By Emmanuel Ayungbe
UYO-CRISIS has torn apart the once- peaceful family of former President-General, Oron Union, a socio-cultural organisation that seeks to promote the interest of Oron people of Akwa Ibom State, the late Chief Ambe Bassey, 22 years after his passing away.
The late Chief Bassey, a successful man by all standards, hailed from Urue Offiong village, Urue Offiong/Oruko Local Government Area of the state, but today, his children are moving from one court room to the other to unravel the mystery surrounding the fatherhood of two of them.
First wife of the deceased, Princess Bernadette Ambe Bassey, had four children with Evangelist Alfred Ambe Bassey as his first son, followed by Ime, Ikwo and Utang Ambe Bassey.
His second wife, Madam Enobong Hensaw Sedekie, who later became known as Mrs Eno Ambe Bassey, upon marriage, had two children for the Basseys (Mayen and Ukuokeno Ambe Bassey).
How crisis erupted
Trouble started when two other boys by Madam Eno appeared from nowhere after their mother had been divorced, claiming to be the biological children of the late Chief Ambe Bassey.
To ascertain their paternity, the first son, Evangelist Bassey, who is also the principal administrator of the estate, approached High Court, Okobo Judicial Division in 2015 to seek an order of court, restraining the two children in the paternity dispute from parading themselves as the lawful children of their late father.
Evangelist Bassey in his statement of claim in suit No HOK/12/2015 asked the court to stop Mr Victor Sedekie and Mr Mfon Sedekie (defendants) of the Nigerian Prisons Services, Ikot Ekpene and State Security Service (SSS), Uyo Command, Akwa Ibom State respectively, from claiming to be Victor Ambe Bassey and Mfon Ambe Bassey.
He is contesting the paternity of the duo, saying that his father died on 27 February 1995, leaving behind only six children, who did not include Victor and Mfon.
Defendants not Bassey’s children – Court
Justice G. F. Atte in his judgment after hearing Chief Emmanuel Ekpeyong, counsel to Alfred Bassey, declared that Victor Sedekie and Mfon Sedekie (defendants) who claim to be Ambe Bassey, were not the children of the late Chief Ambe Bassey.
The court held that they were born in 1980 and 1982 respectively after Chief Ambe Bassey had divorced their mother, Madam Enobong Hensaw in 1976 pursuant to Orue Offiong Oruko Customary Court judgment in suit No 340/76.
Justice Ette ordered a perpetual injunction stopping the defendants from using the name, “Ambe Bassey” in their respective names on grounds that they were not children of the late Ambe Bassey.
The defendants were also ordered to publish an apology addressed to the claimant and have same published in two national newspapers and one local newspaper for the embarrassment caused the family of the late Chief Ambe Bassey and pay a cost of N10,000 for the action.