By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

CALABAR – GOVERNOR Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has suspended the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Venatius Ikem, from the state executive council for allegedly fighting and stabbing a staff of Mega Hilton hotel, Mr. Boniface Ishamali, with a broken bottle.

The governor, according to a statement by Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr. Mike Aniah, had directed Ikem, who was a former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and also served as an adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government, to hand over all the ministry’s documents to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Linus Ovat.

Already, Ikem had been arrested and detained at the State Housing Estate Police division on the orders of the state Commissioner of Police.

The victim, who is now lying critically ill at a hospital in Calabar with stitches on his face, is said to double as Personal Assistant to the Senator representing Cross River North senatorial district.

Already, Ishamali has petitioned the Assistant Inspector General of Police in-charge of Zone Six, over  what he described as attempted murder and called for an investigationinto the matter, so that Ikem will face the full wrath of the law.

The victim, in the petition, claimed that he was sent by his in-law, Dr. Frank Ayade, to deliver a message to Prof. Zana Akpagu, Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Special Duties at his residence, but after delivering the message, Prof. Akpagu beckoned on him to accompany him to a party organised by Mr. Ejadons Esege, Special Adviser on Project Monitoring and Evaluation.

Ishamali said: “I drove behind Akpagu’s car to the party. I sat with Akpagu, Dr. Edet Ikpi, state Commissioner for Health, Mr. Sayina Robinson, when Ikem arrived. After exchange of pleasantries, I wanted to move away from the table to allow Ikem interact with his colleagues when he accosted me and asked what somebody like me was doing at the party. I answered him that I accompanied Prof. Akpagu, who also explained that I came with him. He told Ikem to leave me alone to enjoy myself but Ikem insisted that I should leave the place.

“I told him that I was not in his house, so he had no right to walk me out of the place. All  pleas to let me go fell on deaf ears. The next thing,  Ikem held my shirt and pushed me against the wall. Next, he slashed my face with a broken bottle. I went down with blood all over my body and I passed out only to wake up at a clinic.”


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