Editor - EMEKE IKE
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has called for the immediate withdrawal of the police commissioner, Mr. Musa Kimo, so that peace can return to the state.He specifically asked the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to ensure the exit of Kimo from the state in the interest of peace.Emmanuel’s demand came as combatants in the raging leadership crisis in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly returned to the trenches yesterday with the Executive arm of government, the legislature, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) accusing one another of fuelling the feud.He made the demand at a press conference yesterday on the aftermath of the turmoil that enveloped the Assembly when a faction of the House made up of five APC lawmakers allegedly invaded the House with thugs which led to a clash with those loyal to Onofiok Luke, the speaker, at the assembly premises.The governor, who lamented that democracy was under threat in the state, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to call the police to order. Emmanuel said:, “I want the whole world to know that we have seen a total breakdown of law and order today (yesterday), led by the Nigeria police, the same police that I’m using the resources of the state to make sure that we maintain law and order in this state.”The state, the governor lamented was under siege by the police.
He said that the speaker was only obeying the court order which stated that the seats of the defected lawmakers should be declared vacant and that the police, on the order of Kimo led the five lawmakers to the House, adding that it was unfortunate that those arrested for unleashing the mayhem were set free without due process of investigations by the police. Emmanuel said: “We want to let the whole world know that whatever happened in this state is caused by the police, perpetrated and led by the state police commissioner.”The member representing Itu constituency, Hon. Ituen Idongesit, was sacked by a Federal High Court in Uyo for defecting from the PDP) to the APC.
The Speaker then declared vacant the seats of four more lawmakers who had also defected from the PDP to APC.The sacked lawmakers later held their sitting at an undisclosed location where they allegedly removed the Speaker and “elected” Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim constituency) as their “new speaker”.Earlier, Emmanuel had accused Senator Godswill Akpabio of working with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and Kimo to forcefully take over the state. His allegation was prompted by another siege on the House of Assembly by security agents, resulting in violent clashes between the governor’s security details and the police orderlies attached to the five APC lawmakers, who invaded the House yesterday.The lawmakers, whose seats were declared vacant by Hon. Luke on the orders of the Federal High Court are Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim), Victor Udofia (Ikono), Gabriel Toby (Ika/Etim Ekpo), Idongesit Ituen (Itu) and Otobong Ndem (Mkpat Enin).Last week, the lawmakers forcefully gained entrance into the Assembly chambers where they claimed to have sat and impeached the Speaker (Luke) and “elected” Hon. Ntuen as his successor. A similar scenario played out yesterday when the five lawmakers came earlier to reconvene the House and held a plenary session with a resolution to begin the process for the removal of the governor.
But governor Emmanuel, in a swift move, stormed the House and dislodged the lawmakers amid exchange of gunfire between security officials on both sides.After he personally guarded the PDP lawmakers to have a peaceful plenary, Emmanuel told journalists at the Government House that “my state is under security threat and the police should be blamed”.He accused the CP of playing the script of his boss, IGP Idris, as directed by the presidency, saying that the democracy Nigerians fought for and lost their lives in the process, was under threat by “occupation forces”. He wondered why Senator Akpabio, whom he alleged had benefitted so much as a commissioner for six years and a governor for eight years under the PDP, should turn around to fight the same system that gave him fame and fortune.He also claimed that the federal government was deploying the oil money generated mostly from Akwa Ibom to stir up the political crisis with the sole aim of making the state ungovernable and declare a state of emergency “so that they can postpone the forthcoming elections in Akwa Ibom.”For his alleged complicity in the crisis, the Assembly yesterday voted for the removal of the CP and the governor affirmed it, saying the state would not know peace, if the CP and the head of Quick Response Squad (QRS) continued to superintend over its security. The CP allegedly arrested some hoodlums in military uniforms and recovered 18 AK-47 rifles during the crisis at the Assembly premises yesterday, “but sadly enough, he (CP) allowed all of them to go with the rifles,” he said.
“The entire police structure is under one political party. How can we have three commissioners’ of police within 24 hours in one state?” he exclaimed and urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately intervened in the crisis.It was gathered that the Assembly was taken over yesterday by 300 policemen and supported by hundreds of thugs.The police and hoodlums stormed the Assembly as early as 5am and barricaded the entrance thereby preventing the workers and PDP lawmakers into it.At 7am the dismissed lawmakers commenced plenary under the protection of the police and thugs without the clerk and other officials in attendance. After two hours, the PDP members gained access into the Assembly, as the governor visited the complex where CP Musa Kimo denied knowledge of the police barricading the complex.Governor Emmanuel who inspected the House of Assembly to evaluate the level of damage done by the thugs and policemen expressed disappointment at the development.Before then, the thugs had set ablaze vehicles belonging to some lawmakers and their aides, as well as vandalised offices in the building. Thereafter, the PDP members led by Hon. Luke commenced their plenary.How I Was Beaten Up By Thugs – Factional ‘Speaker’Meanwhile, the factional Speaker, Hon. Nse Ntuen, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of thugs, claiming that Governor Emmanuel personally supervised his beating by the hoodlums.Ntuen, who represents Essien Udim state constituency, spoke from an undisclosed hospital in Uyo, the state capital. He said that he narrowly escaped being lynched by thugs, allegedly ordered by the governor.Speaking to reporters on phone from his hospital bed, Ntuen explained that “when I heard that the governor was coming, I waited patiently for him. When he arrived, I was led before him by policemen and officials of the Department of State Services (DSS). “The governor started asking me why we are fomenting trouble in the state and I was about explaining when suddenly he walked away with the security officials and left me alone with thugs who immediately pounced on me and there was no one to help me.
I only escaped by the whiskers,” he lamented.APC Lawmakers blame Invasion On Gov UdomIn their response, the APC lawmakers blamed Govenor Emmanuel for the invasion of the House by thugs. They alleged that the governor led some security officers and some youths to dislodge them from the complex.Ntuen said that following the invasion, he and other lawmakers in his camp were prevented from sitting.However, the information commissioner, Charles Udoh, dismissed the allegation and described the governor as a man of peace who abhors violence.PDP Condemns Attack On HouseIn its reaction to the latest round of crisis, the PDP national secretariat condemned the invasion of the Assembly by security forces allegedly working for the APC. The opposition party said that the invasion was a move to forcefully take over the control of the legislature and destabilise the state.The PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that it is shocking how invading security forces shot sporadically and disrupted legislative activities in the attempt to assist the APC to forcefully overthrow the duly elected leadership of the state legislature.