Akpabio swears in New Deputy Governor
Posted by: Kazeem Ibrahym, Uyo
Akwa Ibom state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, yesterday swore in Lady Valerie Ebe as the new Deputy Governor four days after the resignation of the last occupant, Nsima Ekere.
Akpabio said the swearing into office of Ebe would fast track the development of the state.
The Governor spoke at the Government House in Uyo, the state capital.
Akpabio said: “The change of baton in the Office of the Deputy Governor was nothing more than a shift of gear.
“I believe that, everything considered, we will run faster in the pace of our development and our momentum will only increase.
“The partnership for change between my administration and the good people of Akwa Ibom state is still on.”
He advised his deputy against failure even as he paid tribute to the contributions of Lady Ebe who earlier served as commissioner in two different ministries and in a government agency.
According to Akpabio, Lady Ebe’s contribution as a woman would break new grounds for the women, noting that Akwa Ibom is leading in the revolution for gender equality in the country with the swearing in of first female Deputy Governor 25 years after the state creation.
Acccording to him: “The burden of being the first is that her performance and achievements will either break new ceilings for women or close the ceilings against them. She cannot afford to fail.
“Though gender was not a consideration in her appointment, a section of the public would definitely see it as being at the vanguard of our faith for more women participation in governance.
“By her appointment, we now have a triumvirate of women in key positions like the Chief Judge, Head of Civil and a Deputy Governor.
Akwa Ibom is definitely leading the revolution for gender equality in our country.”
The governor congratulated her as he recalled that as commissioner, Lady Ebe had served the state with honour, distinction, integrity and enthusiasm and enjoined her to bring those attributes to her new office, while also seeing herself as a servant, indigene of the 31 local government areas and a friend of all.
On the out-gone Deputy Governor, Ekere, Akpabio acknowledged his services to the state since 2007, when he served as the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Investment and Promotions Council, (AKIIPOC).
Ebe was born on March 26, 1947 in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area under Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District and had served a Commissioner for Culture and Tourism as well as that for Environment in addition to having served as a state PDP Legal Adviser.
Source: The Nation, 4th November 2012.
Court Upholds Governor Akpabio’s Election
FROM LEMMY UGHEGBE, ABUJA
THE Federal High Court, Abuja Division, yesterday put a judicial seal on the gubernatorial victory of Chief Godswill Akpabio as it declared him the duly elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State. In his judgment in a suit brought by a gubernatorial aspirant in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Frank Okon claiming he was unlawfully excluded from the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on January 15 last year in order to pave way for Akpabio’s emergence as the party’s standard bearer to the governorship election, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
Okon had prayed the court to declare him the winner of the PDP governorship primary in the state and subsequently the governor of Akwa Ibom State. He also sought the declaration of the Court that the primary did not comply with the 2010 Electoral Act.
In his ruling, Justice Kafarati held that since by his own admission, the Plaintiff (Okon) did not participate in the governorship primary, he therefore lacked the locus standi to challenge the said primary, citing an earlier judgment delivered by the Supreme Court to declare that only candidates who participate in an election can complain about the conduct of the primary. According to her: “I hold that the plaintiff was not a candidate and therefore lacks the locus to challenge the primary,” he said.
The Judge also held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit since it was purely a party affair and pre-primary issues.
Source: The Guardian, 15th September 2012.
US Ambassador to Nigeria Commissions
Fish Project at CRARN Centre
Akpabio: State Police is the Rational Way to Go
Governor Godswill Akpabio is often in an upbeat mood. You would too if your state is literally speaking the richest in the country. You would have to concede though that the huge resources have been put to judicious use. But you have to wonder also why he seems bent on further grabbing a paltry 76 oil wells from Cross River, a sister state. He dismisses such insinuation. He tells Laurence Ani, Roland Ogbonnaya and Ahamefula Ogbu why he called for dialogue on the issue, support state police and intends to run for Senate in 2015. Excerpts:
What did you consider the most expedient area of need five years ago when you were inaugurated?
First of all what was very apparent when I came in as the governor in 2007 was the lack of access roads to many local governments in the state and even the state capital itself and most of our local government headquarters, the dilapidation was very apparent. That was the first major thing that I noticed. There were a lot of things if you look at governance generally you could say there were a lot of issues that needed to be addressed: the absence of road infrastructure and the dilapidated nature of what we used to have as roads, you could say that was the first major one.
The other one was in terms of education. The situation was such that there were too many children who were being trafficked outside under the guise of being sent to school and they were being used as child prostitutes in Gabon, in Ghana and some small countries around us and then a lot of them were serving as houseboys and house girls in Lagos, in Abuja and other places and the reason for that was obvious, inability to access school meant that your parents were either very poor or you had no means of support so I had to address that and that was the reason why a year after I became the state governor, I declared free and compulsory education up to senior secondary school level and then I signed a bill into law to protect the rights of children and stop maltreatment of children in all facets; so looking back five years after and looking back four years at that policy, I feel very gratified that today we have tripled school enrolment in Akwa Ibom State and then I was also mindful of the need of other Nigerians so I felt if you educate your children and you don’t educate your neighbour’s you are preparing armed robbers to attack your graduate children so I declared the free and compulsory education open to all Nigerian children who are resident in Akwa Ibom; so today we have more than triple school enrolment. The schools are bursting, the facilities are stretched, we had to employ more teachers and all that but I am very satisfied that the response has been tremendous.
So many of our children returned from many places , from Gabon, from Senegal, from so many places, from Lagos and Abuja infact some orphans and I don’t want to use the word destitutes came back so they needed support so we had to set up a center here which we call Divine Children’s home which is run by the office of the First Lady to cater for those children and they are all in school anyway and then I did not just stop there, I made sure that basic education was compulsory, not just the question of free education and then to avoid a situation where the heads of schools whether Headmaster or Principal attempted to charge the children using all sorts of excuses, we decided to pay some subventions, so we paid N100 per child per term to the Headmaster in the primary school and N300 per child per term to Principal for logistics and that policy was well received across by the bodies of Principals and Headmistresses and Headmasters in the State. That way, children are now allowed to go to school. We had to even abolish Parents Teachers Association levies.
We changed the configuration of road construction and we insisted that we shouldn’t do political roads where you put laterite over black soil and then put asphalt and six months later the road starts smiling which was the situation that we found in many parts of the Niger Delta so today there is no single road we did even way back in 2007 2008, none has a single pothole because we made sure the construction was near perfect and then we brought in first class construction companies to assist.
Julius Berger for instance is working in Akwa Ibom for the first time since 1960 and then you have companies like Setraco and companies that work for Shell, Semco even one of the best Chinese construction companies we are patronising in the country, CCECC construction Company, they are also in Akwa Ibom and of course the policies have to be such that it places high priority on ensuring that payments were made as and when due and not only that, we set up a robust monitoring system made of architects, quantity surveyors, engineers and all that and we call them Senior Assistants to Governor on Project Monitoring. We brought in a professional from Schlumberger who is a general manager and put him there as Special Adviser on Technical Services to supervise them and it doesn’t matter who does a job here, the quality must be the same because people are on ground to ensure that if you need 9cm of asphalt it is 9 cm whether you are a JB or you are an unknown contractor and the achievement has been tremendous and really wonderful in that direction and I think if you go round you will be slightly impressed with what you would see.
I did not promise my people flyovers but we have just completed the fourth me in Uyo and the dualised roads are everywhere to see. We did not also distinguish between State and Federal roads, we decided to intervene in all hoping that in future the federal government will refund the money to us because most of the federal roads here were in terrible condition for over 30 years and now hardly do you see federal workers or people like you come from Lagos or Abuja to traverse those roads.
We were the ones suffering and dying on the roads on daily basis so I decided to intervene in that manner and I thank the people of Akwa Ibom for understanding with me because I just don’t think the transformation would have been enough if we had only concentrated on what we call intra roads without looking at the external roads from where you approach the State from other States of the federation. So to a large extent we have been able to answer the yearnings of our people and we go round and people shout and say so government can work. A lot of people did not know that government can work.
So, how would you rate your performance?
If I look at the last count in five years, if you judge me you judge me as an old governor that is why I tell people that after five years I have been stabilised on the job. We have done over a thousand kilometres of roads, intervened in over 295 urban roads and we have dualised a lot of federal thoroughfares and all that.
In 50 years we had no airport but today we have an airport. It was an ongoing project; on bare ground, there was nothing on the ground, the work done was less than 10 per cent but we have finished the first phase and we lifted over 450,000 passengers since we started in 2009 November and then today I can tell you that Akwa Ibom is now a destination courtesy of the access we have created through the International airport. Other infrastructure are ongoing at the moment but those were some of the areas that I felt that needed urgent intervention. Roads and education were areas that I felt government needed to do something even if it meant declaring an emergency in that direction so I placed them on very high priorities.
We did not leave out the aspect of food generation so we also intervened a lot in the agricultural sector so today we have managed to improve a lot on food sufficiency in the State. As I speak now we have just completed the major hatchery that we are going to produce day old chick in Uran.
You could see if we want to supply day old chicks to the whole of the South South region and we have just completed it so it is something that is going to be inagurated very soon and we have also assisted a lot of our women with small micro, non interest credit loan of about N250,000 each; over 4500 women in the first phase and we also training our people, young people in batches every quarter, 900 of them each in what we call integrated farming and then we give them stipends of about N500,000 to start small farm holdings and they are doing well; that is a group you can interview and find out from them how far they have gone and whenever you employ one or two people, we increase your money to N1 million and it goes up like that depending on the number of people that you employ.
Here was a totally civil service State that we are now trying to create a little bit of enterprise from so we are thinking that entrepreneurship can start from direct support from the state government so those are just the areas that I felt we needed immediate intervention. Of course there was a lot of dilapidation in the State so the government house was in terrible shape when I came as a governor. I don’t like to remember it because when I wanted to bring it down the House of Assembly had to come in; after inspection they passed a resolution in the House that I should not repair it that I should just bring it down so I had to stay in my house for the first two years as a governor until the whole of the complex was brought down. We did it day and night and we finished it in one year four months.
An interesting part of the State is that if you are a contractor here and you complete your work three months ahead of schedule, you get an automatic second job and that has worked very well for us. We didn’t forget the people in terms of human empowerment so we also have Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee that farms out jobs to five million, 10 million and the rest of them like renovation of schools, provision of potable water, electrification in communities and sundry activities to politicians while we are still giving out big jobs to big construction companies to do for us.
So outside the government house we also built a brand new banquet hall, almost of international standard and then we did a lot of guest houses; those ones you could say are for government but the first place that people go to when they get into the State is the government house, so if the government house does not befit the status of the State it is not good for the people of the State so we had to make sure that this was a showpiece and I think to God’s glory that we have answered what we can call the yearnings of the Akwa Ibom person. The Akwa Ibom person is a very proud person, very clean person very honest person, very dependable person. That is why we man almost all the kitchens, almost all the accounting sections in the country because people trusted us because of our honesty so they could trust us with their children, they could trust us with their food and therefore there was need for me to put up a face so that whenever people come in they will say yes they have done something at home.
Outside the banquet hall and the governor’ lodge, I also decided to build a brand new governor’s office which has just been completed and is going to be inagurated in the next two weeks for the 25th anniversary of the State. Then we have also intervened in the healthcare delivery system; that also was an area we needed outside rehabilitation of a lot of primary health centres we had to go down into rehabilitation of a lot of existing hospitals in the State. One of them is Emmanuel Hospital in Eket, we had one in Ikpitabong, we have one of them in Ikot Ekpene; then we built five brand new General Hospitals and they are operational now in the State and then of course we declared free medical treatment for all pregnant women in the State and so we reduced maternal mortality.
When I was campaigning in Oron Local Government, there was a Senatorial candidate who distributed wheel chairs from First Lady’s programme and one woman came to me and said sir they gave me four wheel chairs; I actually have five cripples and I said my God, how many children and she said six and I said why five, she said I want one more wheel chair so that they will not quarrel. When I left the campaign field I was very sad because I knew that polio was an preventable disease so I had to take that very seriously when I became a governor and I said never again shall a child in my State suffer from polio for someone to come to a campaign field and be looking for a wheel chair. Probably she didn’t know that those were preventable disease so I can tell you that in the last three to four years we have not recorded a single incident of polio in the State.
We had to declare free medical treatment for all children up to the age of five and then give them free vaccination and government is funding. We didn’t leave out the aged, people who are also 65 years and above, particularly retirees are also receiving free medical treatment in our hospitals. He needs to take you to one of the hospitals, the place is almost bursting with a lot of crowd. So it is an interesting thing that the healthcare delivery system has also been improved. Of course that came with an enhanced package for medical doctors and medical personnel and I also make sure that every single doctor employed by Akwa Ibom State government has a brand new car because I also needed to encourage them so that they will not abandon patients under the guise of lack of transportation. So we have done quite a lot in the last five years and I think the results are very clear.
In terms of infrastructure we have had to even look at the aesthetics of the State. If you are coming in from Ikot Ekpene and you are entering the State the first thing you see is a prison, built in the 18th century or whatever and that prison was a terrible thing. It gave a bad psychological feeling to my children and to a lot of children in the State that you grow up as an adult and you end up in prison so I had to relocate the prison so we built a major prison which Nigerians regard as the first reformation centre and then relocated the prison. I am hoping that the premises the prison was we are creating a park there now and we are hoping to have a small two star or three star hotel which will be privately run and I think that will be much more acceptable for a centralised location of that nature. So we have to a large extent done a lot in the infrastructure.
In housing we finished about 31 security estates. We built estates for all Local government helmsmen so that you can have head of Council in one location, head of personnel treasurer, Secretary to the Council, Divisional Police Officer, the SSS, the NDLEA, everybody living in one location so this question of someone winning election as Chairman of Council and living in the State capital will not be there. We wanted a place people could run to when there is problem in any LGA so we finished 31 number estates and soon some of them will be inagurated. Infact the one in Uyo we had to use as temporary site for the motherless children, for the orphans and all that and then of course we are also intervening in housing. At the moment we are building three major estates, one of them is about 500 housing units along Ibiwak. We are attempting to produce 10,000 units of houses across the State so that as the population is increasing we also begin to cater for the needs of the people so that we don’t end up with too much of high rent in the State.
The underground drainage system is a significant one...
Amazing isn’t it? That is not the only one. The second one is almost ready for commissioning. The second underground drainage system is ready for inaguration. The one along Abak-Ikot Ekpene road. There is a third one going on because the state is like a flat land, flood use to be one of the greatest problems in the State for instance Itam junction there, if they will show you the picture for over 29 years nobody could pass through to Calabar.
Infact the State had to find a diversion through a place we call Uyo village road just to have a diversion from the flood plane that characterised Itam junction for over 20 years. So we came there, we intervened, dualised that road, produced a flyover over the place and then did the underground drainage system. Two seconds after the rain, you don’t see any single drop of water under the ground; it is an amazing thing and then it stopped also the idea of paying compensation for excavation and all that so you don’t need to bring down any building. It is the first pipe jacking drainage system in Africa and so we are building the third one right now; we have just completed the second pipe jacking drainage system so I think we can pride ourselves as that State that did the first pipe jacking drainage system, the second and we are on a third one, please if you have time take time and go and see how the construction is done.
The pipes are so big you can stand inside and you still have a lot of space for a second person. Have you not seen them at the discharge points? Even the President stood there and there was still a lot of space. The pipes are so big you can drive a car through. If you come there during rainfall and you hear the volume of water when it is coming from one mile, two miles away, the velocity is such that it can turn a turbine to produce electricity. If you hear it coming, it is an amazing construction.
I opened the fingers of the roads because I am expecting expanding traffic; you will be wondering why we are doing what we are doing, let me tell you why. The reason is simple. I met a pedestrian state where people pass through to Calabar or Port Harcourt and I wanted to build a destination for Nigerians and that is what I am doing now. I am hoping that by 2015 I would have succeeded in building a destination where Nigerians can come for leisure; come and relax here instead of going to Dubai, that is what I am building here, that is the reason infrastructure you see here, you will not see it in other States. The signages on the road would not be the same in other places and then you move around and in some places you see water fall and you stand and the waterfall will be changing colour.
Some have up to eight different colours from green to that and then you will be wondering where you are. I have a young man who came the other day he stood on top of the flyover and was shouting can somebody tell me, am I in New York or in my State and I said someone should go and let him know that somebody built New York; that place used to be called York, when the person finished the building they changed it to New York. The same thing with Orleans, when they finished they called it New Orleans. It is same with everywhere they call new so when I finish they will call here new Uyo.
Do you sometimes regret that there are things you might not be able to accomplish before you leave office either for want of time or for want of resources?
More for want of available resources than for want of time. Eight years is enough time for me to actualise my dream but I didn’t have the resources to start everything at the same time. For instance, I am dualising from here to Abak; I would have liked to dualise from Abak all the way down to join the East-West Road. I would want to dualise from here to Umuahia in order to open up that flank for commercial activities and for the people to link.
I have written to the President to give me approval, I will want to dualise from Uyo here all the way to Aba in Abia State, a totally dualised thoroughfare; I would like a state without a single pot hole on the road and of course I believe I still have time, I will finish a brand new international hospital, I am on the fifth floor now and I am also building the second five star hotel, I’m on the 14th floor. It is going to be run by the Hilton group. The intention here is to put these infrastructure in place so that people can come here for holidays so that during holidays with your family you can say let us not go to London, let us go to new Uyo. I wanted to build a small resort for Nigerians and that was what I set out to do
If you notice you can also drive around for two hours, up to 50 kilometers without seeing a pothole. It is intentional; I don’t like pot holes so when I came I declared war on pot holes. I started a programme called operation zero pothole. That was in 2007 and six months after I was able to pursue potholes from the road. Pursuing potholes on the road is not something that will cost you N1 billion, it is not even up to N500 million. It is just the ability to ensure that when you see pothole you can nip it in the bud before it gets into a gully. That is the type of thing. What moved me is that I used to ask questions and say what do our leaders see when they go outside Nigeria?
The reason why Africa is called the dark continent is because the per centage of electricity in Africa is about 19, infact about five per cent; even the national average in Nigeria is about 19 per cent. Here we bought transformers every quarter and we were able to raise electricity coverage from 39 per cent that I met on ground to 85 per cent and we are still counting. By 2015 we would have attained full coverage of all villages.
We have about 2 700 villages, when I came only 1062 were connected to the national grid but today we have connected over 2000 so what we have left is less than 280 villages to finish. I feel very strongly that by 2015 latest we would have been through with electricity and connected every village to the national grid. If you are able to have light by that time, my next governor would be able to put street lights in all the Local governments so that even though you look at Africa from space, you will see a small place with a flicker of light and that would be Uyo and Akwa Ibom.
Is there a commensurate attempt to empower the people to the extent that the leisure spots will make meanings to them beyond the aesthetic value?
But you know that these things are in stages. First of all when I came and I met no infrastructure, I didn’t see road so I could not even travel to my village. We had battery industry that collapsed because even when they produced the battery there was no road to evacuate it. It was built by Dr Clement Isong so eventually the place was abandoned. If you are talking about empowerment there is no how you give out a job to a construction company and they will not employ people to work. So thousands of people are also getting jobs on account of the jobs we are giving out.
And I also mentioned a deliberate policy of government to give out small small jobs and farm them out in N5, N10, N20 million to people under what we call Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating jobs and these ones are in billion by the end of the day when you calculate. They are the ones handling directly, the building of the classroom blocks across the State; infact they are even the 2000 units of housing we just finished roofing now they were all handled by Akwa Ibom people; so we made sure that it was done through direct labour. We got the approval of the State House of Assembly and the Executive Council to make sure that those things went directly in order to empower our people.
I also mentioned integrated farming where we are giving out money, N500,000 each to our people to create small farm holdings and even this year alone we gave out about N2 billion to women for them to buy seedlings for them to improve the quality of their farm products. When we banned okada here, we didn’t just ban okada and said go home, we collected the okada and gave each of them N50,000 in addition to other opportunities for them to go into other businesses, so my administration is people oriented; it is people focused administration. If Akwa Ibom people were not being carried along in the administration, there is no way you will have N2500 visitors a day at the cinema place. As I speak to you if you go there on some weekends you will not have a place to sit down.
We monitor the impact of government policy and I can also tell you that we have reduced maternal mortality very seriously to an insignificant level. When you look at that and know that a lot of our women are no longer dying during pregnancy and child birth, that is when you will know that government policy on free medical treatment is working. Education is empowerment, even the welfare programme, free medical services for the children and not only that, what of the idea that you are not paying school fees any longer, wont the parents put that money in leisure? They will, so clearly speaking during our campaigns the opposition said we were building all these things without empowering them but they mean sharing money.
You need to have the infrastructure first. The infrastructure creates empowerment, without infrastructure there will be no investment and with investment comes empowerment and with infrastructure comes industrialisation; with industry comes empowerment but if you don’t even have the infrastructure, houses are not there, building infrastructure is not there, airport to access the State is not there, so how can you even imagine that empowerment will come? You continue to be a pedestrian State and really people will just pass through to go to Calabar or Port Harcourt.
We are also building the maintenance overhaul and repair facility at the airport and by the way it is the only one in the whole of West Africa. It will carry at least six 737 planes simultaneously or two 747 air planes, air tight fully air-conditioned at a point in time in terms of repairs. It will be the first repairs and overhaul hangar and I do hope and pray that it will become a national hangar because it will help a lot to stem the tide of air accidents in this country so that people would not have to fly their planes six, seven hours to go for minor checks and all that, they can do it here in Uyo.
What of the human capacity development to drive and sustain your plans?
It goes hand in hand; that is why even in terms of education we are sending a lot of children outside the country to do their masters degrees in various fields. In ICT we have over 200 children outside. Then in the aviation industry we have children who are learning every aspect of avionics maintenance their various airports across the world. We are preparing them so that in the future we can now have a reservoir of manpower for whoever is going to be an MR operator.
It goes hand in hand and I also look at it and say well with the influx of students into secondary schools because of the free education policy then we are going to have problems with admissions because we have only one federal university here so I had to open the State university at Ikot Akpadem, we are now on the second year, I started it in 2010 so we are now admitting students for the second year. So the human capacity development is the same thing.
I want a situation that if my people cannot get a job tomorrow because of quota system let them get it because of their skill; so I will like to have a crop of skilled manpower that can also come in to augment when the need arises you know how to assist the country.
It would appear that governors particularly in the south clamour for fiscal federalism and state police as if it is a guaranty for good governance. What is your take on that?
Well, from the point of view of experience, having been the governor in the last five years I support the idea of state police. We have seen now that when you leave office you could be called upon to account for your deeds. Nigeria has proven that; former governors have been invited by the EFCC, ICPC and all that to come and account for their deeds, so when you are in office and you think you have immunity and you don’t exercise your authority with caution, then when you leave office you could be called upon to account for your deeds.
The international community has also proven that even former presidents could be called upon to account for their deeds and that is why a lot of people have been charged from Charles Taylor to all sorts of people. Some of them have been arraigned for crimes against humanity, so the fear we have that somebody could use it as a weapon of repression should no longer be there. We should be realistic with policing. It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to have a centralised policing system. Nigeria with the population of over 160 million cannot afford to have centralised policing. How many millions of policemen can you create?
Sometimes when you post a policeman to locations he doesn’t know the language, he doesn’t know the culture, he cannot even pronounce the names of the streets; how do you expect that person to be able to police that community well? There is need for us to have another tier, even if you are to call it a local intelligence militia, but controlled by the state because every community knows the bad eggs among them. The police is overwhelmed right now because of the fact that they don’t have the number, they don’t have the weaponry, the equipment to be able to contain crime the way crime ought to be contained. We should not be afraid of trying something different.
If for 50 years we have done something in one direction and it doesn’t seem to be working them we shouldn’t be afraid taking the other step. The next step is that we must have municipal policing or what you may call state police. We must have it. We may consider the idea of a regulatory body that will regulate state police so that there is a body that monitors the activities of state policing
Again, the Constitution makes the Governor the Chief Security Officer of the state; unfortunately he is like a general without troops because he doesn’t control any arm of security in the state. He doesn’t control the SSS, he doesn’t control the police, so he neither rewards nor punish. He cannot promote, he cannot demote. He can direct, they may obey and they may not obey. Where does their loyalty lie? With the President and the Inspector General of Police that sent them. So what happens to the governor?
At the State level the governors are doing almost everything for the security services in their states. Go round and ask any Commissioner of Police when was the last time they received up to 20 vehicles from the centre in the last 20 years. The last set of vehicles I bought here for the police was 150 and then I also bought about 180 or thereabout for the Joint Task Force. How will the police perform their role when they cannot even move around? You go to any police station and they tell you there is no vehicle for patrol. So I think we are paying lip service to the issue of security here unless we address the issue of state policing seriously.
What about the push by governors in the south for fiscal federalism?
No it is not the governors from Southern Nigeria only; it is the way the Nigerian federation is structured. The Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria talks about federalism, then we should obey the constitution. Federation means that you must also have fiscal federalism. There is nothing like federalism minus fiscal federalism unless you want to change Nigeria into a unitary government. What we are practising is not a federation but we call it Federal Republic of Nigeria, so it is not that anybody is clamouring, we are only saying let us do the right thing.
Why then do you think the issue of state police is polarising the governors along regional lines?
What we are saying is that if we have done the same thing for 50 years and it has not worked, don’t you think it is time to make a paradigm shift? All I am asking is talking about the transformation. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has already announced to Nigerians that he stands for transformation so if we have to transform Nigeria it means we have to bring security to Nigerians.
Are we going to continue with the same thing that we have done in the last 50 years that has not worked for us? I don’t think it is a question of the northern governors or southern governors; I think we are talking about Nigeria. Anybody that loves this country and wants this country to blossom and continue as one entity with very minimal crime where visitors can come in and feel at home must know that there is need for us to secure this country. I don’t know about northern and southern governors, all I know is that every Nigerian should be concerned about the security of the country and the challenges of today dictates that we must make a paradigm shift.
With benefit of hindsight, do you think that the dispute with Cross River State concerning the oil wells could have been resolved in a manner that would have produced less rancour?
I am not aware of any dispute with Cross River State. The dispute with Cross River State is contrived. The people of Akwa Ibom and the people of Cross River are peace loving people and they see themselves as brothers and sisters. Akwa Ibom has never gone to court against Cross River State. The problem I see is leadership and leadership can produce brotherliness, leadership can also
produce hatred. Leadership can also encourage friendship, leadership can also encourage rancour. That is the only thing I see there. For me there is no dispute, if you are talking about the 76 oil wells I will give you information that you can go an verify: with or without Bakassi, the 76 oil wells will never and could never have belonged to Cross River State.
You see, the 76 oil wells were given to Cross River State by President Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2005 and when the 76 oil wells were given, there was a condition. The condition was that Nigeria was negotiating to keep Western Bakassi as part of Nigeria and that this will give Cross River State a leeway to the sea. In other words, they can access the sea through Western Bakassi. The oil wells are on Nigerian maritime territory. The oil wells had always been accessed through Akwa Ibom, Mbo Local Government Area, through Oron anywhere on the sea because we have maritime boundary. We have a littoral status, but Cross River State could only access the open sea through Western Bakassi or through Akwa Ibom.
So the then President said the boundary of the two states was being delineated and the government of Akwa Ibom then did not see anything wrong with it because Cross River is our sister state. But that condition was lost in 2008 when Cameroun refused to allow us to keep Western Bakassi so whatever agreement reached between the federal government, Cross River State and Akwa Ibom was frustrated by the mere fact that Western Bakassi went to Cameroun.
I advised the government of Cross River State even though the oil wells belonged to Akwa Ibom State there was no point going to court; that we should negotiate: how much you could have made on the oil wells, the pecuniary interest on those oil wells and then my House of Assembly approving it and after consultations with stakeholders in Akwa Ibom you continue to have the money.
But I was ignored and then Cross River State went to court. What you are talking about now that looks like a dispute, when the judgment was about to be delivered, Cross River State suddenly declared a dispute with Supreme Court, not with Akwa Ibom; that Supreme Court should not give the judgment in a case they took to the Supreme Court and in the attempt to stop the judgement they went as far as raising the issue even on the floor of the National Assembly. Would you say they had a dispute with Akwa Ibom? No.
So when the judgment was given, because we didn’t have problem with Cross River State, I issued a statement that we are still ready to negotiate with them and still assist them with financials monthly for development of Cross River State. Forty per cent of those in Calabar in my belief are from my state and it is my belief that it is in my interest for Cross River to do well. Don’t forget that this same judgment was already given in 2005. It was Cross River State that also went to court in 2005 and the decision was the same. In 2012, the decision is still the same so how can you say there was a dispute between Cross River and Akwa Ibom? There is no dispute. I am not blaming the leadership of Cross River State for going to court; even if they go to court a third time it would still be the same thing. It has nothing to do with Akwa Ibom.
Was there a gentleman’s understanding between Cross River and Akwa Ibom that would have culminated in an agreement but which, shortly before its signing at the presidency, you changed your mind?
No. I have always offered an olive branch to Cross River State that we should sit down and discuss. The Governor of Cross River State has never accepted. He has never sat down with me, he has never said let us sit down to talk. But I put mine in writing. I communicated my offer in writing that we should sit down and discuss the issue even when he was still in court. When I heard that Cross River State has filed a case in court, I wrote to the President of Nigeria and said there was no point going to court that the two states are too close and that going to court may cause unnecessary rancour and misunderstanding. That we should instead discuss and get our Houses of Assembly involved so that we can resolve as brothers and sisters. They never took that offer instead they continued to pursue the matter in court. So that was what I said there was never a dispute between us and Cross Rover State.
Do you see the revival of the call for the abrogation of the onshore-offshore dichotomy law as a challenge to expand your revenue base?
Onshore-Offshore dichotomy was a buried issue so I see it for what it is and I thank Nigerians for recognising the injustice of over 50 years, debating it exhaustively, coming to a compromise and burying it as far back as 2004 November. I want us to please allow it to be buried. With regard to creating an alternative economy, it is not me; it is Nigeria. We have only one economy, the Nigerian economy. Every leader in Nigeria must be challenged. Every oil producing country today must recognise the fact that dependence on oil is very temporary because one day, you may end up having oil but you won’t have the market to sell the oil with the emerging technologies. So every leader must think of alternative sources of revenue. I believe that the first thing I need to do as I cannot do everything is to put the necessary infrastructure in place for industries to thrive; I should put the enabling infrastructure in place for my people to emerge victorious in agricultural sector, I have only two and half years left, I may not be able to do everything, that is the truth and that is why I thank Mr, President for seeing the need for us to join hands to build a deep sea port in Ibaka because it will serve very well for the Gulf of Guinea not just for search and rescue, but it will provide a major hub and could complement the effort of the port in Lagos.
Nigeria is not a very attractive destination. If you go to Lagos Port you will see over 130 ships waiting to berth. So we can on this flank here have an alternative shipping route will enable us to become an attractive destination for shippers across the globe.
Although it did not quite diminish your popularity, you were a beneficiary of the sentiment that power should move to other zones in the state in 2007; do you still believe in the principles of rotation or you feel there should be a level playing field for all candidates in 2015?
I think we should have a bit of guided democracy because of the need for equity. The way I look at it for instance is that my Senatorial district through me now has had power for eight years. I don’t see anybody from my district coming out again to replace me as governor of the state; it would not be right. What we did in 2007 was that the party had clearly opened the governorship up to two Senatorial districts and said the Senatorial district the governor came from for eight years was excluded. So I think that we should adopt that same policy, that was why I said there was a bit of guided democracy where we can say okay the Senatorial district the governor comes from should be excluded, the other Senatorial districts can go ahead and vie for the governorship. Again, it is not going to be a one man decision, it is going to be a collective decision. I think there will be a lot of discussions and horse trading among the stakeholders and eventually the will of God will be done.
Is the BRACED Commission achieving its developmental aims?
No. I think we are still grappling with the structure of the BRACED Commission and when we get the structure right, we will achieve our aim but the concept is a beautiful one because right now if you run the BRACED Commission like the United Nations then you should expect a lot of contributions from member nations but I don’t want us to make the same mistake that we made in NDDC where they wanted to do everything including the training and retraining of teachers and in the end they have no single success.
What would your political life be like after government house in 2015?
Initially, I said I was going to retire from politics and thousands of people attacked me on the internet. Nigerians were so angry, so I don’t know yet. I think what my people are clamouring for now is that I should not retire, I should try and get to the Senate as a major stake holder in the Senate and put my experience to use on the national sphere. I may have to agree and contest for the Senate because of popular demand, but you see, if you ask me what I like, I will really like to retire. I would like to retire but I can see popular opinion forcing me to the Senate.
Source: This Day, 3rd September 2012.
Akwa Ibom State Politics: Umana Okon Umana versus Bassey Albert Akpan
Written by Thompson Essien
5th September 2012
Akwa Ibom State Politics: Umana Okon Umana versus Bassey Albert Akpan
Umana Okon Umana is the Secretary to the Government of Akpabio, while Bassey Albert Akpan is the Commissioner for Finance. In public, these two powerful men of Akpabio may appear as if they are cordial towards one another, the every-day reality is that they are not in good terms.
While Umana Okon Umana's ambition to succeed Akpabio is not a secret, many in Akwa Ibom State may not know that Bassey Albert Akpan is discretely and secretly campaigning to also succeed Akpabio. In order to impress Akpabio for support, both men are indulging in a serious campaign of back-biting, back-stabbing, and, according to reliable sources, the situation is so bad that both men are seriously posing threats to each other.
Credible sources have confirmed that a few days ago, the tension between Bassey Albert Akpan and Umana Okon Umana almost resulted in a fist-fight. Trouble began when Bassey Albert made a recommendation to Akpabio that Obong Victor Attah should be paid his entitlement as a former governor of the state; he has not been paid since he left the office for Akpabio. But Umana Okon Umana objected and vehemently opposed to the recommendations of Bassey Akpan; probably to impress Akpabio on how much he hates Obong Attah---a fellow Ibibio man.
Sources say in a note sent to Akpabio by Umana in support of his reasoning for opposing the payment of entitlement to Obong Attah, Umana also recommended that Bassey Akpan should be asked to tender his resignation. Bassey Akpan was infuriated and decided to confront Umana
in person. Those close to the situation have confirmed that if the aides on both sides were not present at the time Bassey went to confront Umana, it is very likely that a fist-fight might have ensued, which could have resulted in any one of them loosing his life.
Sources say in I dare-you-to-get-rid-of-me attitude, Bassey Albert Akpan wrote his resignation letter and forwarded it to Akpabio, who has since moved his State Capital from Uyo to Abuja.
When the news of the resignation reached Akpabio, before he even had the chance to receive the letter of resignation from Bassey Albert, sources say Akpabio contacted some trusted members of his inner cabinet to discuss the matter. He was advised to reject the resignation letter outright.
One of the sources, who is very close to Akpabio said; "Akpabio may be an evil man but the man is not stupid. He knows that he would be constructing his own coffin if Bassey Albert Akpan resigns from his administration. Other than Umana Okon Umana, only Bassey Albert Akpan knows every kobo of the people's money that Akpabio has stolen, how he steals the money, and where he hides the money. Now, tell me how any man would be stupid enough to mess with another man who knows so much about his illegal activities? I don't know why Umana Okon Umana wants to mess with Bassey Albert Akpan when he knows that he (Bassey) has all the information enough to implicate him and seal his anus with wax."
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
Akpabio seeks specialist hospitals to reduce overseas medical treatment
GOVERNOR Godswill Akpabio has called on governments at various levels in the country to build first-class specialist hospitals in the country to reduce foreign trips by Nigerians for medical treatment.
Akpabio, who made the call on Sunday during a thanksgiving service for the Prelate Emeritus of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang, who returned from overseas’ medical treatment, said well-equipped hospitals and proper remuneration of medical personnel would reduce foreign trips.
The governor said at Immanuel Methodist Cathedral Church, Itiam Etoi, Uyo: “If we have first-class specialist hospitals in the country, we don’t need to travel overseas for treatment. I think we have qualified medical doctors within and outside the country. So, if we have these first-class hospitals, we are sure to have first-class doctors.
‘’In Akwa Ibom, we have gone further in the medical sector by building a first-class hospital, which is in progress that will take care of treatment of illnesses. Akwa Ibom would not only be a leisure centre but also a medical tourism for medical services. We need more specialist hospitals in this country in order to prolong lives - that is our duty as a government,’’ he remarked.
Akpabio stressed the need for the private sector to collaborate with government in providing efficient medical services to the people to reduce huge overseas’ medical expenses incurred by Nigerians.
He identified greed, vicissitudes of life, impatience and ungodliness as factors contributing to short lifespan among the people, asking them to shun kidnapping, fraud and robbery, among others in a bid to live long. He congratulated Mbang on surviving the ill-health.
Mbang explained that the thanksgiving service was organised to thank God for his successful medical treatment overseas, saying he was happy to be alive to mark his 76 years birthday.
He hinted that it was a Nigerian medical doctor, one of the best hands in Europe who treated him and called on governments in the country to create the right environment to enable these professionals to return home to serve their fatherland.
The Prelate Emeritus thanked God for sparing his life and for using some people including Akpabio to sponsor his overseas medical treatment, using the forum to commend Akpabio’s administration for the infrastructural strides in the state.
The Prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Ola Makinde, who was represented by the Conference Secretary, Bishop Chibuzor Opoko, said the church was happy to identify with the celebrant because he led the church well during difficult times by bringing about unity among the members.
Source: The Guardian, 28th August 2012.
RE: 76 OIL WELLS – ON THE CROSS RIVER STATE RESPONSE
On Saturday, 21st July 2012, the Akwa Ibom State Government was constrained to measurably react to the well-orchestrated media campaigns of the leadership of Cross River State, which started about the first week of July 2012, culminating in the State broadcast of
10th July 2012. The said broadcast confirmed the information we had had that all the public and parliamentary posturing in the weeks immediately preceding the Supreme Court decision of 10th July 2012 on the 76 oil wells in both Cross River State and Abuja were indeed acts of the very tip of the political leadership of Cross River State. It therefore became expedient for us to respond then, and we satisfactorily did.
But in reaction to our response, the Cross River State Government, in a statement credited to my very learned and noble brother, the Attorney-General of Cross River State and reported in the Saturday Sun of August 4, 2012, elected to serve the very discerning public with what can regrettably be described as a salad of lies and discourtesy.In line with our intention not to banter words or exchange diatribes with Cross River State Government on the pages of newspapers, we resolved not to dignify the impudence of Cross River State leadership with a reply, convinced that our well-stated position was better left in the court of public opinion. However, we find it difficult to ignore the persistent sponsored jaundiced media commentaries and delusive reports credited to the leadership of Cross River State, all in a desperate bid to keep the victim mentality alive. Receiving the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties and Agreements in Calabar on Thursday, 9th August 2012, that leadership continued to indulge in derogation of the decision of the Supreme Court of 10th July 2012 dismissing the case of Cross River State as “punitive” of that State, to favour Akwa Ibom State. We consider it inappropriate to be silent over such continued display of official buffoonery on an issue as serious as denigration of public institutions and officers in the media.
History bears testimony to the fact that idealess political leaders routinely lie to their people to cajole them into supporting a war they otherwise would refuse. It is not strange, therefore, for such a Government to lie to its people to generate or sustain a controversy.
So are we not surprised that the reaction of the Cross River State Government to our response to their orchestrated acrimony over the Supreme Court judgment of 10th July 2012 over her claim to 76 oil wells against Akwa Ibom State Government has been premised on and sustained by deliberate and despicably unethical falsehood. For example, the wantonness and criminal libel in the allegation that “While this case was pending in court, especially during the period in which judgment was reserved, Akwa Ibom State government organized a football tournament in honour of Justice Dahiru Musdapher, then Chief Justice of Nigeria and presiding judge over the case. Interesting to note that the tournament ended four days after the judgment and the CJN in his address delivered at the colourful ceremony in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, was full of praises for Governor Akpabio”
only attests to this Napoleonic principle of lies-for-support. The simple truth is that between the 3rd – 13th July 2012 the 19th and 2012 edition of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Sports Competition organized by the National Sports Association For Judiciary was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State with the Akwa Ibom State Judiciary as the host.
Lagos State Judiciary first hosted this competition in 1995. It is a national Judiciary event, had nothing to do with the Akwa Ibom State Government and, from enquiries made since this falsehood was propagated, the last Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Dahiru
Musdapher, GCON, was not in Akwa Ibom State before, during or after the event. Of course, there is no way the Chief Justice of Nigeria would have visited Akwa Ibom State without the knowledge of the State Government. The Cross River State Government cannot feign ignorance of this annual sporting event of all the courts and other affiliated judicial bodies throughout the Federation, the 2011 edition of which was held in Benue State. Such public display of crass ignorance by Cross River State over easily verifiable information on a national event in a related profession is symptomatic of its dysfunctional leadership; and the non-utilisation of the official information verification tools at its disposal is personification of the administrative hibernation.
TANTRUM THROWING AND SPONTANEITY OF PUBLIC REACTION OVER UNDELIVERED JUDGMENT
It is reasoned by the Cross River State Government that, having lost in its litigious ego trip, it should rather be throwing “tantrums”, and not the Akwa Ibom State Government which, “discomforted by the shame of the court verdict”, has been “buying up space in the media to campaign for public sympathy” arising from the “spontaneous public condemnation of the verdict”! By this claim of spontaneity, Cross River State Government unwittingly admits that it had prior knowledge of the verdict of the Supreme Court before its delivery on 10th July 2012. It is on record that the “spontaneous public condemnation of the verdict” started since the first week of July 2012, almost two weeks to the judgment date of 10th July 2012, with widely reported demonstrations in both Cross River State and Abuja. These organized
pre-judgment demonstrations – public condemnation of the verdict that was yet to be delivered – anchored in two different motions at the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court on 5th July 2012, both seeking the arrest of the same verdict to be delivered on the 10th of July 2012, claimed to have been a subject of spontaneous public condemnation. How did they come to know they had lost the case with its judgment yet undelivered? Recall that the Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Leo Ogor, had on 5th July 2012 moved a motion that “the maritime delineation drawn up and submitted to the Supreme Court by the National Boundary Commission in the ongoing dispute on 76 oil wells between Cross River State and Akwa Ibom States, if allowed to stand, means that Nigeria would lose vital maritime territory the size of a State to other countries”, moving the House of Representatives to resolve that the judgment be stayed and the two States should seek out-of-court settlement “in the spirit of brotherhood, solidarity and well-being” of both States.
While this spontaneousaction was taking place in the House, Counsel to Cross River State was filing a motion at the Supreme Court seeking to stay the judgment billed for 10th July 2012 for the same reasons as advanced in the House. And those are the same reasons that the demonstrators canvassed in both Cross River State and Abuja. This is the same “maritime territory” that Cross River State now canvasses as transferred or ceded by the Federal Government of Nigeria to Akwa Ibom State.
Tantrums? The pockets of organizeddemonstrations apart, Cross River State had been throwing tantrums – if that word is used here in the sense that is universally known: “sudden fit of childish, uncontrolled bad temper or rage” – since the first week of July 2012 in anticipation of the judgment of 10th July 2012. This climaxed in the State broadcast of 10th July 2012 when the integrity of the Justices of the Supreme Court was directly called into question, and has been repeated in the latest position signed by the learned Hon.
Attorney-General of Cross River State. The use of words like “the commonsensical, logical and legal” thing was not done by the Supreme Court; “miscarriage of justice robbed our State of 76 oil wells”; “could have easily provoked unprecedented violence and reprisals”;
“stolen” oil wells; “”triumph of falsehood”; etc. in the bully pulpit of a State broadcast; or “discomforted by the shame of the court verdict”; “the present political leadership in Akwa Ibom State has no honour”; Akwa Ibom State “has no honour to keep this agreement”; “If
Akpabio was so confident”; “the will to manage unbridled greed”, “provocative gloating over unfair judgment given to Akwa Ibom State”; etc. in the learned Attorney-General of Cross River State’s press statement; or “punitive of Cross River State” as used by that
leadership in welcoming the House of Representatives Committee last week, cannot but be serial fits of infantile mismanaged temper the present Cross River State political leadership typifies.
POLITICS AND HISTORY OF BAKASSI
My learned brother, the Attorney-General of Cross River State, claims in paragraphs 32 and 36 of the State’s response that “What has happened is that the Federal Republic is supervising the liquidation of Cross River State; ceding Bakassi to Cameroon and transferring the maritime territory of Bakassi that remained in Nigeria to Akwa Ibom” and that “The internal waters of Bakassi, Akpabuyo and Calabar South local government areas cannot be ceded to Akwa Ibom State”.
We are no strangers to the politics and sentiments of Bakassi, and would rather let it be! But a Government should be courageous enough to face the stark reality of governance by due process. Twice the Supreme Court at the instance of Cross River State has considered the
effect of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment of 10th October 2002. For emphasis, in SC.124/1999 the Court held, in elementary English, that “ the effect of the judgment of the ICJ dated 10/10/2002 on the land and maritime boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon is that it has wiped off what used to be the estuarine sector of Cross River State as a result of which the State is hemmed in by the new international boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon.” There was no spontaneous public condemnation of the verdict. In the recent verdict of 10th July 2012, the same Court again held as
“After the affected areas were ceded to Cameroon, Cross River State became landlocked with no seaward boundaries. It was deprived the status of a littoral State and eventually Cross River State shares no maritime boundary with Akwa Ibom State or any other Nigerian State”, and there was spontaneous public condemnation of the verdict long before its delivery! However, how could Nigeria, which had lost Bakassi to Cameroon since 2002 retain the “maritime territory of Bakassi” which has now been ceded to Akwa Ibom State in 2012? If there was such a left-over maritime territory of Bakassi or internal waters of Bakassi, as now canvassed by the Cross River State Government, why was it necessary to seek a homeland for the Bakassi Local GovernmentArea in Akpabuyo Local Government Area, instead of re-locating to such fraction between 2002 and 2011? To the uninformed Bakassi Resettlement Merchants, who are sitting on imminent time bomb delayed by unaccountability, deceit and cover-up, they are obviously unaware that the peoples of both Akwa Ibom and Cross River States are inextricably intertwined in the Bakassi history and struggle, especially in the expansive character of Efik Kingdom. It serves the purpose of the Bakassi mercantile lords in Cross River State that the Bakassi rhetoric flows unabated while the displaced Nigerian fishermen in the ceded territory squalor in abject poverty. The present political leadership of Cross River State may know that when General Sanni Abacha decided, against all logic and colonial records, to “cede” Bakassi Peninsula to Cross River State, we acceded because we found no difference between the two sister States. Before the Supreme Court judgment of 10th July 2012, the lame argument of the Cross River State Government recruits was that a dismissal of her case against Akwa Ibom State would amount to Nigeria “losing her maritime territory the size of a State” to the neighbouring countries. Now it has changed to the ceding of either the maritime estuary of Bakassi or the
internal waters of Bakassi, Akpabuyo and Calabar South Local Government Areas to Akwa Ibom State!
In any case, it is now a stale legal argument to content that attribution of the 76 offshore oil wells to the littoral State of Akwa Ibom amounts to the cession of any part of Nigeria to Akwa Ibom State. The Supreme Court had since December 2005 held, in validating the
Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004 in Suit No. SC.144/2004: Attorney-General of Adamawa State and others v Attorney-General of the Federation that the seaward boundary of the littoral States is only notional, being deemed
to be the 200 metre water depth isobaths contiguous to the littoral State, for the purpose of computing the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from that State for payment of derivation revenue.
It is amusing to think that the Akwa Ibom State Government’s response to a paid advertisement of an intemperate State broadcast by the leadership of Cross River State, indicting both the Supreme Court and the Akwa Ibom State Government of miscarriage of justice and conniving to steal the purported oil revenues of Cross River State, amounted to
our being “troubled by an unjust judgment” in our favour and therefore “buying up space in the media to campaign for public sympathy and in vain attempt to divert the spontaneous public condemnation of the verdict”.
How stuporous such leadership must be! Apart from rising in defence of self, we were duty-bound to make the point that it is essential to the stability of democracy, which is a significant component of the rule of law, that our courts, and more particularly the Supreme Court, be not drawn into political criticism over its decisions. Such political disputations, particularly from lawyers who should know better, are disrespectful to the Courts, insensitive to the doctrine of judicial independence and diminishing of the status of those Courts. The ultimate would be catastrophic. In this scenario, every Attorney-General has a clear duty as Chief Law Officer, to defend the institution of the Judiciary.
NEWLY DISCOVERED OIL WELLS FOR AKWA IBOM
The Cross River State Government claims that 300 additional oil wells that “have been in existence and production but only recently moved within 200 metre isobaths of Akwa Ibom State!” to raise the total oil wells attributed to Akwa Ibom State to 1500. It therefore called for the “federating units to take an interest and order a technical audit of the location of oil wells in the territorial sea.” The allegation and call are both comical and astonishing, and a sad commentary on the present drowsy political leadership of Cross River State that is urged
to “shine its eyes”! Apart from the fact that Akwa Ibom State Government (which does its best to work because the headship is conscious, diligent and informed) extensively collaborates with the security agencies and host communities to provide the oil companies operating in the State a safe environment for increased production and new investments, the leadership of the Cross River State Government should wake up to the advantages inherent in the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Act 2007. Again,
Cross River State Government has conveniently chosen to forget that its dispute under reference started with 75 oil wells before all parties discovered that one more oil field had consistently been kept away in the global nature of oil politics sought to be sanitised by
the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and was subsequently added, raising the number of oil wells in contention to 76. Does it mean that Cross River State suddenly conjured up the additional oil well to sustain greed?
AKWA IBOM STATE AS A BENEFICIARY OF A POLITICAL SOLUTION
Akwa Ibom State is sufficiently honest enough to honour sincere political arrangements aimed at addressing any controversy. But political solutions that are founded on illegality or deceit cannot be enduring. In particular, a political solution foisted on parties with executive arbitrariness is a quicksand. In any event, with the promulgation of the Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004, this covered the field of attribution of oil wells between the littoral States, and it becomes academic to postulate on political solutions as its origin. It remains the governing law on the subject.
The logic in the Cross River State’s call for a coalition of federating units on the “implementation” of the 2004 Act is best appreciated from the prism of an agonising unsuccessful litigant and will be met at its own time. However, it is instructive to counsel the
Cross River State Government that earlier attempts by those it is currently lobbying to challenge the legal entitlements of the littoral States to derivation revenue on the basis of the Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004 in Attorney-General of Adamawa State and others v Attorney-General of the Federation had failed in 2005; and the current campaign the Cross River State leadership is championing has a precedent to learn from, if it elects to be studious for once.
For now, the Cross River State Government should note that Nigeria is an oil-based mono-cultural economy with over 60% of her oil wells located off-shore, and the canvassed re-introduction of the offshore/onshore oil dichotomy would not have singular effect on Akwa
Ibom State, granted the achievement of such declaration of hostility on the littoral States by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In any event, we insist on being put on record that no political solution can be achieved on the rascally demeanour of the current political leadership of Cross River State, or the quantum of unhelpful personal insults on the person of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Furthermore, the political leadership of Cross River State should come to early terms with the reality that its daily sponsored media puffery by paper lawyers with pseudonymous names advocating for political solution would not suffice. It is our very sincere hope that the
political leadership of Cross River State would make this matter far easier to resolve than it is posturing, as there is no sacrifice we cannot make for our kith and kin, the otherwise very good people of Cross River State.
THE DEBT OF N18.5M
The denial of indebtedness of N18.5m from the derivation funds of Akwa Ibom State for payment to Cross River State by the Hon. Attorney-General of Cross River State is not unexpected, and Akwa Ibom State had been prepared for it. So far, from records available to Akwa Ibom State, as the Chief Law Officer of State, I affirm that the purported payments to Cross River State for ecological excuses were directly deducted from the derivation funds accruable to Akwa Ibom State. I challenge my very distinguished brother, the learned
Attorney-General of Cross River State to publicly display any proof to the contrary, including the prior Presidential approval for such monthly ecological payments from ecological fund to ONLY Cross River State instead of from derivation fund and deducted at the Federation
Allocation Account Committee. The leadership of Cross River State, as a preacher of “honesty”, should truthfully admit this self-evident fact. The illiteracy of the leadership of Cross River State on matters of revenue allocation is further exhibited by its claim that
“Akwa Ibom State was the beneficiary of the same environmental degradation revenues when it was no longer considered an oil producing State after the Supreme Court decision of 2002 . . . During this period, Akwa Ibom State received N600 million monthly to cushion the
effect of the Supreme Court decision under the same environmental degradation provision as Cross River State presently receives.”
This is not a self-induced fallacy but downright executive deceit. It should be noted that the 2002 Supreme Court decision held as follows:
“. . . the 6th Defendant, like all other littoral defendants, is not entitled, under the proviso to section 162(2) of the Constitution that provides for the principle of derivation, to a share in the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from the natural resources derivable from the Continental Shelf of Nigeria.”
This decision brought to bear the bill for enactment of the Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004. While the bill was awaiting passage at the National Assembly, the Federal Government extended credit facilities to all the littoral
States, including Akwa Ibom State, the 6th Defendant in the case and referred to above. Akwa Ibom State received a monthly payment of N600m by this interim arrangement. Upon the coming into effect of the Allocation of Revenue (Abolition of Dichotomy in the Principle of Derivation) Act 2004, all such advances made to the States by the Federal Government, including Akwa Ibom State, were deducted from their revenue allocations. It was neither perpetual nor environmental payment.
As a people and Government, we re-affirm our cherished and abiding relationship with the good people of Cross River State. So long as the Cross River State Government continues, with belligerence, to falsely claim a legal right it does not and is adjudged not to possess by a competent court of law, so long will it take Akwa Ibom State to defend itself. Even separated conjoined twins have protectable distinct legal rights. We call on the brothers and sisters from or residing in these two States to continue in their legitimate businesses and have faith in our capacity to surpass the moment.
Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim
Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice
Akwa Ibom State.
The Arrest of Ekerete Ekpenyong as reported by Global Concord
By Thompson Essien
Forwarded here is the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong, the Chairman of Uyo Local Government, was arrested by the United States Homeland Security, as reported by the Global Concord newspaper, which is based in Uyo. It is important to mention that this is the first time I haveseen this article, which I received this morning from the editors of the paper, upon my request for a copy. When I wrote my own version of the story last week, I had no idea of
how much money was involved, until now. Now, we all have a better understanding why Godswill Akpabio had to leave the United States in a hurry, when he knew the agency was investigating the source and the intention of why such a huge amount of money was brought into the United States.
As you read the story, please bear in mind that Akwa Ibom State Government has been mute over the matter. Even Akpabio’s numerous agents and his Special Senior Personal Assistant (Ete Clement Ikpatt) in the United States are not talking in public over the matter. However, if they ever issue any statement, we should expect them to repeat the same old mantra; “we don’t respond to the lies of Thompson Essien.”
For the benefits of those abroad who may not understand the laws of the United States, let me explain here that as far as the amount of money found in the possession of Ekerete Ekpenyong was not declared before he landed in the country, the money has now become the property of American Government---seized! Then sit back and reflect on how much $450,000.00, or N74.2 million, could have done for the people of Akwa Ibom State, especially when one considers that since March or April, salaries have not been paid to
government employees, schools are in dilapidated conditions, hospitals are bare and the walls are crumbling, unemployment is at its highest level since the creation of Akwa Ibom State in 1987, hunger and poverty have become a menace that afflicts the majority, not to mention the high rate of crime and a rise in prostitution among the young. And because there is no money, Uyo, the state capital, as well as other parts of the state, has become stagnant, where nothing moves because there is nothing to stimulate the economy. All these happen in the midst of plenty; Akwa Ibom is the richest of all the 36 states that make up the entity known as Nigeria. In June 2012, it received nearly 23 billion naira in oil allocation from the federal government. As you read this story, please ponder and look beyond the story of how Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested at Houston airport. Enjoy!
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
L .G. Chairman Arrested in US
Akpabio steps in
Security report reaching Mid-Week Global Concord from Houston, Texas, United States of America alleges that the incumbent chairman of Uyo Local Government Area, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong was arrested by Houston security at the airport on arrival with over $450,000 (N74.2 million) on Wednesday the 8th August, 2012. The source disclosed that the council helmsman was arrested by Houston Security Agents during security a check at the Airport when over $450,000 was discovered with him.
The money allegedly discovered in his possession according to our source, was not declared to Customs during filling of Customs papers both in Nigeria and Houston. Mid-Week Global Concord news desk gathered that during interrogation, Hon. Ekerete Ekpenyong told Houston security that the money was a donation from Uyo Local Government Council to Akwa Ibom State Association for 25th anniversary celebration in Orlando Florida of which he was one of the delegates from Akwa Ibom State. Another source who spoke with the paper in confidence said that the chairman was later released on the intervention of the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio pleading that he Ekerete Ekpenyong was a Mayor of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State coming to represent his people at the anniversary. Another source who accompanied them to Florida told this paper that there was no donation from Ekerete Ekpenyong on behalf of Uyo Local Government at the Akwa Ibom State Convention in Florida. “At what point did the FGPC of Uyo Local Government council set and approve over $450,000 to Akwa Ibom State Association anniversaries celebration in Florida”, the source queried. However, there are lamentations across all the Local Government Areas in the State due to massive deductions from the monthly allocations most of which could not be explained which left most Local Governments with practically zero allocation in spite of the jumbo allocation from the Federation account.
This paper learnt that the deduction from Local Government accounts is for the Governor for his private use. We also learnt that most of the Council Chairmen were installed by the governor to loot the Local Government treasuries.
Governor Akpabio, When Will You Call It Quit On This Genocide!
It has never got this dirty that decent person will call it "I quit." Mr. Akpabio you have eaded one of worst government in the history of Nigeria, not just Akwa Ibom State, the blood shed (genocide) is far beyond that of Syria, Irag, Liberia, Iran or Afghanistan, the poverty rate has gone up to all time high even surpass the poverty level in Northern Sudan, but (you) AKS. is receiving millions of dollars every month oil allocation from the Federal Govt.. and you have nothing to show for except the death trap call fly-over and over quoted road construction contract with N2 Billion per Km. Well this is not important as lives that you are wasting.
Dr. Barrister, Obong, Adede, Baba, the Uncommon Transformer, Gov. Godswill Obot Akpabio. Is sending people to their early graves transformation? I am drawing this to your attention, if you were to be a decent man, since you can not or have no damage control tools - the best thing you should do is to resign and call it " I quit ". Listen to me Akpabio, if I call you names such as idiot, it is because of the idiotic way our brothers and sisters are being murdered by your cult gang, as this is unprecedented in the annals of our dear state, Akwa Ibom; and as I am writing this piece, trust me you deserve it. How can you sit-down in that self acclaimed seat of governance, then our Mothers, Fathers, Future Leaders (youth), Our Children even Old Women are killed in a very shameful way and you still close your eyes at night and sleep! Is it true of the legendary story of your tribe not too long ago used to eat Human beings or is it of your cult involvement? I am just getting confused, Sir as to the level of genocide your allow to continue unabated!
Hey! I don't get it. Let me ask you some interesting questions here! Asuming your mom was killed during other Administration what would have been your reaction?.
Listen, what are you doing about this senseless killings in the state or is it none of your business? Mr. Gov. I don't think Eka Efanga (the mother of Barr Efanga) was your political opponent? Why was she killed is what many are curious to know! Is it because you could not get Barr Efanga himself you resorted to killing his mother? Or is it because, according to you: in your own words " smashed and kill any-one that stand on our way to........."
How about Eka Ini Udonwa? What crime did she commit to deserve such brutal and humiliating killing by your PA? Yes, tomorrow you are ready to shed a crocodile tears "if i did it..." you would say.
What about Faith Udoh killed by one of your guard? As you can see I am crying for my people killed by your administration and more that you have promised to kill. Why can't you call it quit on this killings, my brother? You sometime call your self 'Promise Keeper', was this meant to fulfill the ego of exterminating a tribe or just a delight to kill and kill; and just to kill, Mr Godswill Akpabio!
Mr Governor, enough of this killing! It is time you called it " I quite. " Akwa Ibom State does not deserve these senseless killings - Period!!!
Nemesis Or Prayers For Gov Godswill Akpabio Murder Spree.
By Thompson Essien
Why bothers raining prayer on Godswill Akpabio? The man is a walking dead man, any way. The blood of the innocents in the hands of Godswil Apabio are already haunting him. I am talking about the blood of Mamma Udonwa, Mamma Efanga, Chief Paul Inyang, Edidem Robert Obot, Mrs. Ikpe, Barrister Udonwa, and the tears of Comfort Ewang, General Akpan, and the rest whom he killed and kidnapped. This is the reason he cannot sleep at night. It is also the reason why his attending physician, Dr. Essien, is always doping him every night with the hope that the medication would stop Akpabio from having nightmares.
For now, let him prowl and hound as much as he wants. But his days are numbered. Sooner or later, he will come to the realization that no despot has ever been in the same position for ever. If he could read what is going on in the world, he would have heard that Gadafy, Mubarak, and Saddam Husein are no longer in positions in which they used to believe that they would never be removed.
Well, I hear that Akpabio would soon visit England. I recommend to the fool to stop by whatever prison James Igbori is being incarcerated and ask him one or two questions on what it feels like to be in prison.
For now, let him continue to kill and poison people. His latest victim is Chief Paul Ekpo, whom he poisoned because the man had a serious disagreement with him. As I write, Paul Ekpo is in a hospital in an undisclosed location with a perforated kidney. And I bet Akpabio is laughing.
Last weekend he killed Mrs. Efanga and her son for no reason other than that one of her children, Barrister Francis Efanga, is defending those Akpabio perceives as opponents against his madness. The Bible says the sins of fathers would be visited upon their children. I am happy that Akpabio has children. Just as he robes children of their parents, God will also rob Akpabio's children of parents; this is not a curse, but a reflection. But if others think it is a curse, then so be it.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
Why Godswill Akpabio did not attend AKISAN Convention: The Arrest of Ekerete Ekpenyong in Houston
By Thompson Essien
When Godswill Akpabio left Nigeria with his contingent to attend the AIDN Economic Summit in Houston, Texas, on August 4, 2012, his planned itinerary included his presence at the AKISAN National Convention, which was held a week after the event in Houston. But when Akpabio hurriedly returned to Nigeria, those who were not members of his inner circle wondered why, and AKISAN officials, who had included Akpabio in the plan of events, were disappointed. It has just been revealed that Akpabio's sudden return to Nigeria was not unconnected with the arrest of Ekerete Ekpenyong at an airport in Houston. Who is Ekerete Ekpenyong?
Ekerete Ekpenyong, in partnership with the good-for-nothing elements of the society, such as Onofiok Luke, Enobong Uwah, and a local drug addict known simply as "Iraq," has been used by Godswill Akpabio to terrorize the innocent and defenseless people of Akwa Ibom State. Initially, Ekerete Ekpenyong was a member of the cult group known as the "12 Disciples", but after some internal disagreement with the group, he left the 12 Disciples to establish another one known as "I-9." In preparation to cause mayhem in the State for Akpabio during the election period, the name of the group was changed from I-9 to "I-13." Ekerete Ekpenyong was appointed the leader of the group.
During the 2010-2011 election campaign, sources have confirmed that it was Ekerete Ekpenyong and Onofiok Luke, whom Godswill Akpabio directed to use the "I-13" cult group (though at that time, it was known as the "12 Disciples") to plan and execute the failed attempt to kidnap the mother of Senator Akpan Udoedehe. Other sources have confirmed that 90% of the killings and kidnappings in Akwa Ibom State have been carried out by the I-13 cult group, which is led and directed by Ekerete Ekpenyong.
Ekerete Ekpenyong is from Etoi. As a reward for his success in reigning terror and havoc in Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio gave the order for him to be sworn in as the Chairman of Uyo Local Government, a position he held until a few days ago, when he was arrested and detained (still in detention) in the United States for money laundering. The following is a true account of the situation that led to the arrest and detention of Ekerete Ekpenyong.
Reliable sources have confirmed that during the trip from Nigeria to Houston for the AIDN meeting, Akpabio gave a bag, full of dollars, to Ekerete Ekpenyong to carry for him but should be claimed as belonging to Ekerete Ekpenyong. Because Ekerete Ekpenyong is a drug addict, an alcoholic, naive, and ignorant of foreign laws, because he has never left the shores of Nigeria, complied with regal that he was obeying “His Excellency“; he had no idea of what would be awaiting him when he landed at Houston, Texas.
At Sam Houston International Airport, the United States authorities seized the bag and the money, but they allowed Ekerete to go free for the AIDN meeting. While the money was in the custody of US officials, Ekerete Ekpenyong was told that he could collect the bag and the money when he is ready to return to Nigeria. He agreed. However, before US authorities cleared him for entry into the American soil, Ekerete Ekpenyong was interrogated for awhile. During the interrogation, he told officials, among other stories, that the money belonged to Godswill Akpabio, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
While Ekerete was drinking and fraternizing with prostitutes in Houston at the expense of Akwa Ibom people, the United States officials went to work by conducting investigation to determine why exactly such a huge sum of money was being taken into the United States. They found out that it was a clear case of money laundering. Since Ekerete Ekpenyong had told the US agents that the money belongs to Akpabio, the investigating officials managed to contact Akpabio for some explanations regarding the money. When contacted, a shaken Akpabio could only tell the US investigators that Ekerete Ekpenyong “is the Mayor of Uyo. Therefore he has every right to carry such amount of money to reward investors who want to do business in Akwa Ibom State.” The American agents thanked Akpabio for his explanations but made it clear to him that he should be available for more questioning.
Akpabio, who is a born crook, knew that the next time the FBI contacts him, it would not be through a telephone call; they would knock on the door of his hotel room and would be arrested, as an accomplice to money laundering. Akpabio’s aides advised him to return to Nigeria as fast as he could. The next morning, Akpabio boarded the first available plane, back to Nigeria; he fled the US!
The juice of the story is that no one told Ekerete Ekpenyong not to return to US agent to reclaim the money. After the AKISAN National Convention in Orlando, Florida, he returned to Houston and walked into the FBI office, with a large grin hanging on his wide and thick lips, and said; “ Saah, (as in Sir), my name is Ekerete Ekpenyong. I am the Mayor of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State. Last week when I landed here at the airport, my money was taken away and I was told to come back and collect it when I am ready to go back home. That is why I am here, to collect the money.”
The FBI agents offered him a seat and asked for documents to confirm his identity. He tendered his PDP identity card. The agents demanded another document. Ekerete Ekpenyong tendered his Nigerian Passport, which is what the FBI agents were actually looking for. He was told to stand up. He did. “You are under arrest for money laundering. They read to him the Miranda (You have every right to remain silent. Any information given by you would be used against you in the court of law……).
Sources say when Ekerete was arrested by the FBI, he was stunned. For several years that he has committed capital crimes by killing and kidnapping people for Godswill Akpabio, he has never in his life has to face the law and experience what it means to be placed under arrest. This was an eye-opener for Ekerete Ekpenyong and a revelation to him that all his criminal activities could only be tolerated in a place like Akwa Ibom State, where officials, who were placed in office to protect the people, have become predators of the very people they were mandated to protect and secure.
As I write this, Ekerete Ekpenyong is still in detention, while Akpabio is enjoying himself with his wife---Unoma--and his children. His arrest should serve as a warning to all the young people of Ibibio extraction, that when you do the biddings of Godswill Akpabio, it is you, not Akpabio, who would suffer the consequences. You should ask yourself why Godswill Akpabio did not give the bag to the Chairman of Ukanafun Local Government---his own Local Government---who was also among his contingent, but, instead, gave it to the Chairman of Uyo Local Government. Think about it.
Written by Ikpafak Thompson Essien
17th August 2012.
Why Godswill Akpabio Ordered the Killing of Barrister Efanga's Mother and His Brother
Written by Thompson Essien
Why Godswill Akpabio Ordered the Killing of Barrister Efanga's Mother and His Brother
It is now a common knowledge among the people of Akwa Ibom State that whenever Godswill Akpabio gives order for his agents to kill those he wants to eliminate, he will leave Akwa Ibom State to Abuja, Lagos, or fly out of the country. When General Akpan was kidnapped, while worshipping in a church, Akpabio was out of Akwa Ibom State and as it turned out, eventually, people came to find out that it was Akpabio who ordered the kidnapping of General Akpan. The same thing happened
when Chief Paul Inyang was killed, when Mamma Udonwa was murdered, and even when Comfort Ewang was kidnapped; the list seems endless.
This past weekend, Godswill Akpabio played yet another of his diabolical game; he ordered the murder of the mother and the brother of Barrister Francis Efanga. While this mother and son were being killed in a coward style, Akpabio was enjoying and spending the people’s money and fraternizing with prostitutes in Houston, Texas. As I write, Akpabio is still here in the United States, working the phone---sending instructions to his killers in Akwa Ibom State for them to kill those whom, in his sick mind, he considers as his enemies. Because of the clamp-down on the media, many people are not even aware of the daily killings, which is going on in Akwa Ibom State
on the orders of Godswill Akpabio.
Akpabio’s gripes with Barrister Francis Efanga are that the young attorney has successfully been defending Senator Akpan Udoedehe against the madness of Godswill Akpabio and has also been bold to condemn the ineffectiveness and the wasteful spending of the people's money which Akpabio regards as government policies.
In late 2010, when the heat for the gubernatorial election was searing, Akpabio lied to federal authorities that Barrister Efanga was planning to subvert the federal government. At that time, no one outside his inner-circle knew that Akpabio had manufactured fake and dubious documents as evidence, which he tendered to the Presidency, the SSS, and the Police in support of his claims. The fake documents looked authentic and so convincing that eventually in March of 2011; Barrister Francis Efanga was arrested, locked up, and charged with “sedition” and “malicious falsehood” against the President.
The case went to trial and was adjourned several times. Finally, it was dismissed entirely for lack of evidence. As a condition for his release, Akpabio bribed the judiciary to issue an order which banned
Barrister Efanga from visiting his own village in Ibiono Local Government Area, which is just a few miles to Uyo, the State capital. Francis Efanga thought the dismissal of the case would end the warped mind of Akpabio over him. Efanga was wrong, dead wrong!
Last weekend, while Akpabio was enjoying with his prostitutes in Houston, Texas, he gave the green button for Efanga’s mother and his brother to be killed. Several days after they were murdered in cold blood, relatives found the mutilated bodies of Efanga’s mother and that of his brother, who was visiting his mother at the time, inside the home, already in a state of decomposition.
And everyone is now asking why? Even Barrister Efanga himself cannot understand the madness. Contacted at his home in Nigeria by this writer, Efanga seemed lost of words. All he could muster the energy to say was “Honestly, I cannot tell you who killed my mother and brother, but I will find them. The police and the SSS are working on the case and I will wait for them to complete their investigations.”
Written by Ikpafak Thompson Essien
Akwa Ibom Government Hit Men Kill Sen. Akpanudoedehe Lawyer's Mother and Brother
By Thomas Thomas
8th August 2012
In a most bizarre manner, unknown men have murdered mother and brother of the personal lawyer to Senator John Akpan James Akpanudoedehe, Barrister Francis Efanga.
Dependable sources hinted NaijaLeaks that the incident occurred in Mbiakpana Atan, a village in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The village is a ten-minute drive from Uyo, the state capital.
NaijaLeaks scooped authoritatively that the late Efanga’s brother, who until his death worked with the Federal Road Safety Corp was in the country home of the Efangas on a visit to the mother, Saturday.
It was a distressed Barrister Efanga who confirmed the double murder to NaijaLeaks correspondent earlier this morning.
“I can confirm to you that my mother and my brother were butchered on Saturday night by unknown assailants,” begins Barrister Efanga.
“Please I’m not in a good frame of mind to speak further on the situation at the moment. However, let me say that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria is expected to issue an official statement on the incident later today.
Barrister Efanga added that the bodies of his late mother and brother have been deposited at a mortuary in Uyo.
Investigation by NaijaLeaks indicates that two hit squads exist in Ibiono Ibom being bankrolled by a top member of the Akwa Ibom State Government who hails from Ibiono Ibom. The deadly squad is popularly called United, while the second is referred to as the “Supreme
Our correspondent further gathered that the two blood-thirsty groups are being co-ordinated by one Moses Essien.
The groups, according to investigations by NaijaLeaks, are solely responsible for a string of murder incidents that have taken place in the area in recent time.
Among others, our reporter exclusively gathered that the late Chapter Chairman of ACN Hon Okon was killed by the United hit squad.
Akwa Ibom State Government's Meaningless Jamboree In USA
By Thomas Thomas
8th August 2012
...In support of Thomson Essien: The planned hosting of yet another investment summit in USA is
economic sabotage and unnecessary Penultimate week, Mr. Thompson Essien, convener of IbibioNation Forum and President of Ibibio Peoples Union (IPU), an indigene of Akwa Ibom State resident in Portland, Oregon, United States of America, wrote a distress letter to the United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton seeking the outright denial or cancellation of visas to members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and other entourage of Governor Godswill Akpabio to the United States of America.
The Lawmakers and other government functionaries of Akwa Ibom State are heading to the United States of America to attend what they called Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit/Investment Expo 2012 in Houston, Texas.
This summit, will be the second of its kind in recent times having been held last year. The only difference between this conference and the first held in 2011 is the over bloated entourage which at our last count will have 56 attendees under the sponsorship of Akwa Ibom State government gulping an estimated N17b, an amount which equals to two months federal allocations of some states in Nigeria. The 26 Lawmakers, some commissioners and the SSG, Special Advisers, some council chairmen and other party leaders are tipped for this trip which will also mark the silver jubilee celebration of Akwa Ibom State. It is not clear if they are travelling alone or will need some
Aides along with them thus increasing the number and the cost.
Thompson Essien in his letter has reasoned that the exercise is futile and just an executive jamboree which the conveners sole aim is for the attendees to catch a glimpse of the serenity of the US as they unwind. That has been one of the visible characteristic of the government of Akwa Ibom State since 2007 when oil wind fall started coming to the State.
Essien who is a social critic has questioned the rational of such expenditure on an adventure that has been taken before with the same reason but without any positive result. If after the 2011 Economic and Investment Summit in the United State, there were some results by way of foreign investment or aid, one would have pull the wool over spending yet another whooping sum of money on the same exercise.
We feel strongly to join Mr. Essien and Ibibio Peoples Union in condemning the planned summit except it is hosted here in Akwa Ibom State to curtail the excess expenditure. Our stand is premised on the fact that Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State is marked red in United States of America’s ranking of investment zones in Africa because of endemic corruption in high places and insecurity believed to be sponsored by people in government as self sustaining mechanism in power. Just last week, Barrack Obama, United States President, deleted Nigeria in the list of states to be visited by Hillary Clinton, his Secretary of States during her ongoing tour of Africa to reassure of America’s commitment to strengthening economic ties in those countries and strengthen democracy there. Sanctions are even insinuated against Nigeria in some quarters. The reason is that Nigeria is not yet
prepared or has not shown any commitment to develop herself nor strengthen democratic governance at the Local Government, State and National levels. It has not shown commitment to the respect of fundamental human rights of her citizens as well as being accountable to her people. If Akpabio were to be asked his score card in these areas taking into consideration how he recently conducted local government election in the state, his planned annihilation of a section of the press, what would he really say? Those billed to attend the summit were the very people who reduced themselves to touts when they scuttle the chances of Akwa Ibom people filling the yarning development gap in the third tier of government in Akwa Ibom State. This therefore makes nonsense of any trip to the US by Akwa Ibom State government to seek investors even with her bad security record and official terrorism.
We would suggest that Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and the government of Chief (Dr) Godswill Akpabio cover their pride and re-assess her performance in the area of security of lives and limb, respect for the rights of the human person, job creation and self help effort in industrialization of Akwa Ibom State.
As a law-making body, can AKHA in all honesty, feel satisfied that she has made laws that support the above stated areas as well as a checking mechanism to enforce their implementation for the betterment of an average Akwa Ibom person? We are sure that the answer will be in the negative just as the government of Akwa Ibom State will not be exonerated in the insecurity problem that has send so many to their untimely graves while other are now in exile.
This are areas that all tiers of government in Akwa Ibom State must address in an attempt to put the state in order to attract investments, foreign and local. With these in place, investments, like the $100m brewing hall in Anambra by an American entrepreneur or the gas link in Imo State, all privately sponsored, will be falling in the state. Then unemployment and brain drain will be a thing of the past. But for now, there is no need traveling and spending the people’ money
in search of what feasibility study of the state will blank first
A FRIENDLY'S LETTER TO GOV. AKPABIO ON THE WANTON KILLINGS IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Dear Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio,
12th August 2012
Since you have persisted in pursuing to ruin, those who seek justice and fairness , let me tell you now of the inspiration of the Lord which Has given me courage to condemn your evil deeds and the insidiousness of your government and governance.
I am angry! Angry that an evil person would seek the life of the comparatively righteous!! Angry that a criminal would seek the incarceration of the innocent!!!
I received a telephone call today informing me that you, Godswill Obot Akpabio had instructed your foot soldiers and the Nigerian SSS to lay in wait for "two people" living in the United States "one in Oregon, the other in Dallas". What the caller did not know and you may just be finding out is that the information had found its way to us from members of your inner circle who had spilled it to others, who then had reported to us. We left you, your plots and plans then, into God's Hands for HIS judgment. I still do today.
It did not, and has not, and will not , stop me from calling out Godswill Obot Akpabio on his evil and corrupt deeds; UNTIL ALL THE MURDERS in Akwa Ibom State ARE ACCOUNTED FOR; UNTIL all the murderers are arrested tried, and jailed or executed according to the law; UNTIL all the stolen money from our treasury is returned by you; AND Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio, you are the one to do the accounting - you are governor and chief security officer; AND you are the one who has directed the robbing of the treasury, dry. You should not pass the buck. The buck will not be passed because a few patriotic, honest and truthful citizens like me will and must keep it constantly in focus; AND before GOD. You have made Nigeriaan unjust society through bribes. You have bent the course of justice as no citizen except maybe James Ibori, has ever done.
I am one of those who will continue to keep your evil rule in focus before Almighty God; UNTIL HE answers; and Pays RETRIBUTION. Did he not instruct us -"Vengeance is mine, I will repay"? All we can do is continuously cry to him for JUSTICE to be done. AND HE will keep His Words!! And there is absolutely nothing that you can do about that.
Reflect on the following Biblical passage, Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio; and prompt your foot soldiers to reflect upon the words too:
"The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him" - Deuteronomy 28:20
Many innocent lives have been robbed under your command ,Mr. Akpabio!!
What crimes did Mathias and Emmanuel Ekpenyong commit? What crime did Barrister Udonwa commit? What crimes did Justin Edet commit? What crimes did Mrs. Udonwa commit? What crime did Mrs. Efanga commit? What crime did Mr. Efanga commit? What crimes did the three brothers gunned down before their aged mother, commit? What crimes did Paul Inyang commit? What crimes did Faith Udo commit? What crimes did Edidem Robert James Obot commit? What crimes did the many Ibibio people murdered under your regime commit? Have you procured justice for them or for their orphans or for their widows or for their widowers? How many criminals- murderers and kidnappers- have you and your administration sprung from justice? How many times have you bribed off justice AGAINST the innocent? How many times have you cheated orphans, widows, and widowers? How many times have you stolen from the peoples' treasury? How many times have you rigged elections and how many were killed in the elections of 2011 and 2012, Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio?
Of all the governors who have ever governed in our land, which one can be compared to Ahab? Remember that "Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him" Could Ahab’s suit, tie and shoes fit you, Mr. Akpabio?
Here is what Ahab said to Elijah:
“So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD"
Well, Mr. Akpabio, under the present circumstances in our state, judge for yourself who is Ahab and who is Elijah!!! Did Elijah switch roles with Ahab? If there were no role switching, you cannot and will not succeed in your plans to incarcerate or to bring about the demise of the innocent who criticize your insidious and evil rule. Those criticizing the hooliganism of your administration are the Elijah of our modern days; and you are Ahab.
We know by now that the words of the Lord wash over you without meaning, but whether you heed HIS Words or not, the words cannot be rendered meaningless. As Macbeth found out that not all the perfumes in Arabia could wash his hands clean of the blood of the king, you will find out that all the money in the world cannot and will not bribe your way to freedom or bribe the innocent into jail or cause their demise at your hands or at the hands of your foot soldiers, because the sins which you have committed since becoming governor are before the Lord; AND will be kept in His presence by men like me until He rewards you according to your deeds. Why do you seek the incarceration of the innocent? Why do you seek the demise of truth speakers? Why do you lie against those who tell the truth about your regime?
I am here, AND will continue to be here to remind HIM daily of your sins and of your injustice and of your bribes and of your insidious governance, in the same manner that the widow bothered the judge for justice. AND justice, OVER YOU, I and many others will get in this lifetime. Your insidious rule may not come to an end when Almighty GOD seeks HIS vengeance for your evil deeds, for your unjust rule and for your corruption.
Hear this, and hear it clearly:
There will be no escape for Godswill Obot Akpabio from his evil deeds. For as long as the Lord is TRUTH, Godswill Obot Akpabio must, and will pay for all the blood spilled under his watch.
And let me hasten to remind you, once again, and your cultist gang of hoodlums,that I and the few others, who call out your evil deeds will visit you and members of your evil gang in prison, when you are incarcerated by the very forces which you have bribed to incarcerate the innocent. AND that we will see the graves of any, and all, who seek our demise!!!
OduduAbasi Nicolas Edet
The Many Reasons Gov Godswill Akpabio Should Be Incarcerated
By Dr Tom Mbeke-Ekanem
A few days ago, Steven Nelson writing from London, I suppose, reaffirmed one of my earlier writings about the Diasporas who purchase bigger shovels to dig bigger pit toilets in Akwa Ibom even in this era of electronic toilets. This is an analogy. While I am not going to waste my time responding to his, I want to share below my write-up I sent to Nigerian president about Gov. Akpabio atrocities and human right violations. In a normal society, Gov. Akpabio would be in prison. Whether in office or out of office, that prospect is still very good. Anyone that doubts this should contact convict, Gov. James Ibori whose criminal activities never came close to that of Gov. Akpabio.
To have the likes of Steven Nelson who supposedly live in one of the magmas of democracy come out to the street dancing naked is shameful. I wonder if he had ever heard of the name Adolf Hitler who reigned supreme through 1945 in Germany. Like Akpabio, Hitler also built roads, bridges, flyer-overs, how about autobahn (first in the world)? And there again, Akpabio fools the indigenes with what he calls E-Library (first in the world) - a building with, may be, a handful of books at a price tag huge enough to give every Akwa Ibom child free education through university! Only in Nigeria would criminals rule with reckless abandon!!!
See below the many reasons Gov. Akpabio should be incarcerated.
His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
State House, Aso Rock
November 16, 2011
SUBJECT: TYRANNY AND THE BREEDING OF TERRORISM IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
Dear Mr. President:
On several occasions in the last few years, I have stressed repeatedly the fact that Nigeria is not practicing a true democracy. The only difference from military government is that the players involved in the current charade are mostly civilians with no military uniforms. Prime example of this is Akwa Ibom State which is one of the premier oil producing states in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. It is an established fact that until May 2007 when Gov. Godswill Akpabio became the governor, Akwa Ibom was known as the most peaceful state in Nigeria. No sooner did Akpabio assume power than the state became the killing field, rife with kidnappings and assassinations. This is why tyranny with kleptocracy is the most appropriate description of what is going on in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria presently.
This write-up becomes necessary following the recent revelation that the government of Akwa Ibom State and her paid agents in and outside Nigeria have now branded me and other innocent Akwa Ibomites residing in United States as terrorists. Led by the evil government, effort is also being intensified to shut down Ibom forum and Ibibionation forum, the two main email groups where Akwa Ibomites around the world are not afraid to voice their concerns on the corrupt and repressive nature of Godswill Akpabio. This write-up, takes a snap-shot of the tyrannical government of Gov. Akpabio to show why this writer believes he is neither fit nor deserve to be the governor of Akwa Ibom State. To make sure he had no opposition for his second term bid and that no one dares to ask him of accountability, Gov. Akpabio from the outset devised schemes, from outright bribery, unprecedented election rigging to all kinds of illegality, much like in the days of Gen. Abacha, a
military tyrant who wanted to succeed himself. As a result, Akpabio’s political opponents or those perceived to be a threat were either kidnapped, assassinated, or are now living in exile.
The following is just a tiny fraction of the ordeal Akwa Ibomites are facing since Gov. Akpabio assumed power in May 2007. Attached is, by no means exhaustive, a list of those kidnapped, assassinated or jailed during this reign of terror.
1) Repressive Regime:
a) Essien Ewoh and Fresh Facts Newspaper
No sooner did Gov. Akpabio assume the mantle of leadership in Akwa Ibom in May 2007 than he stepped on oppressive and repressive buttons. Barely one month in office, he ordered the arrest of a newspaper vendor, Mr. Essien Ewoh who was thrown into prison for distributing Fresh Facts newspaper that published a story critical of the governor.
The wave of arrests and sedition charges against the media in Akwa Ibom were reported in drove internationally per CPJ - New York publications of June 27, 2007. These were some of the citations by
CPJ: “Newspaper Copies Seized in Southern Akwa Ibom State”, on October 17, 2007 “Nigerian Publisher Charged With Sedition Over Story Critical of Governor”; and on January 25, 2008, “Nigerian Newspaper Distributor Arrested, Charged”.
The publisher of Fresh Facts newspaper, Mr. Sam Asowata was arrested in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and “tucked into the trunk/booth of a vehicle, and driven all night to Uyo - a distance of about 500 miles. Mr. Asowata's young daughter, who happened to have been in her father's office at the time of the arrest, was also arrested, presumably on the orders of Gov. Akpabio as well.”
b) AKPF – The Terror Network
From his early days in office, Gov. Akpabio began to act like someone who was possessed or a person with mental problem. Unknown to many was the fact that Gov. Akpabio before coming to office had secretly set up a group called AKPF (Akwa Ibom People Forum). Their primary goal was
to kill, maim and destroy any potential opponent to the governor. All hell broke loose. Akwa Ibom became the killing field, and the kidnapping and assassination capital of Nigeria. AKPF was only
disbanded following pressure by the federal government as a result of so much out-cries by the citizens. But its members continued with their terrorist activities nonetheless.
c) The Man Died - Ordeal of Chief Ononokpono
Chief Ononokpono a sick and frail Octogenarian, had in The Nation newspaper courageously asked Gov. Akpabio some cogent questions about his administration and financial accountability. Rather than respond to those questions, Gov. Akpabio ordered the arrest of Chief Ononokpono who was denied bail and “remanded in dehumanizing prison custody from March, 25, 2010 to May, 14, 2010.” Chief Ononokpono's health condition worsened since then. On December 7, 2010, Chief
d) Destruction of AMAKPE Refinery
True to his repressive nature, on Saturday, October 27, 2007, Gov. Akpabio shut down a foundation laying ceremony of AMAKPE refinery project at Eket. Embarrassingly, this happened after dignitaries fromaround the world including American Embassy, had assembled at the venue. Unmindful of the millions of dollars the principals of AMAKPE, American residents, have sunk into the project. Gov. Akpabio blocked every effort made by the principals to raise funds by threatening thebanks and potential investors. He never give a damn about some 1,000 direct and over 5,000 indirect employment the refinery would have generated in a state with over 80% unemployment.
e) Sealing off CRARN at Eket
The Good Samaritan, Sam Itauma, who established CRARN to cater for the abused children at Eket is presently in hiding from Gov. Akpabio’s fang for his dear life. Sam is being hunted down because he had the love and courage to cater for children accused of witchcraft and who have been brutalized, mutilated, abused, and some buried alive. Sam's efforts attracted worldwide attention including CNN. Gov. Akpabio prefers such atrocities not be mentioned or publicized. This is Sam's crime for saving these children.
f) Muzzling of the Citizens
In calling for Nigerian President’s intervention, Mr. Ime Mbatessien stated how as a result of the petitions he sent to the Chairmen of EFCC and ICPC dated September 16, 2010 cataloguing the high corruption index of the administration of Gov. Godswill Akpabio, he is being hunted like a common criminal. And to avoid being treated like late Chief Ononokpono or killed, he has resorted to sleeping from hotel to hotel in the capital city of Abuja.
g) Infamous Criminal Bill: Decree 2
Today, we see the return of the Gestapo, perhaps an innovation in democratic dictatorship! What next? It was Gen. Abacha who passed a similar bill in 1995 in order to justify the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni environmentalist. Gov. Akpabio had, days before the April 2011 gubernatorial election done exactly the same to the chagrin of many around the country. With this decree, Gov. Akpabio arrogated to himself the power to detain his political enemy or opposition as long
as it pleases him.
Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN, stated as follows: "By this monstrosity of a Decree 2 of 2011, Akpabio has joined the select group of infamous dictators like Sergeant Doe, Hastings Banda of Malawi, Mugabe, Gbagbo, Papa Doc of Haiti, the late Eyadema of Togo and a host of others who have turned their countries into horrific nightmares for their citizens and residents.”
2) Kleptocracy and Financial Irresponsibility
Just as the late Col. Ghadaffi practiced kleptocracy in Libya so is Gov. Akpabio in Akwa Ibom State. Gov. Akpabio runs Akwa Ibom as an estate rather than a state. In a kleptocracy, “a government is subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service…” The term in Greek means "Rule by thieves".
a) Gov. Akpabio embarks on grandiose white elephant projects such as the Tropicana Entertainment center whose price tag more than triples a similar size project in Abuja. From the cost/benefit analysis standpoint, there is no justification for dumping over N40 billion (initial cost was put at N33 billion) into the Ibom Tropicana when nearly 90% of the population live under $2 a day. Whereas a similar project in Abuja is said to cost a mere N12 billion and his privately funded by the same contractor, Silver Bird entertainment group that is contracted by Akpabio.
b) How about the N13 billion bribe Gov. Akpabio gave to members of his political party in August 2010 to ensure his re-election in April 2011? How about countless donations of vehicles to friends,
cronies, pastors, judges, lawyers, etc? Many contracts are awarded with excess kickbacks. Some contracts are awarded as many times as possible such as the Akwa Ibom Airport where the original contractor, Dyncorp from United States, was kicked out and contract re-awarded at inflated amount. All these monies are taken directly from the public treasury.
3) Ethnic Politics:
Owed to misguided belief that second term ought to be automatic, CAN opposition party’s event in Ikot Ekpene was violently disrupted. This action was followed by a pronouncement by the Annang leaders barring non- Annang candidates from campaigning in the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district. Any discerning leader would have stepped in with alacrity to denounce such actions knowing that ethnic issue is very volatile, much like a minefield. But Gov. Akpabio kept mum in the face of such
The effect of that pronouncement manifested on March 22, 2011 when Akpanudoedehe, the ACN gubernatorial candidate went to Ikot Ekpene to campaign. His convoy was welcome with …weapons, bricks, building blocks, sticks, machetes, and AK47 machine guns, etc. The protective
escort of the convoy was surrounded in both ends and the stones began to rain on the cars, on the roofs and the windows, smashing cars like fallen trees. Those who tried to escape were gunned down and their heads smashed with five inches, six inches and nine inches blocks with blood and body parts strewn everywhere….”
This was followed by more destructive mayhem at Uyo, the state capital, where many more lives were lost. Gov. Akpabio, consequently, came up with the hasty criminal Decree 2 and trumped-up charges and arrest, after arrest, of Akpanudoedehe, the opposition candidate, without arresting those who started the mayhem at Ikot Ekpene. This action meant to deny Akpanudoedehe his fundamental human right became a hallmark of irrationality expected only from a dictatorial and
kleptocratic governor like Akpabio.
4) Insecurity: Kidnappings and Assassinations
Unlike Col Ghadaffi, “Gov. Akpabio never came to power through a coup d’tat, that’s an open secret. But for the two to remain in power, violence became the readily available tool used with ease. Criticize and be kidnapped! Criticize and die.”
Dr. Ime Umana, the ACN deputy governor candidate re-affirmed this allegation when he mentioned that: “Mike Ejiofor, then SSS Director in the State openly told Akpabio that he was behind killings and assassinations in the state….”
a) On Sunday, January 31, 2010 while worshipping, a retired army officer, Gen. Edet Akpan was abducted from a sacred House of God and stuffed into the trunk of a car. Imagine the king of kings, the Oku Ibom Ibibio tribe being assassinated after returning from the funeral of a church pastor who was assassinated days before! Imagine countless other assassinated victims such as Madam Philomena Udonwa whose only crime was to have a son with ambition to run for the highest office in the state? The son, Engr. Udonwa only escaped with bullet wounds on May 12, 2010, a day the mother was abducted and later killed by her abductors. Imagine the state of fear and insecurity that dominates the citizens who become afraid of sleeping even in their houses, afraid of
going to church, afraid of so many unknowns.
b) Barrister Imo Udonwa was a former member of the State House of Assembly who was slated to be the next PDP (ruling party) chair in the State. He became an active contributor to Ibom forum group-mail and a fierce critic of Gov. Akpabio. As a lawyer, he supported his allegations against the government with certified documents. Consequently, he was gunned down for daring to speak out against evil government.
c) Chief Paul Inyang, a known member of Gov. Akpabio’s political party and was also slated to be the Chair of the ruling party in the State. It was reported that he shifted allegiance to an another
governorship candidate, an opposition to Gov. Akpabio. While worshipping in the church on Sunday, June 20, 2010, he was gunned down.
d) Never before in the history of Nigeria has a Paramount Ruler been assassinated. HRH, Edidem James Robert Obot, the Oku Ibom III, the Paramount ruler of Ubium Clan and the leader of the Ibibio ethnic group was assassinated in his Palace on January 30, 2011 for his
e) Until her death, Christy-Essien Igbokwe, a reknown entertainer was hounded and persecuted by Akpabio’s government. In a press statement released on June 3, 2011, shortly before her death on June 30, 2011, Christiana Ibokwe Essien wrote:
“I have been called and informed … how Akpabio’s government has continued in the plan of eliminating members of my family through planned kidnapping and deployment of cover-staff whose assignment probably was to poison us… Governor Akpabio must have renewed (though
he never ceased) this attack on my family because of my insistence that the evil that is presently in Akwa Ibom must be removed so that the respected peace that existed amongst our people returned.”
f) On December 21, 2010, Miss Faith Udo, a 26-year old student was brutally murdered by one Yusuf Salihu believed to be a member of Governor Akpabio’s killer squad. As in previous cases, immediately after Salihu was arrested, he was summarily released and set free
following pressure from the above.
g) On July 16, 2011, Abasiema Sunday Peters, a 23-year old man was shot on both legs by the Gov. Akpabio’s wife security detail. Instead of providing medical treatment, the man was handcuffed and
taken to the police station for detention. His only crime was that he did not move off the road fast enough for the governor’s wife motor convoy passing by.
h) A national publication, TELL magazine No. 45 of 15th November 2010 titled it succinctly: “Reign of Terror in Akwa Ibom State”. It described a case in August 2010: The State Vs Dr. Chris Ekong; who was framed-up, arrested, detained and eventually charged to court on phantom murder charges. It quoted Andem E. Ndem, attorney for Dr. Ekong saying, “When the matter (case) came up in court, the Attorney General (AG) did not even want the charge read to the accused Dagogo Minayo, alias Puff Daddy who admitted killing the Ekpenyong brothers in the open court. AG quickly informed the court that he had entered a nolle prosequi (stop prosecution order) in the said charge.
Consequently he applied that the charge be struck out.”
“We recall with disgust, a similar case involving one Mr. Nathaniel Uyoh, (accused in the first kidnapping incident during administration of Governor Akpabio). Here, the AG deliberately stayed away from court on several occasions until the court was constrained to strike out the charge for want of diligent prosecution. Today the accused person is moving around freely in government vehicle campaigning for the return of Governor Akpabio in 2011.”
Attorney Andem also states that there are a number of cases like the above involving known state sponsored killer squads walking freely in the street today because the state makes sure they mount pressure or bribe those in judicial and the police to stop prosecution.
i) Prince Ikim and the Killer Squad called Peace House
In January 2011, Attorney U. Frank-Igwe representing Mr. Prince Akpan Ikim filed a petition with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) alerting that Ikim’s life was in danger. Prince Ikim, a former SSS
officer, was a known member of Akpabio’s killer squad called Peace House. According to Atty. Frank-Igwe, Peace House is “a conglomeration of the K.K.K Cult members, armed robbers and kidnappers who get financial rewards from the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Dr. Godswill
Obot Akpabio for a job well done…”
After falling out with Gov. Akpabio, Prince Ikim defected from Peace House with the inside secrets. Gov. Akpabio and Peace House members went after him and he ran into hiding in Abuja from where his lawyer petitioned the IGP. Two members of the Peace House, Uyoh Nathaniel and Godswill Friday Nkamiang also mentioned above by Lawyer Andem Ndem, were those paraded by the then commissioner of Police, Mr Mike Zuokumor at the police headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia for kidnapping one Mr. Sassive Khali, a Lebanese Engineer with Stemco Construction Company based in Ikot Ekpene (see Weekly Insight newspaper of Wednesday 25th June Tuesday - 1st July 2008, page 12. Titled IKOT-EKPENE KIDNAP SAGA, KIDNAPPERS IN POLICE NET).
Atty. Frank-Igwe stated, “It is amazing to note with dismay that it was Mr. Don Etim, the Commissioner for Works, that facilitated the release of these celebrated kidnappers using his position in Government’. This re-confirms what Atty. Andem said in (h) above.
A governor is supposed to be a LEAD SERVANT of the people and should be endowed with Responsibility, Objectivity, Open-Mindedness, Flexibility, Inspiration, Respect, Connectedness, etc. On the contrary, Governor Akpabio’s government prides itself of lack of accountability, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness just as it is devoid of legitimacy and due process because these can never be expected in a despotic and kleptocratic government.
Gov. Akpabio wastes no time clamping down on his critics as cited above. He has made several attempts in the past to shut down Ibom forum and other fora, even threatening litigations against the Moderators.
In Nigeria, a lot of the journalists are in the payroll of the Akwa Ibom government so that they cannot report any news deemed negative by the government. No news on corruption or incident of kidnapping and assassination is ever reported by the state media and those media on
Therefore, the only sources of information the indigenes of the state have access to and can express their feelings are the Ibom forum and Ibibio Nation forum which Gov. Akpabio now directs his attacks. Ironically, most members of his cabinets led by the Commissioner for Information are also members of the forum and periodically get sound advice from this forum. It is also not uncommon for Akpabio’s agents to use the forum to threaten critics of his government.
Ibom forum was first created in 2002 and re-established in 2003 and has continued to serve the people of Akwa Ibom well. Unfortunately, the forces of darkness would love to wish it away. A member writes recently, “His Excellency and his men are now frustrated that the Diaspora critics can neither be contained nor silenced with intimidation and arrests. His attack dogs have been unleashed with instructions to do all that has to be done to rein in those who cannot keep silence in the face of tyranny. Dissenting voices must be gagged. Opposing views must be eliminated…”
Finally, the terrorism experienced in Akwa Ibom today is the handiwork and a hallmark of Gov. Godswill Akpabio. He knows how and when it was introduced to Akwa Ibom State and it is only him who can turn it off.
Dr. Tom Mbeke-Ekanem, REA
Tel: (951) 640-0737
Letter of Request to Deny Visas to Akwa Ibom State Members of HOA
By Essien Ubong
Within the past several days, Akwa Ibom people have been crying about the decision by Godswill Akpabio to launder the people's money under the pretense of sending the entire members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for a meeting in Houston.
This is to inform you that Ibibio People's Union sent a letter to the US Secretary of State, a copy was also sent to US Embassy in Nigeria, requesting her to deny or cancel the visas that were already issued by the United States Government to members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for this purpose.
We could have notified you of our efforts earlier than now, but we were waiting to make sure that the Office of the Secretary of State and the American Embassy in Nigeria are in receipt of the letter. Below is a copy of the letter. Enjoy.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
July 16, 2012
The Secretary of State of the United States of America
U. S. State Department
Re. Request for Denial of United States Visas to Members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKSHOA)
We extend to you the greetings and well wishes of the great people of Akwa Ibom State in Niger Delta of Southern Nigeria. We have followed and admire the indomitable spirit and zeal that you have exhibited in your present position as Secretary of State, fighting to bring peace, democracy and good governance to all countries.
We are writing on behalf of Ibibio Peoples Union (IPU): http://ibibiopeoplesunion.com/about-ibibio-peoples-union/who-we-are.php/) a non-profit, non-political organization of Nigerian- Americans promoting good governance for Nigeria.
We have noted that the current situation in Akwa Ibom State is of such concern to the USA that the USA has issued an advisory to her citizens against visiting the State. IPU shares your concern and is determined to get to the root of the problem so that the state might return to its erstwhile most peaceful place in Nigeria.
Madam Secretary, we are constrained to bring to your attention that a root cause of the unrest all over Nigeria is poor governance, looting of public funds and a lack of justice. Whether it is the jihadist Boko Haram in the north or the kidnapping in the south, the underlying cause is the poverty of the populace engendered by the misuse of public funds. We bring to your notice and action a proposed waste of public funds in a state where the state employees have not been paid in three months. You can and we request your help to stop this.
We have been reliably informed that the entire members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKSHOA) together with the Executive branch are headed to Houston, Texas, to deliberate on how to site industries in the 31 local government areas in the state. This was a campaign promise in 2007. Last year a contingency of about 60 people also came to Houston purportedly to seek investors. One year later, not a single investor has shown any interest in the state and the government wants to repeat the wastage of public funds.
Madam Secretary, is it not absurd that after 5 years in office (enough time to have fulfilled this campaign promise), instead of visiting each local government area to determine what raw materials exist there and consequently what type of industry is viable there this wasteful government would travel 7000 miles to a foreign country to make this decision in a foreign hotel? It has been reported that some Nigerian officials received estacodes of up to US$1,000.00 per day when they travel out of Nigeria. Compare this to the minimum wage, which is US$112.50 per month. Last year these people spent at least two weeks here in the USA. This year they plan to have a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the creation Akwa Ibom State in Houston instead of Akwa Ibom. After which another week is slated for learning how to govern. Then it is off to Europe to repeat the same events.
From a conservative standpoint, a minimum of 30 days will be spent out of the state accruing $1000.00 per day for each attendee. You can imagine the total cost of this enterprise to a state where civil servants are owed salaries of the past three months. While we appreciate the boost to the local economy here, we must point out that robbing Peter to pay Paul does not augur well for the American companies trying to conduct lawful business in Akwa Ibom, where Peter resides.
It is also well known that many of these House of Assembly, or HOA, members have surrogates here in the USA who have purchased real estate in the USA for them that their annual salaries cannot support such purchase. It is plausible that this trip is a cover for money laundering, legal looting (aka legislooting) and squandering of public funds. It should interest Madam Secretary to note that this HOA has not passed a single bill that was aimed at benefiting the people of the state. Instead they are notorious for being the only state in the country (with goading by the governor) to hurriedly pass Decree #2 (http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/nvnews/50758/1/akwa-ibom-state-decree-no-2.html) aimed at silencing all opposition. We are constrained to request that you cancel any visas that may have been issued to these people and to deny others from the government that may apply. The exorbitant expense of this jamboree would be better used to pay the salaries of state workers. We make our request in an effort to assist you to achieve your goal of seeing the entrenchment and growth of democracy in all corners of this world.
We thank you for your indulgence and acquiescence to our request.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
For and on behalf of Ibibio People's Union (IPU)
(1) All states going bankrupt, owe N2.4trn
By: ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Friday, July 13, 2012
*Senate seeks review of revenue formula
...Laments cost of governance
Unless the Federal Government acts fast to curb the appetite for foreign debts, all the 36 state governments may go bankrupt, the Senate warned yesterday. This was the verdict of the upper chamber of the National Assembly when it received the report of its Joint Committees on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Finance, Appropriation and States and Local Government Administration, presented by the Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade.
Senate said all the states depend on federal allocations and foreign loans, a development which it said, is anti-development.
The Upper House also canvassed a review of the extant Revenue Formula Act which was enacted by the Babangida military regime in 1992.
Senate is also pushing for a new revenue formula that would favour states and local governments, with periodic reviews henceforth.
The states owed a hefty N2,390,900,305,399.84 as at last December.
A breakdown given by the joint committee showed that total foreign and other loan deductions from January 2009 to December 2011 stood at N266,892,065,000.06 while gross statutory allocations during the same period was N2, 657, 792, 370, 399.90.
Gemade listed the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) files from 2009-2011 as its source with a further note: "The above table is only in respect to foreign debts and other loans directly tied to the Federation Account so, it does not include other exposures to commercial banks and the capital market which are substantial."
On the demand for a review of the revenue formula, Senate noted that previous attempts made by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) particularly in 2002 and 2004, the system of revenue allocation has remained that of 1992 with only a slight modification.
"Since the approval of the existing revenue formula in 1992, there had been changes in the political structure of the country. Six additional states were created in the country in 1996 and are yet to be taken into consideration.
"Similarly, when the same revenue allocation formula was approved, the local government councils were only 589, with the additional 185 councils created in 1997, the number increased to 774. This, too, has not been taken into consideration by the existing revenue allocation formula.
"The existing revenue allocation formula does not include the new principles to be used in revenue sharing among states and local government which were clearly spelt out in the 1999 Constitution and that the increased constitutional responsibilities as encapsulated in section 313 of the Constitution and New National Minimum Wage as well as recent increases in salaries and wages of political office holders and the judiciary were not envisaged by the existing sharing formula."
To forestall states going totally bankrupt, Senate is considering new laws that would limit exposure of the state governments to just 20 percent of their federal allocations.
"The legislature should consider appropriate legislations limiting the total exposure of states to external and domestic borrowings to not more than 20 per cent of their allocations from the Federation Account. Such borrowing should be for economic projects only and when it is absolutely necessary. Further, there should be strict compliance to the relevant provisions of the Borrowing by Public Bodies Act (CAP. B10,LFN,2004);
"Application of the 13 per cent derivation principle be properly implemented, considering the Supreme Court judgment in suit SC28/2001 on April 5, 2002."
Besides, Senate urged government to ensure that future proceeds from the Excess Crude Account are geared towards projects that would impact on the economy.
"Stabilisation Funds and allocations from the Excess Crude Account to states should be targeted at economic projects that have direct impact on the people." The Gemade report specifically slammed governors for grossly misappropriating and misapplying public funds.
"There is high rate of corruption and corrupt practices through misappropriation and misapplication of public funds, abuse of immunity clause by some state governors and the incapacitation of the various anti-graft agencies through political subterfuges."
Senate further said that viability should be one of the major considerations for states creation in the future. "There is a fundamental issue of non-viability of the 36-state structure. The fragmentation of the original three-region structure at independence to one of the four regions, 12 states, then 19 and now, 36 states, with the multiplication of governors, state Houses of Assembly, ministries, commissioners, secretariats.
"Most of the revenue accruing to the states and their LGAs end up being misappropriated as states fail to remit the LGAs share since they control the joint state/LGA account," the report said.
(2) 31 FACTORIES FOR 31 AKS LOCAL GOVT. AREAS…. JOIN THE INDUSTRIALIZATION PLAN AND GET DETAILS
By Dr. Moses Udoh and Dr. Ndem U. Ndem
We specially invites all Akwa Ibom professionals and business executives resident in the USA, Canada to Houston, Texas (August 3-4, 2011) and Europe (October 12-13, 2012) for the Akwa Ibom State Economic and Investment Expo 2012. During the events, Akwa Ibom citizens in the Diaspora will celebrate the State’s Silver Jubilee (25 years anniversary) and we want you to join us and our visiting government officials for the celebration.
The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief Godswill Akpabio, CON, will be the Distinguished Keynote Speaker. He will be accompanied to the event by a strong delegation of top federal and state government officials, members of the Nigerian diplomatic corps, the global press as well as business and social leaders.
As there will be opportunities for you to interact with top level government officials in order to present and discuss your investment interests, we strongly encourage your attendance and look forward to seeing you at the summit, knowing fully well that your attendance and participation will be invaluable and most memorable. There are spaces available for participating industrialists, investors or companies to exhibit their products and services. If you are interested, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, share this important information with your professional colleagues and friends. The event will offer excellent opportunities for social and business networking and to celebrate Akwa Ibom State with the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Chief (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio and key political, business and social leaders from Nigeria.
If you want to participate/register as a potential investor or to make a presentation during the event, please contact the undersigned:
(3) [NIgerianWorldForum] Re: ||NaijaObserver|| All AKS Legislators to visit Houston for Legislators Workshop and Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit/Investment Expo 2012
July 13, 2012
ALL MEMBERS OF THE AKWA IBOM STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY TO PARTICIPATE IN
THE AKWA IBOM STATE ECONOMIC SUMMIT/INVESTMENT EXPO 2012 AND LEGISLATORS’ WORKSHOP
IN HOUSTON, TEXAS
The Rt. Hon. (Elder) Samuel Ikon, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, will lead a team of twenty-six honorable members of the Akwa Ibom State legislature to Houston, Texas.
While in Houston, starting early August 2012, the legislators will participate in the Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit and Investment Expo 2012 followed by a week long Legislators’ Workshop on effective governance.
AIDN warmly welcomes the State legislators, proudly noting that the fifth session of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has registered already as one the most prolific sessions ever in the history of Akwa Ibom State.
While we are honored to have all members of the State legislature participate in the Akwa Ibom State Economic Summit and Investment Expo 2012, we also acknowledge their outstanding and creditable contributions towards the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, the Public-Private Partnership Council and Bureau of Public Partnership.
We wish the honorable legislators and all attendees the most valuable and rewarding week in Houston, Texas.
Barr. Uduak Ukpeh, Secretary General
Mr. Clement Ikpatt, President
27th July 2012
Re - A Complaint Filed Against Godswill Akpabio With the US Government■
Dear Mr. Thompson,
Compliments of the season.
Whenever you mention the number of persons incarcerated by Gov. Godswill Akpabio, the symbol of terror in the Niger Delta, you always fail or forget to include, talk about or mention the 41 innocent young Akwa Ibom persons incarcerated and tortured at the Uyo prisons for about 5 months after being accused of Treasonable felony as a fall out of the burning of government tricycles and cars at the state secreteriat on 22nd February, 2011 orchestrated by the governor's howling dogs.
These 41 persons were discharged and acquitted by the State High Court after suffering through hell in the Uyo prisons. Some 6 persons out of the initial 47 arrested could not endure the suffering, they gave up the ghost while at the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo due to excessive torture and brutality.
Remember that, the burning was a set up by Gov. Akpabio himself who ordered his boys to carry out the burning after carefully removing the engines and other esseintial car accessories in order to get the President's sympathy so as to send Senator Akpanudoedehe to jail on the election week.
Truly, I, Pastor Kingsley Asian, happened to be one of those incarcerated just because I was the leader and founder of UDOEDEHE AMBASSADORS, www.udoedeheambassadors.blogspot.com one of the strongest supporting groups of Sen. J.J. Akpanudoedehe.
I was also the Chairman, Special Services Sub-committee, of the Central Campaign Organisation of ACN in the 2011 Elections. That's why I was one of the strongest target.
Please kindly give this issue due consideration at least for the sake of history and proper documentation and recording, let us, the 41, be so recognized and mentioned whenever issues like this are brought up or discussed. We even stand as better witnesses that can testify in cases like this.
Presently, we the 41 victims are in the process of filling a court suit against the Government of Akwa Ibom State, the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Government for putting us through hell with the order Governor Akpabio, a man who supposed to protect the citizenry.
Thanks a million and God bless.
PASTOR KINGSLEY ASIAN
27th July 2012
Bonga Oil Spill: Akwa Ibom Fishermen Applaud NOSDRA On Shell Fine
Fishermen in Akwa Ibom have hailed the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) for imposing a $5 billion fine on Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the fine was imposed on the oil multi-national company over the recent Bonga oil spill.
The Akwa Ibom fishermen, under the aegis of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, said the regulatory agency’s action vindicated their position on the impact of the oil spill on fishing trade.
Chairman of the association in the state, Rev. Samuel Ayadi told NAN that the sanction would send a warning signal to other oil industry operators.
He said the fishermen appreciated the tireless efforts of NOSDRA in combating oil spills and making the waters safe for fishing.
Ayadi also noted that on the orders of NOSDRA, fishermen in the state had pulled out of the waters for about eight weeks to pave way for the spill’s clean-up.
“We thank the Federal Government and NOSDRA for a job well done, because the fine on the oil company was just the right thing to do.
``That spill from the Shell facility put all fishermen in the Niger Delta out of business for almost eight weeks.
“We pulled out of the waters as directed by NOSDRA and we are, in the same spirit of compliance, urging Shell to comply with the fine order and pay.
“This will enable the agency and the federal government to compensate the affected communities and fishermen,’’ he said.
Ayadi contended that the fishermen deserved to be compensated for the loss of revenue while the clean-up lasted.
NAN recalls that Dr Peter Idabor, the NOSDRA Director-General, had announced the sanction on the oil company at a public hearing on issues in the oil industry.
The public hearing was held at the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly in Uyo on July 16.
The oil spill, which occurred from a Shell facility on Dec.20, 2011, had seen about 40,000 barrels of crude discharged into the Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, in a statement made available to NAN in Eket, Shell has continued to maintain that the oil firm handled the oil spill in a professional manner.
``We do not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCO has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine.
``SNEPCO responded to this incident with professionalism and acted with the consent of the necessary authorities at all times to prevent environmental impact as a result of the incident,’’ the statement signed by Precious Okolobo, the company’s spokesman, said.(NAN)
Source: Leadership, 22nd July 2012.
A Complaint Filed Against Godswill Akpabio with the US Government
Tens of innocent people have been assassinated under the leadership watch of Godswill Akpabio. Several others have been kidnapped and locked into automobile booths like goats, while some have been arrested, detained, and prosecuted with trumped-up charges---all these heinous atrocities happened, and are still happening, so that Godswill Obot Akpabio can remain in office as a governor of a tiny state in Nigeria known as Akwa Ibom.
Hundreds of complaints and petitions have been written and submitted to the President of Nigeria, yet no positive response from the office of the presidency has been forthcoming. As far as President Jonathan is concerned, whatever happens in Akwa Ibom State is of little or no concern to him; it is politics as usual. Meanwhile, the families of victims of these crimes are wailing in silence and gnashing their teeth in suffering. For this reason, IPU decided to address the issue by taking the matter to the Congress of United States---the last bastion of a true democracy.
We are ready to expose all the evils of Akwa Ibom State under the leadership of Godswill Akpabio to the outside world. Perhaps by doing so, future leaders will think twice before they indulge in the same style of governance with which Akpabio has taken pride pride, but which has caused the lives of hundreds of Akwa Ibom people. Please open the following link to read what was presented to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the United States House of Representatives on July 10, 201 (http://www.mediafire.com/view/?0hrn2k78kn6o2xk).
The Report is self-explanatory. However, in case some people have problems opening the attachment, the entire Report is copied and pasted below for your perusal. Enjoy.
Written by Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
Defender of the Oppressed
A native of Ibibio nation 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.
President and Representative of
Ibibio People’s Union, Inc
United States House of Representatives
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights
“U.S Policy Toward Nigeria: West Africa's Troubled Titan”
Tuesday July 10, 2012
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Bass, Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:
I would like to thank you for holding these hearings on U.S Policy toward Nigeria, a significant nation in the West African sub-region. These hearings are weighty and timely because Nigeria remains an important trade and security partner with the United States. The country’s production of crude oil is estimated at 2.458 million barrels per day, representing the tenth largest output in the world. In year 2011, Nigeria was the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to the United States. In the same year the Office of the US Trade Representative reported that US businesses exported $38.6 billion in goods to Nigeria, representing the 23rd largest trading partner with the United States, ahead of many other strategic US partners. To put it in perspective, this amount is equivalent to the total GDP of the State of Wyoming in 2010, or the entire budget of the State of Kentucky in 2012.
It is for these reasons that both the US and Nigerian citizens are concerned with the perennial state of insecurity and miss-governance in that country. As a representative of Ibibio People’s Union, Inc, I am honored to represent Ibibio People’s Union Inc and other concerned Nigerians in presenting to the Sub-committee our findings on the Nigerian situation documented over the past few years. Ibibio People’s Union, Inc represents a community of Nigerian-Americans whose ancestry is traceable to Ibibio ethnic group of the South Eastern region of Nigeria, specifically in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The entity acts only as an observer and commentator on issues affecting Nigeria. It does not support political parties or ideologies, but performs acts of charity in support of its members.
The Context of Nigeria’s Troubled Condition
Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria is a critical part of the well-known, oil rich Niger-Delta region, the source of more than ninety percent of Nigeria’s wealth of crude oil. It has an estimated population of 4.8 million people (less than metropolitan District of Columbia) and 2,734 square miles, approximately the size of the State of Delaware. Unfortunately, this region is also homeland to numerous minority ethnic groupings whose minority status precludes them from decisions regarding the use and distribution of resources derived from their homeland. Successive autocratic, repressive and corrupt regimes have since independence denied the minorities of the Niger-Delta even a fair share of the proceeds of crude oil sales, to the degree that the region remains the most impoverished of all oil-producing communities in the world. This information is important to the Sub-committee because it provides a background to the resulting state of insecurity in the Niger-Delta, whereupon the US State Department has issued a standing travel advisory, cautioning Americans against travel to the Niger-Delta and Nigeria in general.
In protest to the massive exploitation, militants comprised largely of unemployed youths and often sponsored by political interests, initially took to sabotage of oil infrastructure, kidnappings, torture and murder of oil workers. Apart from indigenes, also affected are Americans and other expatriate workers who are victims of a spate of kidnappings and murders even unto this day.
In recent years, this state of instability has significantly increased in Akwa Ibom State, one of the largest depositories of crude oil in Nigeria. With the re-institution of democracy in 1999, there were high expectations that Nigerians for the first time in a generation would determine their government in free and fair elections. Instead, corrupt politicians have utilized militants to persecute, kidnap, torture and murder political enemies. Indeed, since 2007 when the current governor of Akwa Ibom State was sworn into office in a highly controversial electoral declaration, incidents of murder and kidnapping for ransom have multiplied several folds. Most victims are political opponents of the governor Mr. Godswill Akpabio, who is documented to have declared openly and acted on his promise to persecute and eliminate his opponents. Today, freedom of speech in Akwa Ibom State is non-existent and the population lives in fear of a governor “elected” to serve them but who has metamorphosed into a dreadful persecutor, intimidator and a killing apparatus at his option. Ibibio People’s Union Inc and other international monitoring groups have documented most of these atrocities, which additionally, are widely reported by local and international media and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch. To date, hundreds of innocent people have been kidnapped, women raped, opponents tortured and murdered by the governor’s private militia, ironically supported by the resources of the people.
To demonstrate the tenacity of Mr. Akpabio in seeking out those who oppose his tyranny, he has recently attempted to persecute Nigerian-Americans residing in the US who decry his reported involvement in killings in Akwa Ibom State. He has sought frivolous injunctions in American judicial system to curtail the freedom of speech of his perceived enemies who vocalize his misdeeds at Internet forums. Given these atrocious murders, the fact of the governor’s kleptocracy with the states’ resources appears a more merciful behavior. Unfortunately, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not acted to intervene in this dire situation despite numerous pleas of victims. The Federal Government’s non-reaction underscores the fact that the Niger-Delta as a minority region is viewed as important only to the degree in which its natural resources can be exploited. Given the federal government’s actions or lack thereof, it may be surmised that ensuring the security of its citizens is largely immaterial to the administration.
The Quiet Genocide: Documented Atrocities in Akwa Ibom State
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, the following incidents are by no means exhaustive of atrocities committed against the people of Akwa Ibom State and in particular the Ibibio tribe by the current governor and his cohorts since 2007. Indeed they represent only a small fraction of occurrences. Many incidents are not reported due to fear of further persecution of surviving family members, and the sheer horror of the events themselves. These however may serve to create a sufficiently detailed picture to enable the Subcommittee formulate policy to prevent these atrocities and build a partnership for the mutual benefit of both countries.
1. Barely one month after assumption of office in 2007, governor Akpabio ordered the arrest and incarceration of a newspaper vendor Mr. Essien Ewoh for distributing a newspaper publication, Fresh Facts, that criticized the governor. Mr. Ewoh was only doing his legitimate job to earn a living.
2. The series of attacks on freedom of the press, arrests and charges of sedition were documented by the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in several of its publications titled “Newspaper Copies Seized in Southern Akwa Ibom State”, October 17, 2007; “Nigerian Publisher Charged With Sedition Over Story Critical of Governor”; and on January 25, 2008, “Nigerian Newspaper Distributor Arrested, Charged”.
3. The publisher of Fresh Facts newspaper, Mr. Sam Asowata was arrested in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, tossed into the trunk of a vehicle, and driven all night to Akwa Ibom State - a distance of about 500 miles. Mr. Asowata's young daughter, who happened to have been in her father's office at the time of the arrest, was also arrested, presumably on the orders of Gov. Akpabio.
4. Upon assumption of office the governor reportedly created a secret militia group called Akwa Ibom People Forum (AKPF) that kidnapped, terrorized and killed perceived political opponents of the governor. The group supposedly disbanded after protestations and loud outcries of citizens.
5. One Chief Ononokpono a sick and frail octogenarian, had in The Nation newspaper courageously asked Gov. Akpabio some cogent questions about his administration and financial accountability. Rather than respond to those questions, Gov. Akpabio ordered the arrest of Chief Ononokpono who was denied bail and “remanded in dehumanizing prison custody from March, 25, 2010 to May, 14, 2010.” Chief Ononokpono's health condition worsened and on December 7, 2010, he died.
6. Leading up to his re-election campaign of 2011, the governor openly banned his opponents from campaigning in his own hometown. When one of his opponents, Senator Akpan-Udoedeghe, defied his order and campaigned at the governor’s hometown, the Senator’s team was attacked by the governor’s supporters branding machetes and AK47s, leading to hundreds of deaths and wounded innocent people, and destruction of property totaling millions of dollars in value. The Senator barely escaped with his life. This particular incident was widely reported both by Nigerian and international media. To date, no persons have been apprehended and punished.
7. A Nigerian national publication, TELL Magazine No. 45 of 15th November 2010, entitled a front-page feature article “Reign of Terror in Akwa Ibom State”. It described a case in August 2010: The State Vs Dr. Chris Ekong; who was framed-up, arrested, detained and eventually charged to court on phantom murder charges. It quoted Andem E. Ndem, attorney for Dr. Ekong saying, “When the matter (case) came up in court, the Attorney General (AG) did not even want the charge read to the accused Dagogo Minayo, alias Puff Daddy who admitted killing the Ekpenyong brothers in the open court. AG quickly informed the court that he had entered a nolle prosequi (stop prosecution order) in the said charge. Consequently he applied that the charge be struck out”. The publication detailed numerous other cases of atrocities and killings, and directly linked the governor to many of them.
8. On July 16, 2011, one Abasiema Sunday Peters, a 23-year old man was shot on both legs by the security detail of Gov. Akpabio’s wife. Rather than administer medical treatment, the man was handcuffed and taken to the police station for detention. His only crime was that he did not move off the road fast enough for the governor’s wife motorcade as it drove by.
9. On December 21, 2010, one Miss Faith Udo, a 26-year old student was brutally murdered by one Yusuf Salihu believed to be a member of Governor Akpabio’s killer squad. As in previous cases, immediately after Salihu was arrested, he was summarily released and then freed without criminal investigation or prosecution.
10. Numerous publications, local and international, continue to document the sad events in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general.
Partial Listing of Murder and Kidnap Victims in Akwa Ibom State Since 2007
The following is a partial listing of victims of terror since Mr. Akpabio assumed office in 2007 as the current governor of Akwa Ibom State:
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 (Ibibio)
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 (Expatriates)
16) Russian Employees (6) June 3, 2007
17) Stemco Staff (6) 2008 (Expatiates)
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 to Nturukpum) (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) Prophtess Mercey Inyang (1) 2010 (Ibibio)
57) Prophetess Mercey 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 EWANG—SEPT.2010 (IBIBIO)
81) MRS. LYDIA TOM BUSH –SEPT.2010
82) MR. EWANG’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT--- OCT.2010
83) MR. EWANG’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 have been 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 POLITHECHNIC
94) JOHN NTA (OWNER OF TREASURY ISLAND) FEB.11 2011 (Ibibio)
Partial List of Persons 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)
Partial Listing of Murdered or Assassinated Victims (Contd.):
1) Barr. IMO UDONWA (IBIBIO)
2) MISS. ANIEFON ANIEDIABASI
3) ENGR. EMMANUEL EKPENYONG (Submarine) (IBIBIO)
4) MR. MATHAIS 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
10) EZEKIEL PETER EBERE (Episco) (Ibibio)
11) CHIEF PAUL INYANG (Ibibio)
12) MRS.PHILOMINA 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) Mbosowo Andrew ( Ibibio) kidnapped ,Ransom paid and murdered-nov.2010
19) PASTOR DAVID IDUNUOLUWA (pastor of living faith church ikot ebido
20) OKU IBOM III ,EDIDEM ROBERT JAMES OBOT JAN.30, 2011 (IBIBIO)
Partial List of Persons Incarcerated Without Trial by the State Government:
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 released from jail on government orders. (Ibibio)
4) Mr. Otu Ekong substituted for the real killers of Ekpenyong brothers.
5) Mr. Itoro William substituted for the real killers of the Ekpenyong brothers
6) Chief Ononokpon incarcerated for demanding the governor’s accountability (Oron)
7) Dr. Chris Nyong charged with treason and later 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)
Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee members: We at Ibibio People’s Union Inc make this presentation even at great risk to our personal safety. Many of our members have already lost family members in this quest for justice, and many of us are no longer able to visit our families in Nigeria for real fear of arrest and persecution, and worse still, death. But we also understand the costs and difficulties of US Involvement in the affairs of other nations. Quite often it is in the best interest of partnering nations to ensure each other’s safety. Instability in Nigeria does not only create insecurity for its citizens, it also forms a cradle for global terrorism as evidenced by increasing bombing activities of the Al Qaida affiliated group Boko Haram. Insecurity and corruption hinders the development of that nation and limits beneficial relationships with other nations such as the United States. A flourishing and stable Nigeria, as has been recognized by successive US administrations, is in the best interest of both nations, especially given the global war on terrorism. We will continue to anticipate that US policy toward Nigeria will include important components that promote the security and prosperity of both nations.
Thank you for the opportunity to inform the Sub-committee on this important matter.
Mr. Thompson Essien
Ibibio People’s Union, Inc. (IPU)
A Georgia Non-Profit Corporation.
Engr. Frank Okon v. Chief Godswill Akpabio: Abdul Kafarati is Angry
By Anthony Ebuk
12th July 2012
The true position of the case between Engr. Okon v. Chief Akpabio & Ors is still a matter of guess work, 23 good hours after the predicted dooms day had come and gone.
The Hon. Judge had one of those rare yet dreaded opportunities to write his name either in Gold or Mud forever depending on the side of the divide one would have been viewing his Judgment from.
I am compelled to believe that the Hon. Justice is a very angry man as we speak, and may not recover from that feat for a while to come. Let's reason with His Lordship; we are but mere on-lookers but I assure you the density of the perceived tension that enveloped the state yesterday could have been sliced with a kitchen knife if one attempted to. Everybody had his ears on everything and anything that could provide any relevant information from Abuja. Airtel, MTN, Etisalat and others had a field day as calls flew in a forever unending chain.
Now, the star man of the day was nowhere to be found. Loads of buses had departed for Abuja the previous day with the hope to BE THERE LIVE! We are yet to find out where the Hon. Judge was?
I do not know the man in person, but is it possible he was attending a valedictory function in Uyo? For those of us who are not aware, the former Chief Justice of the Federation, was being received at the Uyo Sports Stadium, the same 12/07/2012 at about the same time Justice Kafarati would have been reeling out his final Judgment on the case.
Now let's picture the scenario, the CJN is having one of the greatest moments of his life, all of a sudden, the Chief Executive and all the executive members activate the quick eject button, the state becomes chaotic as opposing interest clash. Suddenly, the Government house where he was lodged, is no longer accessible as mean looking security officers take over and cordoned off the area. The very old man will be stranded, he may suffer a stroke and the rest can better be imagined.
On the other hand, if Justice Kafarati, based on the evidence before him had ruled in favor of the Chief, the insinuations and innuendos that would have trailed the reception is equally better imagined. Either ways, it would have been a very bad call to go ahead with the Judgment.
I have imagined that the CJN had put a call through to Kafarati to say - son, I am not interested in whatever decission you have reached on the case before you, but I ask you for only one thing, let it not be on my day. He could not turn a deaf ear to a last wish of a retiring grand father.
Kafarati is angry and he has every right to be. The whole pressure has shifted from the expectant victor and vanquished to the innocent umpire, as he watched helplessly the day roll away. Recall that there were speculations that the Court, which traditionally sits by 9am or so soon thereafter, will be siting from 1pm? and Furthermore that Judgment which is usually the 1st Item on the list will be the last. They may have been mere speculations but were all pointers to the fact that they were observing proceedings in Uyo Sport Stadium.
The other question will now be, the date of judgment and the reception which was the first in time? I honestly do not know.
As I stated earlier, Kafarati may have been in Uyo yesterday to honour his boss, he may have also been out of the country, only time will tell. I urge us to keep our fingers cross not our hearts crossed. My lord may have just saved the day.
The Case of Frank Okon versus Akpabio: Propaganda Lies and Propaganda
Written by Thompson Essien
14th July 2012
The Case of Frank Okon versus Akpabio: Propaganda Lies and Propaganda
On July 12, when Judge Karfarati did not appear in court, rumor speculated that he appeared later that evening to preside over the matter of Frank Okon versus Godswill Akpabio. Since Thursday (July 12), rumors have been speculating that Judge Karfarati has been having a closed door meeting with Akpabio, Frank Okon, and their legal teams to negotiate for a face-saving exit of Godswill Akpabio from the Hilltop Mansion.
Another rumor is that Obong victor Attah, President Jonathan, and Alhaji Turkur (the National Chairman of PDP) have been holding a meeting to determine how Godswill Akpabio can be given a safe-landing-exit from the office.
Today, I can authoritatively say that all of the above and other such stories still in speculation about the matter are nothing but rumors and lies, probably instigated by no other person but Godswill Akpabio himself, as a strategy to mislead his so-called supporters.
This morning, I had the opportunity to speak over the phone with Mr. Frank Okon. He confirmed that none of the rumors is true. According to Frank, the hitch is from Nigeria's judicial system, which failed to inform all the parties that Judge Karfarati would not appear in court on July 12, as was scheduled, due to a pre-arranged official conference in Washington DC. Judge Karfarati is expected back in the country this weekend and is supposed to appear in court On Monday---July 16, 2012.
However, according to Frank, what is not known is if the Judge will entertain the case when he shows up in court on Monday or if the case will be decided before the court adjourns for its annual recess. Other than such reservations, Frank is very optimistic about the outcome of the case.
He has confirmed his commitment to attend the IPU Congress, which is coming up on August 3-5 in Atlanta, Georgia. He hopes to attend the IPU Congress as the next governor of Akwa Ibom State. However, according to Frank, no matter the outcome of the case, he will be in Atlanta for the Congress. While in Atlanta, he would be more than willing to answer whatever questions that may be addressed to him.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien, Portland, Oregon,
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