A few days ago, Steven Nelson writing from London, I suppose, reaffirmed one of my earlier writings about the Diasporans who purchase bigger shovels to dig bigger pit toilets in Akwa Ibom even in this era of electronic toilets. This is an analogy. While I am not going to waste my time responding to his, I want to share below my write-up…, sent to Nigerian president on Gov. Akpabio. In a normal society, Gov. Akpabio would be in prison. Whether in office or out of office, that prospect is still very good. Anyone that doubts this should contact convict, Gov. James Ibori whose criminal activities never came close to that of Gov. Akpabio. To have the likes of Steven Nelson who supposedly live in one of the magmas of democracy come out to the street dancing naked is shameful. I wonder if he had ever heard of the name Adolf Hitler who reigned supreme through 1945 in Germany. Like Akpabio, Hitler also built roads, bridges, flyer-overs, how about autobahn (first in the world)? And there again,Akpabio fools the indigenes with what he calls E-Library (first in the world) – a building with, may be, a handful of books at a price tag huge enough to give every Akwa Ibom child free education through university! Only in Nigeria would criminals rule with reckless abandon!!!
Akpabio: accused of tyranny and human right violation.
See below the many reasons Gov. Akpabio should be incarcerated.
His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
State House, Aso Rock
November 16, 2011
TYRANNY AND THE BREEDING OF TERRORISM IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
Dear Mr. President:
On several occasions in the last few years, I have stressed repeatedly the fact that Nigeria is not practicing a true democracy. The only difference from military government is that the players involved in the current charade are mostly civilians with no military uniforms. Prime example of this is Akwa Ibom State which is one of the premier oil producing states in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. It is an established fact that until May 2007 when Gov. Godswill Akpabio became the governor, Akwa Ibom was known as the most peaceful state in Nigeria. No sooner did Akpabio assume power than the state became the killing field, rife with kidnappings and assassinations. This is why tyranny with kleptocracy is the most appropriate description of what is going on in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria presently.
This write-up becomes necessary following the recent revelation that the government of Akwa Ibom State and her paid agents in and outside Nigeria have now branded me and other innocent Akwa Ibomites residing in United States as terrorists. Led by the evil government, effort is also being intensified to shut down Ibom forum and Ibibionation forum, the two main email groups where Akwa Ibomites around the world are not afraid to voice their concerns on the corrupt and repressive nature of GodswillAkpabio. This write-up, takes a snap-shot of the tyrannical government of Gov. Akpabio to show why this writer believes he is neither fit nor deserve to be the governor of Akwa Ibom State.
To make sure he had no opposition for his second term bid and that no one dares to ask him of accountability, Gov. Akpabiofrom the outset devised schemes, from outright bribery, unprecedented election rigging to all kinds of illegality, much like in the days of Gen. Abacha, a military tyrant who wanted to succeed himself. As a result, Akpabio’s political opponents or those perceived to be a threat were either kidnapped, assassinated, or are now living in exile.
The following is just a tiny fraction of the ordeal Akwa Ibomites are facing since Gov. Akpabio assumed power in May 2007. Attached is, by no means exhaustive, a list of those kidnapped, assassinated or jailed during this reign of terror.
1) Repressive Regime:
a) Essien Ewoh and Fresh Facts Newspaper
No sooner did Gov. Akpabio assume the mantle of leadership in Akwa Ibom in May 2007 than he stepped on oppressive and repressive buttons. Barely one month in office, he ordered the arrest of a newspaper vendor, Mr. Essien Ewoh who was thrown into prison for distributing Fresh Facts newspaper that published a story critical of the governor.
The wave of arrests and sedition charges against the media in Akwa Ibom were reported in drove internationally per CPJ – New York publications of June 27, 2007. These were some of the citations by CPJ: “Newspaper Copies Seized in Southern Akwa Ibom State”, on October 17, 2007 “Nigerian Publisher Charged With Sedition Over Story Critical of Governor”; and on January 25, 2008, “Nigerian Newspaper Distributor Arrested, Charged”.
The publisher of Fresh Facts newspaper, Mr. Sam Asowata was arrested in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and “tucked into the trunk/booth of a vehicle, and driven all night to Uyo – a distance of about 500 miles. Mr. Asowata’s young daughter, who happened to have been in her father’s office at the time of the arrest, was also arrested, presumably on the orders of Gov.Akpabio as well.”
b) AKPF – The Terror Network
From his early days in office, Gov. Akpabio began to act like someone who was possessed or a person with mental problem. Unknown to many was the fact that Gov. Akpabio before coming to office had secretly set up a group called AKPF (Akwa Ibom People Forum). Their primary goal was to kill, maim and destroy any potential opponent to the governor. All hell broke loose. Akwa Ibom became the killing field, and the kidnapping and assassination capital of Nigeria. AKPF was only disbanded following pressure by the federal government as a result of so much out-cries by the citizens. But its members continued with their terrorist activities nonetheless.
c) The Man Died – Ordeal of Chief Ononokpono
Chief Ononokpono a sick and frail Octogenarian, had in The Nation newspaper courageously asked Gov. Akpabio some cogent questions about his administration and financial accountability. Rather than respond to those questions, Gov. Akpabioordered the arrest of Chief Ononokpono who was denied bail and “remanded in dehumanizing prison custody from March, 25, 2010 to May, 14, 2010.” Chief Ononokpono’s health condition worsened since then. On December 7, 2010, Chief Ononokpono died.
d) Destruction of AMAKPE Refinery
True to his repressive nature, on Saturday, October 27, 2007, Gov. Akpabio shut down a foundation laying ceremony of AMAKPE refinery project at Eket. Embarrassingly, this happened after dignitaries from around the world including American Embassy, had assembled at the venue. Unmindful of the millions of dollars the principals of AMAKPE, American residents, have sunk into the project. Gov. Akpabio blocked every effort made by the principals to raise funds by threatening the banks and potential investors. He never give a damn about some 1,000 direct and over 5,000 indirect employment the refinery would have generated in a state with over 80% unemployment.
e) Sealing off CRARN at Eket
The Good Samaritan, Sam Itauma, who established CRARN to cater for the abused children at Eket is presently in hiding fromGov. Akpabio’s fang for his dear life. Sam is being hunted down because he had the love and courage to cater for children accused of witchcraft and who have been brutalized, mutilated, abused, and some buried alive. Sam’s efforts attracted worldwide attention including CNN. Gov. Akpabio prefers such atrocities not be mentioned or publicized. This is Sam’s crime for saving these children.
f) Muzzling of the Citizens
In calling for Nigerian President’s intervention, Mr. Ime Mbatessien stated how as a result of the petitions he sent to the Chairmen of EFCC and ICPC dated September 16, 2010 cataloguing the high corruption index of the administration of Gov. Godswill Akpabio, he is being hunted like a common criminal. And to avoid being treated like late Chief Ononokpono or killed, he has resorted to sleeping from hotel to hotel in the capital city of Abuja.
g) Infamous Criminal Bill: Decree 2
Today, we see the return of the Gestapo, perhaps an innovation in democratic dictatorship! What next? It was Gen. Abacha who passed a similar bill in 1995 in order to justify the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni environmentalist. Gov. Akpabiohad, days before the April 2011 gubernatorial election done exactly the same to the chagrin of many around the country. With this decree, Gov. Akpabio arrogated to himself the power to detain his political enemy or opposition as long as it pleases him.
Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN, stated as follows: “By this monstrosity of a Decree 2 of 2011, Akpabio has joined the select group of infamous dictators like Sergeant Doe, Hastings Banda of Malawi, Mugabe, Gbagbo, Papa Doc of Haiti, the late Eyadema of Togo and a host of others who have turned their countries into horrific nightmares for their citizens and residents.”
2) Kleptocracy and Financial Irresponsibility
Just as the late Col. Ghadaffi practiced kleptocracy in Libya so is Gov. Akpabio in Akwa Ibom State. Gov. Akpabio runs Akwa Ibom as an estate rather than a state. In a kleptocracy, “a government is subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service…” The term in Greek means “Rule by thieves”.
a) Gov. Akpabio embarks on grandiose white elephant projects such as the Tropicana Entertainment center whose price tag more than triples a similar size project in Abuja. From the cost/benefit analysis standpoint, there is no justification for dumping over N40 billion (initial cost was put at N33 billion) into the Ibom Tropicana when nearly 90% of the population live under $2 a day. Whereas a similar project in Abuja is said to cost a mere N12 billion and his privately funded by the same contractor, Silver Bird entertainment group that is contracted by Akpabio.
b) How about the N13 billion bribe Gov. Akpabio gave to members of his political party in August 2010 to ensure his re-election in April 2011? How about countless donations of vehicles to friends, cronies, pastors, judges, lawyers, etc? Many contracts are awarded with excess kickbacks. Some contracts are awarded as many times as possible such as the Akwa Ibom Airport where the original contractor, Dyncorp from United States, was kicked out and contract re-awarded at inflated amount. All these monies are taken directly from the public treasury.
3) Ethnic Politics:
Owed to misguided belief that second term ought to be automatic, CAN opposition party’s event in Ikot Ekpene was violently disrupted. This action was followed by a pronouncement by the Annang leaders barring non- Annang candidates from campaigning in the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district. Any discerning leader would have stepped in with alacrity to denounce such actions knowing that ethnic issue is very volatile, much like a minefield. But Gov. Akpabio kept mum in the face of such grievous missteps.
The effect of that pronouncement manifested on March 22, 2011 when Akpanudoedehe, the ACN gubernatorial candidate went to Ikot Ekpene to campaign. His convoy was welcome with “…weapons, bricks, building blocks, sticks, machetes, and AK47 machine guns, etc. The protective escort of the convoy was surrounded in both ends and the stones began to rain on the cars, on the roofs and the windows, smashing cars like fallen trees. Those who tried to escape were gunned down and their heads smashed with five inches, six inches and nine inches blocks with blood and body parts strewn everywhere….”
This was followed by more destructive mayhem at Uyo, the state capital, where many more lives were lost. Gov. Akpabio, consequently, came up with the hasty criminal Decree 2 and trumped-up charges and arrest, after arrest, of Akpanudoedehe, the opposition candidate, without arresting those who started the mayhem at Ikot Ekpene. This action meant to deny Akpanudoedehe his fundamental human right became a hallmark of irrationality expected only from a dictatorial and kleptocraticgovernor like Akpabio.
4) Insecurity: Kidnappings and Assassinations
Unlike Col Ghadaffi, “Gov. Akpabio never came to power through a coup d’tat, that’s an open secret. But for the two to remain in power, violence became the readily available tool used with ease. Criticize and be kidnapped! Criticize and die.”
Dr. Ime Umana, the ACN deputy governor candidate re-affirmed this allegation when he mentioned that: “Mike Ejiofor, then SSS Director in the State openly told Akpabio that he was behind killings and assassinations in the state….”
a) On Sunday, January 31, 2010 while worshipping, a retired army officer, Gen. Edet Akpan was abducted from a sacred House of God and stuffed into the trunk of a car. Imagine the king of kings, the Oku Ibom Ibibio tribe being assassinated after returning from the funeral of a church pastor who was assassinated days before! Imagine countless other assassinated victims such as Madam Philomena Udonwa whose only crime was to have a son with ambition to run for the highest office in the state? The son, Engr. Udonwa only escaped with bullet wounds on May 12, 2010, a day the mother was abducted and later killed by her abductors. Imagine the state of fear and insecurity that dominates the citizens who become afraid of sleeping even in their houses, afraid of going to church, afraid of so many unknowns.
b) Barrister Imo Udonwa was a former member of the State House of Assembly who was slated to be the next PDP (ruling party) chair in the State. He became an active contributor to Ibom forum group-mail and a fierce critic of Gov. Akpabio. As a lawyer, he supported his allegations against the government with certified documents. Consequently, he was gunned down for daring to speak out against evil government.
c) Chief Paul Inyang, a known member of Gov. Akpabio’s political party and was also slated to be the Chair of the ruling party in the State. It was reported that he shifted allegiance to an another governorship candidate, an opposition to Gov.Akpabio. While worshipping in the church on Sunday, June 20, 2010, he was gunned down.
d) Never before in the history of Nigeria has a Paramount Ruler been assassinated. HRH, Edidem James Robert Obot, the Oku Ibom III, the Paramount ruler of Ubium Clan and the leader of the Ibibio ethnic group was assassinated in his Palace on January 30, 2011 for his “anti-establishment” stance.
e) Until her death, Christy-Essien Igbokwe, a reknown entertainer was hounded and persecuted by Akpabio’s government. In a press statement released on June 3, 2011, shortly before her death on June 30, 2011, Christiana Ibokwe Essien wrote:
“I have been called and informed … how Akpabio’s government has continued in the plan of eliminating members of my family through planned kidnapping and deployment of cover-staff whose assignment probably was to poison us…Governor Akpabio must have renewed (though he never ceased) this attack on my family because of my insistence that the evil that is presently in Akwa Ibom must be removed so that the respected peace that existed amongst our people returned.”
f) On December 21, 2010, Miss Faith Udo, a 26-year old student was brutally murdered by one Yusuf Salihu believed to be a member of Governor Akpabio’s killer squad. As in previous cases, immediately after Salihu was arrested, he was summarily released and set free following pressure from the above.
g) On July 16, 2011, Abasiema Sunday Peters, a 23-year old man was shot on both legs by the Gov. Akpabio’s wife security detail. Instead of providing medical treatment, the man was handcuffed and taken to the police station for detention. His only crime was that he did not move off the road fast enough for the governor’s wife motor convoy passing by.
h) A national publication, TELL magazine No. 45 of 15th November 2010 titled it succinctly: “Reign of Terror in Akwa Ibom State”. It described a case in August 2010: The State Vs Dr. Chris Ekong; who was framed-up, arrested, detained and eventually charged to court on phantom murder charges. It quoted Andem E. Ndem, attorney for Dr. Ekong saying, “When the matter (case) came up in court, the Attorney General (AG) did not even want the charge read to the accused Dagogo Minayo, alias Puff Daddy who admitted killing the Ekpenyong brothers in the open court. AG quickly informed the court that he had entered a nolle prosequi (stop prosecution order) in the said charge. Consequently he applied that the charge be struck out.”
“We recall with disgust, a similar case involving one Mr. Nathaniel Uyoh, (accused in the first kidnapping incident during administration of Governor Akpabio). Here, the AG deliberately stayed away from court on several occasions until the court was constrained to strike out the charge for want of diligent prosecution. Today the accused person is moving around freely ingovernment vehicle campaigning for the return of Governor Akpabio in 2011.”
Attorney Andem also states that there are a number of cases like the above involving known state sponsored killer squads walking freely in the street today because the state makes sure they mount pressure or bribe those in judicial and the police to stop prosecution.
i) Prince Ikim and the Killer Squad called Peace House
In January 2011, Attorney U. Frank-Igwe representing Mr. Prince Akpan Ikim filed a petition with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) alerting that Ikim’s life was in danger. Prince Ikim, a former SSS officer, was a known member of Akpabio’s killer squad called Peace House. According to Atty. Frank-Igwe, Peace House is “a conglomeration of the K.K.K Cult members, armed robbers and kidnappers who get financial rewards from the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Obot Akpabio for a job well done…”
After falling out with Gov. Akpabio, Prince Ikim defected from Peace House with the inside secrets. Gov. Akpabio and Peace House members went after him and he ran into hiding in Abuja from where his lawyer petitioned the IGP. Two members of the Peace House, Uyoh Nathaniel and Godswill Friday Nkamiang also mentioned above by Lawyer Andem Ndem, were those paraded by the then commissioner of Police, Mr Mike Zuokumor at the police headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia for kidnapping one Mr. Sassive Khali, a Lebanese Engineer with Stemco Construction Company based in Ikot Ekpene (see Weekly Insight newspaper of Wednesday 25th June Tuesday – 1st July 2008, page 12. Titled IKOT-EKPENE KIDNAP SAGA, KIDNAPPERS IN POLICE NET).
Atty. Frank-Igwe stated, “It is amazing to note with dismay that it was Mr. Don Etim, the Commissioner for Works, that facilitated the release of these celebrated kidnappers using his position in Government’. This re-confirms what Atty. Andem said in (h) above.
A governor is supposed to be a LEAD SERVANT of the people and should be endowed with Responsibility, Objectivity, Open-Mindedness, Flexibility, Inspiration, Respect, Connectedness, etc. On the contrary, Governor Akpabio’s governmentprides itself of lack of accountability, inefficiency, and ineffectiveness just as it is devoid of legitimacy and due process because these can never be expected in a despotic and kleptocratic government.
Gov. Akpabio wastes no time clamping down on his critics as cited above. He has made several attempts in the past to shut down Ibom forum and other fora, even threatening litigations against the Moderators.
In Nigeria, a lot of the journalists are in the payroll of the Akwa Ibom government so that they cannot report any news deemed negative by the government. No news on corruption or incident of kidnapping and assassination is ever reported by the state media and those media on government payroll.
Therefore, the only sources of information the indigenes of the state have access to and can express their feelings are the Ibom forum and Ibibio Nation forum which Gov. Akpabio now directs his attacks. Ironically, most members of his cabinets led by the Commissioner for Information are also members of the forum and periodically get sound advice from this forum. It is also not uncommon for Akpabio’s agents to use the forum to threaten critics of his government.
Ibom forum was first created in 2002 and re-established in 2003 and has continued to serve the people of Akwa Ibom well. Unfortunately, the forces of darkness would love to wish it away. A member writes recently, “His Excellency and his men are now frustrated that the Diaspora critics can neither be contained nor silenced with intimidation and arrests. His attack dogs have been unleashed with instructions to do all that has to be done to rein in those who cannot keep silence in the face of tyranny. Dissenting voices must be gagged. Opposing views must be eliminated…”
Finally, the terrorism experienced in Akwa Ibom today is the handiwork and a hallmark of Gov. Godswill Akpabio. He knows how and when it was introduced to Akwa Ibom State and it is only him who can turn it off.
Dr. Tom Mbeke-Ekanem, REA
Author, Beyond the Execution -
Understanding the Ethnic and Military Politics in Nigeria
Los Angeles, California
Tel: (951) 640-0737