Akwa Ibom state Government has alleged plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, party to Weaken the state’s apparatus through federal might.
The Government said the plot is also aimed at scareing away investors which the administration has succeeded in attracting to the state.
Speaking with newsmen on Thursday evening at the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia where the state commissioner for Environment, Dr Iniobong Essien was being drilled for relocation of a billboard, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh described the move as “test-running of the threat by an APC, Senator from the state.
Giving a background into the situation which led to Essien’s arrest and further detention, Udoh said, “We all woke up one day and found out that an official of the state, the Commissioner for Environment, has been invited for a discussion with the police on instruction from Abuja, over a dispute on a billboard location.”
“The billboard is located in a densely populated area. The approval before locating the billboard was not followed to the later because it was not located where it should have been located. Secondly, structural standard was compromised, so the Commissioner for Environment whose duty is to supervise issues relating to environment in Akwa Ibom State took necessary steps to ensure that the properties around the vicinity were secured, especially as the design and structural integrity of the billboard were compromised.”
“So, on that account, he was invited by the police and that was two days ago, government stepped in, and it required the SSG to sign an undertaking to bail him. Today the instruction was given that he and the Chairman of Uyo Local Government council, Mr Imoh Okon should be brought to Abuja for further questioning, and the question I ask is; these are officers of government, appointed and elected, carrying out their legitimate duties and here they are intimidated by the officers of the law.”.
“Government is therefore worried because we were all witnesses to the famous Warsaw statement. Recall that Akwa Ibom, in the last three years, has been one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. That is why investors are coming in. The threat is clearly a script being perpetrated, being rehearsed and being played out, but it is worrisome because this invitation of violence and insecurity may throw our young men back on the streets if it succeeds in scaring off investors.”
The Information Commissioner therefore called on Akwa Ibom people and Nigerians in general to rise against any attempt to use intimidation and federal might as political weapons against opponents or members of other political parties.
The Secretary to State government, Mr Emmanuel Ekuwem and other top government functionaries were present at the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia while the two government officials were being drilled as part of the preparations for the Abaja movement.