The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has decried Wednesday’s assassination attempt on the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), saying the attack aligns with “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.”
Addressing journalists in Uyo, hours after the attack, the party bigwigs said bullets apparently fired by snipers landed in the living room of Obong Ekere’s Uyo residence.
The scene was subsequently cordoned off and the expended bullets extracted following the visit of the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi and operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
Reading from a press statement, Chairman of the APC State Caucus, Atuekong Don Etiebiet, noted that the security situation in the state has worsened given “the violent, politically-motivated attacks on APC members in the state”, and added that “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.”
Calling on security agencies to investigate the attack and bring its masterminds to book, the stakeholders also condemned incidences including attacks on the party’s House of Assembly hopeful in Uruan, Hon. Utitofon Itoro Okon, armed invasion and violent disruption of the APC primaries in Awa Ward 1 of Onna Local Government Area, and destruction of campaign billboards of Mr. Nsima Ekere.
The Akwa Ibom State government was also accused of attempting to “truncate the ongoing murder 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”, it was alleged.
“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”, the party claimed.
Amongst other prayers of the party was for security agencies to “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.”
On his part, the APC governorship flagbearer, Obong Nsima Ekere said the incident was very disturbing coming on the heels of an attack on the Essien Udim residence of former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, following Akpabio’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obong Ekere also condemned the destruction of some of his campaign billboards in Uyo and the threat by the State Ministry of Environment to bring down his billboards still standing.
“We don’t understand this level of intolerance for the opposition, democracy is about allowing people to choose who they want.
I call on the Federal Government to cause the State Government to allow democracy to thrive in Akwa Ibom State without let or hindrance,” he said.
State chairman of the APC, Dr. Ini Okopido, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and Senior Special Assistant to President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, also spoke against the attack.
(C) Ofonime Honesty