By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Akwa Ibom Government has raised the alarm that the threat and strategy by the All Progressive Congress (APC) to cause insecurity in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections was manifesting.
The leaders of APC in the state recently said hoodlums harboured by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) attempted to assassinate the gubernatorial candidate of the Party, Obong Nsima Ekere just as aide to Governor Emmanuel on Electoral Matters, Mr. Mfon Udeme who defected to the APC equally escaped being killed.
The state government’s alarm followed the arrest, detention and plans to move the State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Inibong Essien and the Chairman of Uyo local government area, Mr. Imoh Okon to Abuja on the order of the Inspector General of Police,
The State Commissioner had on September 24, 2018 directed all outdoor advertising companies operating in the state to immediately stop the hoisting and installation of new bill boards across the state which he described as hazardous to members of the public.
Essien is reported to have caused the destruction of the political bill boards of the second term bid of President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Governorship candidate of the APC, Obong Nsima Ekere erected near the popular Akpan Andem market in the state capital.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh who was at the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia to witness plans to move the state government officials to Abuja maintained that the exercise was plot by APC at the centre to weaken the peace being enjoy in the state.
According to him, the approach to politicking by the APC and supported by the federal government was a deliberate plan to stir up violence and insecurity in the state and scare off investors the administration has succeeded in attracting.
He described the forceful arrest of the Commissioner and the Council Chairman to the Force Headquarters as the move to test run the Warsaw threat by one of the APC leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“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 the 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 letter 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, 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.
“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 saw war 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, 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”.
Udoh 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.