The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, has given an insight into what transpired at the police headquarters, Abuja, when he and members of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s campaign team were invited last week for questioning by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Mr Luke and others, including a former military governor of the state, Idongesit Nkanga, were invited over a petition from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, accusing officials of both the Akwa Ibom 5state Government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of violent attacks against members of the opposition party in the state.
The APC, in the petition, is said to have also alleged that the state officials and some PDP leaders in the state prevented the hoisting of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign billboard in Uyo.
“On getting to the IGP’s office, I was confronted with a petition written by the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, addressed to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and minuted by the president himself for investigation by the Inspector General of Police,” Mr Luke said, while briefing journalists on Tuesday at the House of Assembly.
A transcript of the briefing was emailed to PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday, by the spokesperson to the speaker, Kufre Okon.
PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately independently verify the details of the meeting as released in the briefing
However, Mr Luke told reporters the police invitation had to do partly with controversy over campaign billboards.
On the allegation of violence against the opposition, Mr Luke said, “They lied and said I was on a campaign trail threatening that I was not going to allow a candidate of the opposition party in the state to campaign freely and openly.
“And I said they should come out with evidence and facts concerning where I ever made such statements. They had none.”
The speaker said he and the others wrote their statement to the police.
“At the point of the interview, we stated one thing very clearly in the presence of the APC chairman in the state and which is one of the things I want to state clearly again here today.
“We stated that in Akwa Ibom state, we are law abiding citizens of Nigeria and no one can use the office of the president under the guise of politics to intimidate us; not even the state security agency.”
The speaker taunted Mr Buhari for the “speed” he said the president endorsed and forwarded the petition to the inspector general of police.
“Very importantly, the speed with which that petition was minuted by the presidency to the IGP to be treated, if this same speed could be employed in other areas of need, we would not be having security challenges in this country again.
“I wish such speed could be employed, we would have had the cleanup of Ogoni by now. If this speed were employed in the award of contract for the dualisation of Calabar-Itu Road with a spur from Idideb, by now we would have been driving on that dual carriageway.
“So let that speed with which the presidency minuted that frivolous petition with trumped-up charges and allegations be applied in areas such as poverty which we have in Nigeria.
“We respect the president, we respect his office. His office should therefore not be used as the office of the intimidator-in-chief. It is the office of the commander-in-chief and within the ambit of the law, I say it clearly and I said it at the force headquarters, as law-abiding citizens, we will use every legal means to resist every attempt to cow or intimidate the Peoples Democratic Party and its supporters in Akwa Ibom.
“If the opposition party feels they are popular, let them come back to the state and campaign,” the speaker challenged.