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INSECURITY IN AKWA IBOM STATE: When Government Propaganda Is Not Enough.

14 Jul

Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom State Governor.

                                          By Ita Awak.
Following the assassination attempt on Chief Soni Udom, the Director General of Umana Okon Umana’s political network on 6th May 2014 in Uyo, a petition had been sent to the Nigeria Police Headquarters in Abuja requesting the highest police authorities to investigate the incident and other cases of politically motivated violence in Akwa Ibom State. The petition, written by an Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Uzoma Igbebulam, on behalf of Mr Umana and all his political associates and supporters, chronicles several other cases of political killings, kidnappings, abductions and harassments of politicians and their relations in Akwa Ibom State since Chief Godswill Akpabio became governor in 2007 and requested the police and other security agencies to conduct investigations into them. The most compelling reason for sending the petition was because the victims of this violence were either the political opponents of Gov. Godswill Akpabio or their family members. Secondly, we also believe that the tendency and eagerness of the government to always blame the attacks on armed robbers were enough to raise sufficient suspicion and therefore should be of interest to the police authorities.
A few examples may suffice: During the re election campaigns of Chief Akpabio, a governorship aspirant, Engr. Ini Udonwa, narrowly escaped death when armed men stormed his residence at night. His mother who lived with him was, unfortunately, not that lucky as she was abducted, murdered and her corpse dumped at the roadside. Before then, the aspirant had received several threats to withdraw from the race. In that same period, the wife of another candidate, Sam Ewang, was kidnapped and kept away for weeks. Mr Paul Inyang, a former zonal officer of the PDP and Mr Imo Udonwa, a prominent member of PDP in the state and former member of the state House of Assembly, were murdered because they were both associated with the former Governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah, and they were both rumoured to be interested in the chairmanship of the party in the state. Retired General Edet Akpan, former DG of NYSC and a PDP stalwart, was kidnapped in the church for his refusal to support Akpabio’s second term re election.  Three female members of the church were killed in the process. Another prominent victim is the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Nelson Efiong who was also abducted for weeks for not supporting Akpabio’s second term election. In December 2013, Mr Umana Umana himself received a written threat at his Uyo residence ordering him to withdraw from the 2015 governorship race or face death. He promptly reported the threat to the police, but was shocked to learn that the governor had also ordered the withdrawal of his police protection. Was the governor setting up Mr. Umana Umanah for an eventual attack?
It was in the context of all these coincidences and mysteries that Akwa Ibom people were sufficiently alarmed when early this year a prominent politician in the State, Engr. (Chief) Albert Ukpanah, was cold bloodedly murdered in his residence. Late Chief Ukpanah was known for his unstinting opposition to the senatorial ambition of Chief Godswill Akpabio, our state governor. Ukpanah’s killing, followed closely by the attempt on Soni Udom’s life, were enough warnings to prominent Akwa Ibom citizens that the violence that marked the election season of 2010/2011 were making an eerie comeback to the state. They provided the context and the compelling reasons why our lawyers wrote to the police authorities in Abuja, requesting for investigations, especially since the government had also typically blamed armed robbers for the attacks. Why is the Akwa Ibom state government always quick to blame political killings in the state on armed robbers, even before the police commence investigations? And why are these ‘armed robbers’ always attacking the governor’s political opponents, and not the banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and other businesses that deal in heavy cash transactions in the state? Very importantly, is it not curious that none of these armed robbers has ever been prosecuted and convicted since 2010? These are some of the mysteries we requested the police to help unravel.
 As soon as the authorities in Abuja received our petition, the police high command commenced their investigations. We are aware that the police had already invited many persons to their headquarters in Abuja for interrogations; while a set of investigators flew into Uyo recently to conduct further investigations into the subject matter of the petition. To the best of our understanding, the police are yet to conclude their investigations. We were, therefore, shocked to read a press statement issued by Mr. Aniekan Umanah, the Commissioner for Information and Communications in Akwa Ibom and published as an advertorial in The Nation newspaper of 7th July 2014 in which the government spokesman stated that the attempt on Soni Udom’s life was a robbery incident because, according to the him, the suspects had been arrested by the Akwa Ibom State Command of the SSS and that they had made confessional statements to that effect; that on the morning of March 5, 2014, the same day he was assassinated, Chief Ukpanah was at the governor’s official residence where he met with Governor Akpabio to solicit assistance for his wife who was receiving medical attention at a Lagos hospital. The Commissioner then wondered how the same governor, who gladly assisted Engr Ukpanah, would turn around to assassinate him; that Governor Akpabio did not threaten Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo who is also eyeing the same senate seat as he is; and that Mr. Umana Okon Umana himself has not been under personal threats.
  Since the police headquarters in Abuja are still investigating this matter, we wish to request the Commissioner and other officials of the Akwa Ibom State government to allow the police to do a thorough work and conclude their investigations. By publishing hasty and false conclusions while police investigations are in progress, we believe that the Akwa Ibom State government wants to distract the police from doing its work and deceive and confuse the good people of the state who have suffered unprecedented reign of organised terror, violence, official intimidation, gruesome murders and harrowing kidnappings since May 29th, 2007 when Obong Victor Attah handed over to Chief Akpabio. In fact, records have it that in the last seven years of the Akpabio administration, there have been over 100 cases of unresolved political murders and kidnappings in Akwa Ibom. In the press conference we addressed after the failed attempt on Soni Udom, we had stated several reasons to indicate that the attack could not have been a robbery. One, a gang of five Hausa-speaking and cash-hungry robbers could not have come to Uyo from Nassarawa, Plateau and Benue States with the sole mission of robbing for cash in broad daylight only to  ignore and bypass all the commercial banks in town, the active and lucrative supermarkets that dot the Uyo metropolis, the unprotected petrol stations and other various business places where there are heavy cash transactions only to stray into the obscure office premises of an estate firm owned by Obong Soni Udom.
If the invaders were indeed armed robbers as the Commissioner declared, why did they not ask for cash during their operation at Soni Udom’s office; rather they repeatedly asked “where is oga?” and went about breaking locked doors in search of “Oga.” It is important to note that when one of the armed men started seizing phones from staff, one of them, perhaps the ring leader, reprimanded thus “Is that what we came here for?”
The SSS in Akwa Ibom State paraded before journalists five young men who are said to have owned up as the armed gang that invaded Soni Udom’s office. However, Udom’s staff that were invited to the DSS office in Uyo could positively and definitively identify only two of them. But one fundamental and disturbing finding we made is that during the armed operation in Obong Udom’s office, one of the hoodlums mistakenly shot himself, severing off his right thumb. A picture of this cut-off and bloodied thumb that the killers left in Soni Udom’s office was showed to journalists at a Press Conference Soni Udom himself addressed on Wednesday, 7th May 2014.
One of the gangsters the DSS paraded as the “armed robbers” who went to Obong Udom’s office had white bandage tied around his right index finger. This fellow claimed that he lost his index finger during the operation in Obong Udom’s office. We find this very curious. Perhaps, Mr. Aniekan Umana is in a position to tell the world why the person paraded by the DSS claims he lost an index finger whereas the hired killer that invaded Obong Soni Udom’s office lost the thumb which is still in the custody of Obong Soni Udom. We recall also that the gang had claimed before the SSS that they were led into Uyo by a linkman who is an Akwa Ibom person known as Anas. Regretably, the SSS has not produced Mr. Anas who would be in a position to explain what the mission of his gangsters in Uyo was.
 
 We note that other prominent Akwa Ibomites have been sufficiently alarmed by the re-emergence of violence in their State. Earlier in May this year, Chief Don Etiebet, a renowned businessman, a founding father of the PDP and a member of its Board of Trustees, sent a petition to the Inspector General of Police on the violence in the state. In it, Chief Etiebet chronicles the litany of politically motivated violence and attacks in Akwa Ibom State. He particularly called attention to the fact that “these close coincidences are the reasons why I am sending this letter to you to be aware of the state of insecurity, political brigandage and threats to human life and property in my State prelude to the forth coming Party Primaries in the State with the sole motive of scaring people away from participating in free, fair and open congresses and primariesas the National Chairman has often said. I, therefore, call on you, Sir to do everything possible to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the State and to ensure that violent-free party congresses and primaries are held when the time comes.” Chief Don Etiebet further stated that Governor Akpabio had called him with an unknown number to rain invectives on him. On Thursday, March 20, 2014, a couple of months before Chief Etiebet lodged his petition at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, a distinguished Akwa Ibom son, retired Police DIG Udom Ekpoudom, informed the governor at the government sponsored Abak town hall meeting that he had credible  intelligence that some highly placed government officials and aides of the governor have been recruiting felons and indulging them with car gifts and other pecuniary benefits with the chief aim of using them to unleash violence and intimidate political opponents ahead of the 2015 Governorship race. Chief Akpabio did not provide any response to this charge. Is it possible for these three eminent Akwa Ibom citizens to raise false alarm against their governor? Is it possible for Chief Don Etiebet to write a petition to the IG and send copies to the President and NSA if indeed there is no political violence in our state?
Governor Godswill Akpabio has persistently stoked the embers of ethnic discord in the state by openly inciting brothers to inflict violence on each other, especially those who are opposed to his 2015 politics. For instance, at the Oron town hall meeting on Monday, 31st March, 2014, the governor asked the Oro Traditional Fathers to call on Oro people to violently attack any of their sons who support any aspirant from Uyo senatorial district. The governor’s position was amplified by a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Etim Okpoyo, who stated that any such Oro persons should be burnt alive with their cars. We have all these on tape. In any event, we want to bring to the kind attention of Mr. Aniekan Umanah that never in the 27-year-history of our state had any of his predecessors had the singular unfortunate and depressing task of defending their governments’ alleged involvement in politically-motivated killings, violence, kidnappings and intimidation of the Akwa Ibom people. Not even during the epic resource control battle with the Federal Authorities, a period when highly placed Abuja based Akwa Ibom politicians aligned with the Federal Authorities to wage a fierce battle over the control of the State Chapter of the PDP with Obong Attah, there was NEVER any incident of the harassment, violent intimidation or killing of any of Obong Attah’s perceived political opponents. In the light of this, we imagine that Mr. Aniekan Umanah ought to be seriously disturbed that he appears to be the only Commissioner of Information in the country with the misfortune of repeatedly blaming political killings on armed robbery.   
In the light of all the unanswered questions, our petition to the police was a call for further investigation. Officials of Akwa Ibom State government should therefore not make statements that may interfere with or distract the police from conducting a thorough investigation into the petitions forwarded to them.  If the Commissioner has good reasons to believe that his government is innocent of any involvement in these horrifying events, he should dutifully present his facts to the relevant authorities and stop the media propaganda.
Ita Awak is the Director of Research & Publicity of Umana Okon Umana’s Political Network.
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Akwa Ibom State Politics: Umana O. Umana Vindicates the Critics of Akpabio.

7 Jul

By Thompson Essien

Akpabio and Umama O. Umana

Umana Okon Umana says Akpabio wants to kill him; this is no news for many people in Akwa Ibom State. It is not a secret that Akpabio will order his “boys” to kidnap, kill, or arrest anyone who disagrees with him.

Umana Okon Umana says Akpabio has a hand in the assassinations and kidnappings of his political associates; this is news!

It is news because the accusation comes from Umana Okon Umana. If anyone knows the intrigues of Godswill Akpabio, that person is Umana Okon Umana. Since 2007 when Akpabio was sworn in as a governor, Umana remained the Secretary to Akpabio’s version of a government, until July 2013, when Akpabio sent his wife to kick him (Umana) out of his cabinet.

Therefore, for Umana Okon Umana to send a petition to the human rights commission in which he accused Akpabio of having a hand in crimes of assassinations and kidnappings, the information in such a petition must be as authentic as the palms of a man’s hand and could not be far from truths.http://leadership.ng/news/377037/alleged-political-assassinations-umana-drags-akpabio-nhrc.)

Umana’s petition to the National Human Rights Commission, or NHRC, is also a vindication of the critics (including me) of Godswill Akpabio, who have all along been saying that Akpabio is responsible for all the heinous crimes in Akwa Ibom State. Be it kidnappings or assassinations, it will not happen in Akwa Ibom State without the knowledge and sanctions of the governor, who is not only the Chief Executive Officer of the State, but also the Chief Security Officer, who have been receiving billions of naira every year known as Security Vote.

It may be difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the allegations leveled against Akpabio. Below is a partial list of all the men and women—all of them peace-loving Nigerians—who have been destroyed by Godswill Akpabio and his administration since he became a governor in 2007. Any indigene of Akwa Ibom State, who goes through the list, will find it difficult to disagree that the crimes have affected him or her in one way or the other.

Written by
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
Defender of the Oppressed
A native of Ibibio nation of Ubium Republic extraction, now living in the safe and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, where no AKPF, ADUMA, ADV, and Akwa Ibom State politicians can reach.

GODSWILL OBOT AKPABIO: Governor of Akwa Ibom State
NAMES OF KIDNAPPED VICTIMS IN AKWA IBOM STATE: Names No. Year/ month–Not in Alphabetical Order:
1) Abel Daminas children (2) 2008
2) Mr. Ubong Obot (1) 2008 (Ibibio)
3) Mr. Mustag Obot (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
4) Senator Aloysius’ wife (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
5) Chief Nelson Effiong (1) Feb. 2009 (Okobo)
6) Ita Enyong- Entaco (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
7) Apostle Uwa (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
8) Nse Ntuen (1) 2009 (Annang)
9) Aniefon Aniedi Abasi (1) Feb. 2009 (Annang)
10) Mrs. Iniobong Ekpenyong (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
11) Pa. Kevin Edet (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
12) Mrs. Michael Bush (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
13) HOP, Nsit Ubium (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
14) Opulopm Ettes’ Wife (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
15) Russians (2) 2009 (Expatriate)
16) Russian Employees (6) June 3 ,2007
17) Stemco Staff (6) 2008 (Expatriate)
18) Uwemedimo Archibong (1) feb.2009 (Ibibio)
19) Mrs. Adrina Uko (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
20) Mrs. Anne Enoidem (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
21) Dr. Owen R. Owen (1) June 2009
22) Mrs. Jumbo (1) June 2009 (Ibibio)
23) Pastor Akan Weeks (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
24) Awak Treasurer, o/Akara (1) 2008 (Ibibio)
25) Mr. Ikpe Ukpe (1) 2008 (Ibibio)
26) Mr. Clement Uwemedimo (1) July, 2009 (Ibibio)
27) Mr. Fiokedu Okorie (1) July 2009
28) Miss Edikan Okon Ufot (1) July, 2009 (Ibibio)
29) Daughter of Okon Usoro (1) July, 2009 (Ibibio)
30) Expatraites’Wife(abducted toNturukpum) (1) Mar. 2009
31) Mr. Eseme Essien (1) Sept. 2009 (Ibibio)
32) Eld. Nse Ikpe (1) Sept. 2009 (Ibibio)
33) Jackie Jay (1) Sept. 2009 (Annang)
34) Ediomo Udoko (1) Sept. 2009 (Ibibio)
35) Iniobong Sunny Jackson (1) Sept. 2009 (Ibibio)
36) Adiaha Eka Sunny IBANGA (1) Sept. 2009 (Ibibio)
37) Pst. Jonah Solomon Akpan (1) Oct. 2009 (Ibibio)
38) Mrs. Eshiet –Etinan (1) Nov. 2009 (Ibibio)
39) Mrs. Sunny Daniel (1) Nov. 2009 (Ibibio)
40) Bishop C.O Akpan (1)Dec. 2,2009\ (Ibibio)
41) Mr. Usen –manager, UBA (1) Dec. 2009 (Ibibio)
42) Hon. Hogan Ita (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
43) Mr. Michael Nkono (1) Oct. 2009 (Ibibio)
44) Mrs. Michael Nkono (1) Oct. 2009 (Ibibio)
45) Dr. Uwem Umoh (1) Nov. 2009 (Ibibio)
46) Chief Inyang Eno (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
47) Gen. Edet Akpan (1) Jan.31, 2010 (Ibibio)
48) Hon. Mike Dan (Itu) (1) Jan.2010 (Ibibio)
49) Miss. Edikan Udo (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
50) Mr. Ita Onyong (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
51) Mr. John Akpan (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
52) Mr. Okon Mkpong (1)2010 (Ibibio)
53) Paramount Ruler –Okobo (1) 2010 (okobo)
54) Prof. Akaninyene Mendie (1) 2010
55) Chief Obosi- clan head InI LGA (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
56) Prophetess Mercy Inyang (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
57) Prophetess Mercy Effiong (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
58) Mrs. Elizabeth Philip (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
59) Mrs. Godwin Udoaka 1st Bank (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
60) Mrs. Godwin Bassey Eton (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
61) Prof. Imo Ukpong (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
62) Dr. Austin Edet (1) 2010 ( Ibibio)
63) Chief Emmanuel Ntukidem (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
64) Mr. Samuel Inyang-PDP Ini LGA (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
65) 83 yr. old retired civil servant, Mbiabong Ikpe Annang (1) 2010 (Annang)
66) Mrs. Rosey Jack Udota (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
67) Joel Francis- Governors’ driver (1) 2010
68) Anthony Akpanobong (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
69) Barr. Archibong’s wife (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
70) Stemco employees (4) May 5 2010
71) Rev. Ntia I Ntia (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
72) Deacon Sandy NtuenUbok (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
73) Rev. Ime Iyire (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
74) A female church member of Imeh Uyire (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
75) Mrs. Iwakeowo Bassey Essien (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
76) Obong Mike Ene (1) 2009 (Ibibio)
77) Mr. Essien Ewoh (1) 2008 (Ibibio)
78) Late Ntia’s Children (2) 2010 (Ibibio)
79) Dr. Uwah (1) July 2010 (Ibibio)
80) Mrs Comfort Enwang—Sept.2010 (Ibibio)
81) Mrs. Lydia Tom Bush –SEPT.2010
82) Mr Enwang’s Personal Assistant— Oct.2010
83) Mr Enwang’s Driver—Oct.2010
84) Mr Mike Eduok —Sept.2010 (Ibibio)
85) Imeh Ekpo (July 2010) (Ibibio)
86) Nsifre Andrew (August 2010)
87) Bishop (Pa) Okon Enyong (Ibibio)
88) Rev. Inno Idiong (Annang)-questionable-Jan.3, 2011(may be staged).
89) Dr Memfin Ekpo (Ibibio) – JAN.16, 2011
90) Elizabeth Jerry Emah (Ibibio)
91) Udo Mma Obot (Ibibio)
92) Chairlady of Onna LGA (Ibibio)
93) Proprietor of Eket Polytechnics
94) John Nta (Onwer of Treasury Island) Feb.11 2011 (Ibibio)
95) Pa Etukudo (Ibibio)
96) Dr. Francis Okon (Oron) — 2009
97) Dr. Inyang Ukot (Ibeno) – 2010
98) Dr. Ofonime Johnson — February 2011
99) Professor Amanam A. Uko — (Vice Chancellor of Obong University)–March 2011
100. Chief Mathias Okonta –Chairman Effiat Council of Chiefs— February 2011
101) Felix Ukpe (Ibibio)
102) Sammy of Nsit Atai (Ibibio)
103) Felix Uko, aka Femo. (Ibibio)

LIST OF THOSE WHO ESCAPED KIDNAPPING
1) Paramount Ruler Etinan, HRM Edidem Ime D. Umoette (Ibibio)
2) Madam Grace James Akpanudoedehe (Ibibio)
3) Mrs. Mfon Kenneth (wife of Etinan council Chairman). (Ibibio)
4) Engrs. Obinna and Bobby, staff of Vich Resources Nig. LTD. (Ibibio)
5) Proprietor, Life care clinic. (Ibibio)
6) Chief Donald Etiebet (Annang)
7) Engr. Iniekong Udonwa (Governorship Aspirant) (Ibibio)

MURDERED/ASSASINATED VICTIMS
1) Barr. Imo Udonwa (Ibibio)
2) Miss Aniefon Aniediabasi(Ibibio)
3) Engr. Emmanuel Ekpenyong (Submarine) (Ibibio)
4) Mr. Mathias Ekpenyong (Ibibio)
5) Barr. Benjamin Udoekpo (Ibibio)
6) Two women at Qua Iboe Church, Iwok (Ibibio)
7) Dr Austin Edet (Ibibio)
8) Daughter of Paramount Ruler Abak (Annang)
9) Mrs. Marie Ikpe (Ibibio)
10) Ezekiel Peter Ebere (Episco) (Ibibio)
11) Chief Paul Inyang (Ibibio)
12) Mrs Philomena Udonwa (Ibibio)
13) Anthony Akpanobong (Ibibio)
14) Mr. Daniel John Ekanem- (Ibibio)
15) Mr. Mathew Inyang – driver of Mrs. Tom bush (Ibibio)
16) Police orderly to Mrs. Lydia Bush
17) Dr Akpanudo Feb.2, 2011 (Ibibio)
18) Pastor David Ieunuoluwa (pastor of living faith church ikot ebido )
19) OKU IBOM III, Edidem Robert James Obot Jan.30, 2011 (Ibibio)
20) Miss Faith Asuquo Udo, December 22, 2010 (Ibibio)
21) Chief Albert Ukpanah (2014) Annang

LIST OF THOSE FALSELY INCACERATED BY AKWA IBOM STATE GOVTERNMENT.
1) Hon. Fabian Ekpenyong (only surviving Ekpenyong brothers) incarcerated for refusing to testify falsely for the government. (Ibibio)
2) Dr. Chris Ekong accused of killing the Ekpenyong brothers. (Record shows he was in South Africa when the murder took place) (Ibibio)
3) Mr. Davidson Uboh substituted for the real killers of Ekpenyong brothers who were let out of jail. (Ibibio)
4) Mr. Otu Ekong substituted for the real killers of Ekpenyong brothers. (Ibibio)
5) Mr. Itoro William substituted for the real killers of the Ekpenyong brothers (Ibibio)
6) Chief Ononokpono incarcerated for asking questions of the governor in the media (Oron)
7) Dr. Chris Nyong charged with treason but released on bail (Ibibio)
8) Amb. Sam Edem falsely accused of stealing and charming the governor- acquit­ted by a judge (Ibibio)
9) Chief Imeh Umanah—Oct.2010 (Annang)
10) Senator John James Udoedehe (Ibibio)
11) Thomas Thomas—Journalist—July, 2014 (Ibibio)
12) Albert Ukpana’s son—2014—(Annang).
13) Imeime Jerome—Journalist —2007— (Ibibio)

Threat to Akpabio’s Life: Dr. Ime Umanah Wins Again.

6 Jul

BY NDON ASIAN

The Akwa Ibom State Government found itself at a cross road in the ongoing trial of Dr. Ime Sampson Umanah as Hon. Justice Ifiok Ukana ruled to reject the statement of the first accused person in the trial within trial. This is the second time that the same statement has been ruled upon and marked “rejected” in a second trial within trial.

Akpabio and Ime Umanah.

The first was by the Honourable State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua, whose earlier ruling has now been vindicated. Hon. Justice Ukana in a detailed and very well considered ruling captured every argument, evidence led, cross examination and important issues relevant to arriving at the conclusion in the mini-trial. Much of what rendered the case of the state against Ime Umanah and Ikemesit Iyire in the trial within trial hopelessly doomed included evidence of what transpired at the place of arrest of DW 1 (Mr. Ikemesit Iyire) before the departure from Ikot Ekpene to Uyo and inside the bus, which were not challenged nor contradicted.

It is instructive to observe that throughout the trial within trial the state either failed or neglected to have any of the operatives who effected the arrest of the first accused testify as one of its witnesses.

Again, the Court noted that the only version of event which transpired before and after DW1 was taken before the state Director of SSS is that of DW1, concluding that the state failed to cross-examine DW1 in respect of his narration of the event, that is the meeting with the Director. “The prosecution is divided as to whether the two pages of the statement are in the same ink. There is no evidence from the prosecution particularly PW1 (Uche Nwokolo) who said he supervised the taking of the statement that as the statement was being written by DW1 he encountered problem with the writing material he was using.

That evidence should have come from him but he did not offer any such explanation”, the Court pointed out on the issue of different shades of ink on the two pages of the alleged confessional. On the mutilated date on the confessional statement form signed by PW 3 (DSP Moses Eno), the Court had the following to say, “I have looked at the said confessional statement form. Directly after PW3 signature is his rank DSP next to it is the mutilated date. It shows a superimposition of 5 on 3 with 2 in front of 5 to achieve 25.

Thereafter you find a doctoring of 0 to 1 with another 1 in front obviously to change 11 to 10, all to present to this Court 25/10/2010 as against 3/11/2010. I have said that every document speaks for itself. What the confessional statement form has spoken with respect to the date written by PW3 is that it is mutilated, changed from 3/11/2010 to 25/10/2010”. And for the second time PW3 was said not to be a truthful witness. “Using this to assess the evidence of PW3 is without wasting words, is to say that PW3 is not a witness of truth. I cannot believe him”, the Court noted.

On the urge by lead defense counsel, Samuel Ikpo Esq. that the Court should expunge the evidence of Uche Nwokolo from the record of proceedings in the trial within trial, Justice Ukana ruled that “PW1 was listed as a witness in the main trial to that extent he could be accommodated in the trial within a trial. However given his reaction to the statement filed along with the notice of additional evidence on 12/7/2013 where PW1 distanced himself from the statement credited to him PW1 cannot be the person through whom any document considered fit can be admitted as exhibit in the main trial”. In the end the Court held that, “Arising from the totality of the foregoing I hold that the statement of the 1st accused person who is DW1 in this trial which statement is dated 25/10/2010 was not voluntary. It was a product of inducement. If the statement of 25/10/2010 is not voluntary, the confessional statement form cannot validate it and cloth it with a toga of voluntariness given its own problem.

Consequently the statement credited to the 1st accused and dated 25/10/2010 and the confessional statement form shall both be marked rejected”. The ruling has not only laid to rest the controversy which surrounded the statement but has additionally limited the options of the state to four. The state may proceed to appeal in what may certainly amount to an exercise in delay and waste of time or it may continue into the main trial without any exhibit to found a conviction.

The state may also wish, as a face saving measure, to enter a nully prosecui through the Attorney General, to discontinue the case or commence the trial afresh in another Court, but this option may be impossible to explain to Court why there should be no end to litigation. Speaking shortly after the ruling one Daniel Uko from Abak among the many consistent faces that had followed this trial who spoke with Weekly Insight praised the boldness and forthrightness of the Judge whom he described as “very intelligent and acting without fear or favour”. Uko also praised the defense team particularly Samuel Ikpo Esq. and wondered why the government should not read “the handwriting on the wall and save itself from the embarrassment of losing after this many years in court”, to withdraw. The state was represented by Mary Okobo (Mrs) while Samuel Ikpo Esq led a team of seven layers for the defense.

Obong Attah Slams Akpabio …Says Pension Law is Fraudulent.

31 May

 Ex-Gov. Attah attacks Akpabio over scandalous pension law: Says “Publish what you pay me”

Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah, has challenged the incumbent, Governor Godswill Akpabio, to publish how much he has paid him (Mr. Attah) and past leaders of the state as pension.

Ex-Governor Attah

This followed claims by Mr. Akpabio that the government had been spending huge resources in taking care of former governors as well as deputy governors and their spouses.

Mr. Attah, who spoke in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, also berated journalists, especially those who recently interviewed the Akwa Ibom state governor, for not asking Mr. Akpabio pertinent questions about his management of the state resources.

He said, “If Godswill Akpabio says he conceived the new law to put a ceiling to the expenses made on previous leaders of the state, somebody should have had the guts to ask him how much he has been paying to the past leaders.

“You journalists are afraid of Godswill Akpabio and that is why you have always shied away from asking some pertinent questions.”

Governor Akpabio, who appeared on a breakfast show on Channels Television earlier in the day had described as laughable, the criticisms that have trailed the new law that would enable him earn over N200 million as pension annually.

Mr. Akpabio said, “It’s a laughable situation that people generate controversy over the pension law. The law has been in existence in Akwa Ibom State. I am the one implementing it.

“I know what I am talking about and because I wear the shoe, I know where it pinches. All the former elected governors and their deputies have been enjoying the pension. The pension was first established in 2000 and was further amended with certain provisions added in 2006.”
While explaining the general principles of the new law, he said, “It’s really not a retroactive law, neither is it a new law. It is an existing law that went through amendment.

He noted that the old law was open-ended in terms of benefits payable to past governors, deputies and their spouses.

He said, “We had a situation where bills from former deputies and their spouses worth N29 million were brought from several hospitals they claimed they went for treatment abroad.

“Because the bill did not specify whether the hospital should be in Nigeria or not, most of what I have seen in the past seven years has been bills from hospitals abroad.”

In the course of implementing the existing law, Mr. Akpabio said some former governors and their deputies have brought bills ranging from $50,000, $70,000, and sometimes $112,000.

He argued that it was against decorum to question the medical bills of past leaders on grounds that there are high, and mentioned an instance where a former leader requested for funds to hire an airline to take his spouse for treatment abroad.

But Mr. Attah, who sounded angry said, “Why don’t you people ask him how much the state has paid to its past leaders? Why don’t you people ask him how much has been paying to Obong Attah and others?
“I don’t like it when journalists always come to ask me about what is wrong in Akwa Ibom State instead of asking Godswill Akpabio.

“He is the one who said he has been paying so much to past governors and wanted to put ceiling on what is paid out to check wastage of public funds. Those who interviewed him should have asked him to mention just how much he has paid so far.

“They didn’t ask him such questions; they didn’t ask him to clarify on the projects he said he has been carrying out in the state.
“I don’t have anything to tell you since you do not have the guts to ask Governor Akpabio to present proofs of what he has been paying to past leaders of the state.

“You journalists should go and look at the law critically and ask him whether Obong Attah has been enjoying any of the benefits provided for in the law.

“You should also ask him whether he built a retirement home for me either in Uyo or Abuja. Ask him to tell you how much he has been paying to Obong Attah as retirement package after I left office.

“These are questions Akpabio should answer and should provide verifiable records to Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians. Journalists should stop asking me questions they should ordinarily ask Governor Godswill Akpabio. I want to enjoy my retirement in peace.”

Mr. Attah said journalists should stop using him as a shield against their inability to confront Governor Akpabio to tell them the truth about what is happening in Akwa Ibom State.

Culled from Premiumtimes

Breaking! 4 Best Graduates At Dillard University USA Are all Nigerians.

11 May

*Michelle Obama tells Dillard University graduates hunger for education creates future geniuses

The Associated Press

Senior class president Nicole A. Tinson takes a selfie with first lady Michelle Obama during Dillard University’s commencement ceremony in New Orleans, Saturday, May 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Associated PressMay 10, 2014Leave a Comment SHARE

By CHEVEL JOHNSON, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A hunger for education should continue beyond graduation and should be used to guide and inspire “the next generation of geniuses,” first lady Michelle Obama said Saturday.

In her commencement address at Dillard University, the first lady described the 226 graduates of the historically black college as a “sea of young geniuses” and told them they have opportunities and skills that their parents and grandparents never could have imagined.

“Imagine the impact you will make,” she said. “You have no excuses to stand on the sidelines. Education is still the key to real and lasting freedom. It’s up to us to cultivate that hunger for education in those coming after us.”

 

Mrs. Obama noted how people “scrape and claw” their way to an education, acknowledging the parents who work three jobs to give their children a shot at a better life.

“This is the realization of the dreams of so many who came before you,” she said. “You should be so proud and so happy and so excited, but you shouldn’t be satisfied. Ask yourselves, ‘What about all those geniuses who’ll never get this chance?’ … When people fall behind in school, they fall behind in life.”

She pointed the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were recently kidnapped “for wanting an education and wanting to go to school,” and 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who survived a gunshot to the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for advocating education for girls.

The first lady ticked off statistics about the high rate of unemployment and poverty in the black community and the number of people from that community in prison or who are victims of violent crimes.

“You may be thinking those numbers are terrible, but I’m not a part of that problem … but folks like you and me, we can’t afford to think like that ever, because we’re the lucky ones.

“We got here today because of so many people who toiled and sweat and bled and died for us … people who never dreamed of getting a college education for themselves but who worked and saved and sacrificed so that we could be here today. We owe them. We owe them. And the only way to pay back that debt is by making those same kinds of sacrifices and investments for the next generation.”

She encouraged the graduates to start small, such as through volunteering as a tutor or by rallying their communities to start a mentor program, but she didn’t reject the possibility of larger contributions, such as serving on a school board, in Congress or as president.

“Let’s turn that pipeline to prison into a highway to college,” she said.

“I want you all to keep raising your bars,” she said in closing. “Let the next generation know that there is no greater investment than a good education.

Obama also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university as did U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who joined Obama for a meeting later Saturday with spouses of veterans at an event at the National World War II Museum.

The top four Dillard graduates all coincidentally come from Nigeria. The 20-year-old valedictorian, Merrilyn Akpapuna, who comes from the southeastern corner of Nigeria, plans postgraduate study at Western Michigan University in the fall.

I will establish industrial renaissance in Akwa Ibom – Amb Assam.

21 Mar

 

Amb Assam Assam at a town hall meeting in Houston

 

The Nigerian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Russia and Belarus, His Excellency, Ambassador Assam Ekanem Assam  (SAN) has lauded the Akwa Ibom State governor, Chief Godswill  Akpabio for  changing the infrastructural landscaping of the State and making the state accessible to industrial revolution. Ambassador Assam made the commendation early this week   in a Town Hall Meeting with business community, intelligentsia and socio-cultural groups in Houston, Texas, the United States of America.

He maintained nobody was capable of faulting the governor when it comes to his infrastructural transformation agenda. He argued that when Akpabio talked about making changes with anger, it did not translate to mean he was an angry man; rather he came and saw the road decay, got angry over it and in the same vein, transformed it.

Ambassador Assam Assam in chit-chat after Town Hall Meeting in Houston

Ambassador Assam Assam in chit-chat after Town Hall Meeting in Houston

Ambassador Assam said when elected into office, he will transform the state to an industrial renaissance in a few years in office. He said there was no denying the fact that people of the state have complained bitterly about hunger and poverty as one of the indices critically bedeviling the state, a case which he said his administration will pay serious attention to, especially in areas of agriculture, technology, industry and trade.

“There’s no doubt that this administration has adorned the state with infrastructural facilities; and you will agree with me that this is the dot that connects industrialization. Akpabio must be applauded for this; and even his critics will be silent on this salient fact. I will no longer donate too much time on this direction but to ensure that our people get opportunity for massive employment. You cannot go to school and study when you’re hungry; you cannot even take medication with empty stomach. That’s why I’ll make Akwa Ibom an Industrial hub for massive employment to set in. It is a goal I want all of you all both at home and in Diaspora to support me with.” Assam said.

Ambassador Assam Assam chatting with top academic during Town Hall Meeting in Houston Texas

Ambassador Assam Assam chatting with top academic during Town Hall Meeting in Houston Texas

On whether he was intimidated that Governor Akpabio was fronting a particular candidate for the governorship position, he said he was not aware of anybody being anointed by Akpabio to succeed him, and the governor being a true democrat, he will not venture to impose a candidate on the people, as the people will resist such imposition. He maintained that any qualified candidate of the state will not hide behind the governor or the president to seek an elective office; only the misfit could do that.

“My people, I don’t think governor Akpabio has anointed anybody to succeed him. Let’s assume that this is coming from the rumor mill. The governor, whom I know, is a true democrat; and true democrats do not impose leaders on the people. The people are allowed by democrats to elect their leaders. If anybody intends to impose a leader on the people, the people will rise against such imposition. You’re the people, will you allow anybody to impose any leader on you? Assam asked rhetorically?

On whether the zoning system affects him adversely or favorably, Chief Assam maintained he was not contesting the governorship position based on the zoning arrangement. He stated that the rotation and zoning principle was entirely the People Democratic Party’s (PDP) affair. He explained that since zoning principle was enshrined in the PDP constitution, it was the party decision to make arrangement based on its constitution; and if it decided on the zoning, it would be more favorable to him given that he’s from Eket Senatorial District (ESD) which governor Akpabio and majority of the people of the state have zoned the position to; but if it were going to be a free for all contests, he sees himself as the most qualified candidate given his vast administrative, political, social and professional experience.

“I have served in various positions of the government. I graduated as lawyer since 1979 and was called to Bar in 1980. I have played active politics since then, and have represented my people both in the local, State and federal levels most diligently; this you all know. I have represented a lot of you sitting here, my brothers and sisters, in various cases in court and won. I have been an Attorney General of the state; today I am representing the Federal government of Nigeria as an Ambassador of Russia and Belarus. I don’t need to sing my praises; I just want to remind my people of the quality person that you will have to support as a governor of your state. It is my credentials that intimidate other aspirants. That is why some of them want to hide behind somebody to contest election.”

Assam called on the Diaspora to participate actively in the politics at home to change the thinking and orientation of the people and fight the culture of ethnic politics which is currently raging like wild fire in the state.

Amb Assam Conferring with Business Community during the Houston Town Hall Meeting

Amb Assam Conferring with Business Community during the Houston Town Hall Meeting

Town Hall Meeting: IKOT ABASI On Rampage, Vandalizes Akpabio’s Convoy Over Udom’s Rants.

19 Mar

By Udeme Usen.

Akpabio: miffed by attck

Akpabio: miffed by attack

Another round of violence trailed today’s town hall meeting by Governor Godswill Akpabio. Vehicles and other properties were massively destroyed in Ikot Abasi as the constituency tour enters its third week. One person is believed to have been killed while several others sustained serious injuries. Today’s violence started after Emmanuel Udom ended his vote of thanks by saying that as one who is in government, he has every government document at his disposal and could manipulate this in his favor in 2015. He insinuated that with this singular edge, he was the candidate to beat in the 2015 election. The statement angered the already irked youths who immediately went on rampage against the governor and his envoy. The situation was worsened when members of the Crowd Control Unit (CCU) attempted to stop the angry youths. They were overcome by the hordes of Ikot Abasi Youths who chased and beat them mercilessly. The governor’s convoy was also attacked by the

Slain Ikot Abasi Youth during rampage on Akapbio Town Hall Meeting.

Slain Ikot Abasi Youth during rampage on Akapbio Town Hall Meeting.

angry youths.
The youths were angry that Udom Emmanuel was not only undermining their collective role which they will play in the 2015 governorship election, but had also gone too far to insult their sensibilities.
As at this evening, smokes from burnt tires and vehicles were everywhere around the town hall meeting venue and it’s environs.
It would be recalled that only on the first day of the briefing in Eket, elders of Eket Senatorial district had warned Akpabio not to go ahead with his plans of singling out a candidate from the senatorial district for the people of Eket as they are capable of selecting their own candidate in an open and level playing field. Former Miniater, Essien Nduese had particularly called on all aspirants from Eket to contest in the election and not think that Akpabio was going to select anyone at the detriment of other qualified candidates from the area.
This evening’s violence is the worst in the series of opposition which Akpabio has had since the beginning of the briefing. During the briefing of Ikono/Ini, the head of the CCU, Emmanuel Ukoette was ruthlessly beaten by some angry youths who said Emman had come to tear their No-Zoning placards which they carried at the venue of the town all.

Udeme Usen.
Mkpat Enin.

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