Nse Ntuen, a lawmaker who leads a five-member faction at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, has been admitted in hospital for injuries sustained during a violent clash at the assembly on Tuesday.
Mr Ntuen (Essien Udim State Constituency), and four other lawmakers formed a faction after they were all sacked under controversial circumstances from the assembly, for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The other four lawmakers are Gabriel Toby (Etim Ekpo/Ika); Otobong Ndem (Mkpat Enin); Victor Udofia (Ikono); and Idongesit Ituen (Itu).
On Tuesday morning, the five had occupied the assembly chambers to hold their ‘sitting’, before they were violently chased away from the premises when the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, arrived with a number of security officials and youth loyal to the state government and the PDP.
The speaker, Onofiok Luke, later took control of the House and went on to preside over the day’s proceedings.
Hours after the incident, photos showing Mr Ntuen on a hospital bed began flying around Facebook and WhatsApp groups.
One of the photos showed a blood-stained cloth on a floor near Mr Ntuen’s bed.
A spokesperson for Mr Ntuen, Amanam Hilary, told PREMIUM TIMES, the cloth was that of the lawmaker.
“He was injured during the invasion of the House, when the governor came with some thugs and security officials,” Mr Hilary told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday.
“He was attacked with dangerous weapons, some of those guys came in with guns, machetes, sticks, and irons.”
Mr Hilary said the lawmaker sustained “serious injuries” on his left hand and on the abdomen.
He said Mr Ntuen would be able to identify fellow lawmakers and other state government officials whom he said attacked him, alongside some “thugs”.
Mr Hilary narrated what happened on the day of the incident.
“I was with him at the assembly complex when the invasion took place.
“After plenary, we got information that the governor was coming to the complex, and out of respect for the office of the governor, he (Mr Ntuen) came out with other members of the House to receive the governor.
“Unknown to us, the governor came in with Senator Bassey Albert, he came in with the commissioner for special duties, commissioner for works, Ephraim Inyang. The special assistant to the governor on youth matters, Mr Iwadudofia, and the special assistant to the governor on security matters, Mr Fubara, were also there with the governor.
“Nse Ntuen was attacked in front of the governor.
“The state director of SSS was also there with the governor at the House of assembly.”
Mr Hilary said he could not tell when the lawmaker would leave the hospital.
Kufre Okon, the spokesperson for the speaker, Mr Luke, was also allegedly assaulted on the day of the incident, ironically by people from Mr Ntuen’s faction.
“When they (Mr Ntuen and the other four lawmakers) came they drove people out, but I refused to move. I was like ‘ah, what’s happening’. I pulled out my phone and took the first shot and was about taking another shot when Idongesit Ituen saw me and shouted ‘yes, that is the guy! That is the guy! Immediately he said it, thugs who were with him, I am calling them thugs because they were unknown faces, they started slapping me,” Mr Okon told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Okon said apart from Mr Ituen, Mr Udofia (Ikono State Constituency) also joined the “thugs” in assaulting him.
His cell phone, he said, was taken away, while he was being beaten.
Meanwhile, a high court in Uyo has issued an interim order, restraining Mr Ntuen from parading himself as the speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The judge, F. F. Obot, gave the order on Wednesday, following a motion ex-parte filed Ekemini Udim, counsel to the speaker, Mr Luke, and the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The court adjourned the case to December 7 for the hearing of the motion on notice.
The crisis in the state assembly has deepened tension between the APC and the PDP in the state.
It has also pitched Governor Emmanuel against the Commissioner of Police, Musa Kimo, accused by the governor of taking side with the sacked lawmakers and the APC.