By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo- DIFFERENT women and youth groups including students Wednesday took to the streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital to protest against the current crisis rocking the Akwa Ibom state house of assembly in the past few weeks.
They expressed worry that the development was threatening the existing peace and safety of lives and property in the state, warning those fueling the crisis to desist henceforth.
Akwa Ibom women groups drawn from the 31 Local Government Areas clad in black attire on Wednesday morning at about 8:00 am marched through some major streets of Uyo including Udo Udoma Avenue, calling for the restoration of peace as well as law and order in the state.
The women protesters numbering over 500, including wives of Legislators, Commissioners anSpecial wives of local government Chairmen, market women among others were led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Edet, the Women leader of People’s Democratic Party PDP Mrs Mmeme Akpabio and a former Minister of Lands Dr Akon Eyakenyi.
Some of them were carrying placards with inscriptions such as , ‘We Need Peace in Akwa Ibom state’ ; Luke is the authentic Speaker’,’ Kimo Must go’are protesting Police partisanship in the state, calling for redeployment of the newly posted State Police Commissioner, Musa Kimo.
Fielding questions from newsmen in front of the assembly premises Glory Edet said they embarked on the peaceful protest to show their anger and sadness over plan by some people to destabilize the peace in the state.
“We came also to reaffirm our support for Governor Udom Emmanuel because we have made a declaration and on the declaration we stand that governor Emmanuel remain our governor beyond 2019.
“We have taken a decision and no amount of intimidation can move us because we know all they are trying to do is to destabilize Akwa Ibom. We came to urge the governor not to be afraid and that he should not feel intimidated. We are dressed in black to show that we are not happy; that we are sad and unhappy about what is happening”
Addressing the women, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Onofiok Luke described recent events in the House of Assembly as aa threat to the nations democracy and called on security agents to desist from aiding lawless persons from carrying out illegal activities targeted at obstructing the Legislature from carrying out their constitutional duties as well as truncating the existing peace in the state.
Vanguard gathered that Nse Ntuen is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital outside Uyo following the beaten he received during the crisis on Tuesday.
And as the house holds sitting on either Thursday or Friday many in the State are already speculating whether the APC would come for a revenge.
Asked what measures have been put in place to forestall any unforseen circumstances during the sitting, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Kimo said there are policemen positioned at the assembly complex to maintain law, peace and order.
Kimo who spoke to newsmen in his office at the state command headquarters Ikot Akpan Abia day added, “But whenever there is information about impeding threat or crisis, we will deploy our men 500 meters away from there so that in the event of such we will be able to forestall and checkmate such crime, because we have a duty to protect life and property.
“Like I said we are not partisan. We are apolitical. Our duty is to ensure law and order. We have police in the state house of assembly. And if we have information that there would be crisis we will deploy our men, or if we are called that there is crisis of course we have to save lives. But take note, it is not in the place of the police to dabble in political issues, it is only the court that can direct that.
“And we just have to ensure that honourable members go about their businesses without molestation, without intimidation, without hindrance. And how can we be able to do that,? We cannot succeed in doing that from the comfort of our offices. We have to be on the field to ensure that such suspected hoodlums do not find their way into the house. Like yesterday that was what we did, to ensure that hoodlums did not find their way there and perpetrate evil.
“I assure you that we will continue to do our best to ensure that we fight crime here. But we seek cooperation, in that regard, in so many areas including timely information about unscrupulous elements that would want to destroy the peace of Akwa Ibom state. We will try to sustan and improve the peace .We are neutral we are for everybody”
Kimo however described as totally false allegations that he supervised his men who escorted the expelled lawmakers to the house on Tuesday, assuring that the police command under his watch will serve everybody without fear or favour.
“Mind you all the honourable members have policemen attached to them. And it is not peculiar to Akwa Ibom alone. I did not send policemen to the state house of assembly. It is unfortunate that the way and manner politics is being played, but we appeal to everybody, politicians and their supporters to eschew violence, shun thuggery, to promote peace, to be orderly and to do things according to law.
“Apart from the meeting I had with party leaders on Monday where we had fruitful discussion, I wrote a letter yesterday sent it out to members of state house of assembly for a meeting to urge them to always be patient and explore legal options.
“For us the police, for now have no right , we have no directive to prevent A or B from accessing the assembly. It is only the court that can direct a competent court of law. We will be apolitical, we will not be partisan, we will be very, very fair and just. We will be responsible, and reliable and above all we will be professional in the discharge of our duties.
“We will be christ-like in our dealings with members of the public. We will provide level playing ground for everybody. Our doors are open to everybody. We are here to protect lives and property. The police cannot do it alone. We need the cooperation of law abiding , responsible Akwa Ibom people”
Meanwhile, a High Court in Uyo yesterday, November 28, 2018, granted an order of interim injunction restraining Hon. Nse Ntuen from parading himself as the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly pending the determination of motion on notice filed by Ekemini Udim Esq, Counsel to Speaker Onofiok Luke.
The Commissioner for Information and strategy Mr Charles Udoh who disclosed this to newsmen via email added that the ruling by Hon. Justice Ekaete Obot ordered that the injunction be served on Nse Ntuen in person and also be pasted on every conspicuous part of the Assembly complex to forestall breakdown of law by the sacked lawmakers.