’s News of The World paper to shut down with its CEO, Rupert Murdoch, a former media chief to British Prime Minister, David Cameron being grilled by the parliament while his aide Rebecca Brooks was arrested by police in London. This the SSN boss does see as brazen corruption in his country, Britain .

Yet, Anie Udofia, a Nigerian based in London thinks differently. “Gary Foxcroft should be investigated without further delay. If proven not guilty, we can now tell him thank you for a job well done; this is the time for you to go and tackle the problem like corruption and child witches or trafficking in your own country, Britain . If otherwise, he should be prosecuted under the law. This is what the new attorney general should be interested in’’ Udofia maintains

A former legal adviser to SSN who is based in Eket but preferred anonimity said more revelations about misappropriation of funds by Foxcroft will be made manifest in no distant time. “We are working towards that and people will be stunned by the revelation….” the legal expert averred.

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