Text of Press Statement by the Leadership of the APC in Akwa Ibom State read by Atuekong Don Etiebiet
Just this afternoon, a bullet was fired into the bedroom of our Governorship Candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere. The State Police Commissioner and the Director of the DSS have visited and commenced investigations. This makes it very urgent for us as a party to raise an alarm concerning the security situation in the State.
Sir, we wish to bring to your notice a series of actions perpetrated by the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that are threatening peace and public order in the State. These actions align with the public avowals of the State PDP Chairman, Obong Paul Ekpo and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke who recently declared that they will do everything possible to stop candidates of our party from campaigning freely and openly in their bid to keep the PDP government in power.
Some of these actions include:
1. Violent, Politically-motivated Attacks on APC Members:
We will like to report with heavy heart that in the last few weeks, there has been a number of violent, politically motivated attacks on APC members in the state perpetrated by known PDP thugs at the behest of the current PDP-led Administration in Akwa Ibom State. On one instance, on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, one of our APC aspirants, Mrs. Utitofon Okon and a host of supporters escaped death by whiskers following ambush and attacks on her campaign convoys by PDP thugs in Uruan Local Government. She was returning from a campaign visit to her constituency in Northern Uruan Ward 1 when by about 5.00pm, PDP gunmen opened fire on her convoy destroying her cars and slightly wounding some of her supporters. The situation was saved by divine intervention.
In another attack on Sunday, September 30, 2018 in Awa Ward 1 of Onna Local Government Area, the APC primaries was violently disrupted, voters and party officials chased away, vehicles vandalized and furniture destroyed by PDP gunmen.
Pictorial evidence of the attacks in both instances are attached.
These attacks come on the heels of the call by the Director General of Udom Emmanuel’s Campaign Organisation to Governor Emmanuel to prepare for war against the APC.
2. Systematic destruction of billboards of Mr. Nsima Ekere, our Governorship Candidate.
We have on good authority that one of the strategies adopted by the government is to deny/cancel all approvals for outdoor advertising in the state for our Governorship Candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere. Within 24 hours of display, billboards belonging to Mr. Ekere along Airport Road, Uyo, were systematically destroyed by PDP and government agents. No fewer than four of these billboards have been destroyed and defaced. Please see the attached photographs.
Sir, in addition to this criminal and malicious destruction, the State Government has asked our outdoor advertising consultant to pull down all our billboards, failing which, the government will take action to remove them from the streets. Please see also the attached letter from the government.
Sir, in erecting these billboards, we have met all financial and other obligations to the state government. It is therefore obvious that the government’s actions and threats to remove our billboards are politically motivated. This has the potential to create political crisis in the State as APC members are not only furious but bent on a revenge attack.
3. Attempt to truncate the ongoing investigations and trial of two known PDP political thugs, Messrs Patrick Moses and Ifiok Ekpenyong.
A clear case of murder was established by the Inspector General’s monitoring team after diligent investigations. Both men were arraigned at the magistrate court in Itu Local Government Area and the case file subsequently transferred to DPP for prosecution. The duo killed a boy at a polling unit in 2011 and also inflicted several injuries on others. In 2015, they led others to attack the same polling unit. Three persons sustained gunshot wounds. During the last local government elections in the state, the duo terrorized, attacked and injured many APC supporters including a former Director of Public Prosecution in the state and a chieftain of our party In Itu local government. He received several matchet wounds and his house was vandalized. A policeman dispatched to the village to investigate the matter was roundly beaten up also.
While we believe in the cardinal principle that no one should be pronounced guilty unless tried by a court of competent jurisdiction, we are however aware that the State Government is now trying to avert justice and release the boys solely to use them against the APC team in the state in the forthcoming elections.
These actions individually and collectively are direct threat to life and have the tendency to spark serious crisis in the state ahead of the 2019 elections. We have been informed that these violent activities are part of a larger plan by the PDP government to unleash terror and mayhem on APC supporters across the state to intimidate party members into surrendering to the physical might of the state government.
Therefore, to forestall a breakdown of law and order, we respectfully request that you use your good offices to:
1. Immediately intervene and call the Akwa Ibom State Government to order to avert bloodbath in the state. In the event that the federal authorities fail to intervene to protect the lives and properties of APC members, we are concerned that they might be a resort to self-defence which will be a recipe for anarchy.
2. Institute a high-powered team to investigate the role of the Akwa Ibom State Government and the PDP in the violent attacks against APC members and bring the culprits to justice without delay.
3. Ask Governor Udom Emmanuel to desist from further destruction of our billboards and give public assurances that all APC outdoor materials will not be destroyed in any part of the state.
4. Stop every attempt to circumvent justice by causing an open, transparent and diligent prosecution of the Itu suspects in order to bring them to justice.
5. Get the Governor to call his agents and party members to order so that peace will reign in the state as the campaign season begins.
October 3, 2018