By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Tension has heightened in Akwa Ibom State as a Police Special Squad was said to have been dispatched to arrest the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and a candidate for Etinan Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke.
Sources alleged that the Akwa Ibom State Speaker may be arrested on Friday evening to keep him off the Saturday polls. No reason was given for the planned arrest.
“A special squad within the Anti-robbery unit of the state Police Command has been detailed to arrest the Speaker this evening,” a source stated.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the State Police Command is headed by Idorenyin Akpabio, cousin to Senator Godswill Akpabio.
THISDAY gathered that an arrest warrant has already been obtained from the force headquarters in Abuja by “highly placed members of the opposition party in the state” for the arrest with the newly posted police commissioner to the state directed to effect immediate arrest of the Speaker.
Before now several press conferences had been held by the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party and by chieftains of the party to alert members of the public on the plot by Senator Godswill Akpabio to arrest Luke and other key members of the PDP.
The press conferences had also exposed a sinister plot by the leader of the APC in the state to mobilise boys who would be caught with weapons and on interrogations would implicate the Speaker and other key members of the PDP including, the Attorney General, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, Mr. Emmanuel Enoidem, PDP National Legal Adviser and Sen. Bassey Albert Akpan, to aid their arrests. It is also on record that the speaker himself had severally raised the alarm of plots by Senator Akpabio to have him arrested on trumped up charges.
The speaker, in a statement signed by his Press Secretary, Kufre Okon, during the week said “the plan is to ensure that the Speaker does not participate in Saturday’s election in which he is the candidate of the PDP for Etinan Federal Constituency election.”
Senator Akpabio, a former governor of the state and Hon. Luke, had taken indirect swipe at each other in the course of the electioneering in the state.
Akpabio had three weeks ago boasted in Nsit Ubium, Luke’s local government area, of his preparedness to defeat Luke in favour of the candidate of his party.
Luke on his part had alleged that the former governor plans to use the police and the military to intimidate him and his supporters in the coming election.
At a meeting of stakeholders from Uyo Senatorial District on Thursday, he warned that Akpabio should be held responsible for any blood spilled in the election.
“We’re determined that no matter the intimidation and harassment, we will still play the right script which is to maintain peace and protect the rights of all Akwa Ibom people.
“Election is not a do or die affair. If you’re popular, you’ll win election and if you’re not, go back to the house and try again next time. I want to urge the security agents to act in accordance to the law of the land.
“We gave Sen. Godswill Akpabio unwavering support to become the governor of Akwa Ibom State for eight years and now he is using the name of the presidency to embark on illegal arrest.
“If the blood of any Akwa Ibom person is shed, we will hold Senator Godswill Akpabio responsible, we are not coward and we are not intimidated