The Return Of Terror And Political Assassination In Akwa Ibom State; Some Questions Aniekan Umana Must Answer

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Press Statement by Chief Ita Awak, Director of Research and Publicity of Umana Okon Umana’s Political Network, in reaction to Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Aniekan Umanah’s, statements on the attempted assassination of Obong Soni Udom.

Gentlemen of the Press,
“The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny…In any people that submit willingly to the ‘daily humiliation of fear,’ the man dies.”- Wole Soyinka
As you may recall, a group of five heavily armed young men forced their way into the office of Obong Soni Udom in Uyo at about 2.35pm on Tuesday 6th May, 2014. Obong Soni Udom, as you know, is the Director General of UOU Political Network.
We address this Press Conference today in reaction to statements credited to the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, in which he tried to exculpate the State Government from any involvement and responsibility in the attempt to cold bloodedly terminate the life of Obong Soni Udom. We find it particularly worrisome that while the State Security Service is still investigating the matter, the Government of Akwa Ibom State, through its spokesperson, presumptuously declared that the armed men that forced their way into Obong Soni Udom’s office on Tuesday, 6th May, 2014 were “armed robbers” and not hired assassins.
It does appear to us in UOU Political Network that Mr. Aniekan Umanah knows a lot more than he is telling the public on this troubling subject. Against this background, and particularly since the Honourable Commissioner claims that the five gangsters paraded by the Security Service were “armed robbers”, we want him to explain some of the very disturbing inconsistencies relating to the matter that we did discover.
(A). The five arrested gun-men are from Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue States. Answering some of the questions that a few of us who accompanied Obong Soni Udom and his staff to see and identify the gangsters at the SSS office in Uyo asked them, the gangsters told us that they all took different routes and left Uyo after their invasion of Obong Soni Udom’s office. They also disclosed that they were all arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, a couple of days after their operation in Uyo.
The gangsters further revealed that they were recruited in Port Harcourt by a link man named “Anas” for “a special job” in Uyo. According to them, this was their first time in Akwa Ibom State in general and Uyo in particular. They disclosed that their recruiter, “Anas,” is the one that located their target; and on the eventful day, “Anas” hired two tricycles and took them to Obong Soni Udom’s office for their operation.
As you journalists widely reported, at the government sponsored and organized Town Hall meeting of Abak Federal Constituency on Thursday, March 20, 2014, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police told Governor Godswill Akpabio and the whole world that he had intelligence that some highly placed officials of government and aides of the Governor were raising kidnappers and armed robbers and buying tricycles and cars for them so that these hoodlums may be used to force the good people of Akwa Ibom State to accept the preferences of their sponsors in the 2015 elections.
Poser 1: Knowing that “Anas” hired the armed gang and brought them to Uyo, can it be that this fellow is one of the highly placed officials that the retired DIG of Police referred to at the Abak Town Hall meeting? It is important that we get to know the true identity of “Anas” as this is the only way we can get to know the chief reason why he hired the 5-man killer gang and brought them to Uyo.
Poser 2: We will like the Honorable Commissioner, Mr. Aniekan Umana, to tell the world upon whose or what authority he is relying on to declare that the imported gangsters that invaded Obong Soni Udom’s office were “armed robbers” as neither the SSS nor the Police has concluded investigation on the matter. There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that Mr. Aniekan Umana’s conclusion is premature. We will like to respectfully remind the Honorable Commissioner that it is only a properly constituted court that has the powers and authority to make the kind of pronouncement he is credited with.
Poser 3: In any event, we shall appreciate the government spokesman to explain to the world how an armed gang of five Hausa-speaking and cash-hungry robbers would come to Uyo from Nassarawa, Plateau and Benue states with the sole mission of robbing for raw cash in broad daylight, ignore and bypass all the commercial banks in town, the active and lucrative supermarkets that dot the Uyo metropolis, the unprotected petrol stations and other various business places where there are heavy cash transactions only to stray into the obscure office premises of an Estate Valuation firm. It must be stressed that the owner of this company, Obong Soni Udom, was only two weeks ago sacked by government from his tenured appointment as Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Property and Investment Company, APICO, because of his headship of UOU’s Political Network.
Poser 4: If the invaders were indeed armed robbers as Mr Aniekan Umana wants the world to believe, we think he should explain why when the hoodlums got to Obong Udom’s office, they did not ask for the cash-officer or the company safe. We find it very instructive that they repeatedly asked the staff “where is your Oga?” and when they did not find “Oga,” they went about breaking locked doors in search of him.
Also important to note is that the armed men seized phones from the staff in the effort to prevent the staff from calling for outside assistance. However, all the phones were returned at the end of the operation. It would be stretching credulity to the limits to describe this as an armed robbery scenario.
B.  The State Security Service in Akwa Ibom State proudly paraded before journalists five young men who “owned up” as the armed gang that invaded Obong Soni Udom’s office. However, Obong Udom’s staff that were invited to the SSS office in Uyo could positively identify only two of them. But one fundamental and disturbing finding we made was that during the armed operation in Obong Udom’s office, one of the hoodlums got shot, severing off his thumb. A picture of this cut-off and bloodied thumb that the felon left in Obong Udom’s office was shown to journalists at a Press Conference Obong Soni Udom addressed on Wednesday, 7th May 2014.
Poser 5: One of the gangsters the SSS paraded as the “armed robbers” who went to Obong Udom’s office had white bandage tied around one of his fingers. This fellow claimed that he lost his finger during the operation in Obong Udom’s office. We want to know how Mr. Aniekan Umana persuaded himself that the paraded fellow with the bandaged finger is the same person who lost a finger during the invasion of Obong Soni Udom’s office when no forensic test has been conducted. The cut thumb is still in Obong Udom’s possession!
Gentlemen of the Press, it is instructive that in the 27- year history of Akwa Ibom State, we have recorded more politically motivated violence and pervading sense of terror and insecurity between the period 2007 and now. I recall that I was the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information during Obong Victor Attah’s re-election campaign in 2003. A couple of distinguished Akwa Ibom sons such as Ambassador Etim Jack Okpoyo from Eket Senatorial District and Bishop (Dr.) Austin Caleb from Etinan in Uyo Senatorial District contested against him. Never did the State record any incidence of terrorism or politically related kidnappings or killings. Never did I have the inglorious task of denying that the government was involved in the devilish attempt to murder Akwa Ibom citizens. Akwa Ibom people had no reason to suspect Obong Victor Attah’s government of involvement in any crime; and when there was any crime, it was always the business of the Police to explain such matters.
In 2006/2007, Dr. Udoma Bob Ekarika, the then Commissioner for Works and Housing, was one of the frontline gubernatorial contestants. He is the husband to Obong Victor Attah’s only daughter. Under Governor Attah’s watch, his son-in-law, Dr. Udoma Ekarika, contested the 2006/2007 PDP governorship primaries with 57 other contestants from all the three senatorial districts of the state. None of the contestants nor their supporters were intimidated, assaulted or murdered in order to discourage them from contesting the primaries. Obong Victor Attah did not go into any Local Government or Federal Constituency or Senatorial District to insult, intimidate or virulently incite the natives against those who were opposed to his son-in-law.
But very unfortunately, the peace and unity and brotherhood that reigned amongst politicians who were contesting against themselves during the Obong Victor Attah’s era disappeared. Overnight, we started seeing the petals of flower on the field of Akwa Ibom gubernatorial politics drip with the blood of innocent Akwa Ibom people mowed down by the guns of civilian tyranny and intolerance. How did our peaceful Akwa Ibom State suddenly become a theatre of violence, kidnappings and politically motivated murders?
Again, it is very pertinent that we ask the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Aniekan Umana, why the pervading atmosphere of insecurity, kidnappings, terrorising of political opponents and politically motivated assassinations promptly ceased immediately after May 29, 2011. We shall also appreciate his explanations to Akwa Ibom people and the world as to why there is a return to terrorism, general insecurity, attempted assassination and gruesome murder of perceived political opponents especially now that there is a groundswell of stiff opposition across the three senatorial districts and the ten federal constituencies of the state against any imposition of any candidate.
These are the questions Mr. Aniekan Umanah, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication must answer!
Gentlemen of the Press, we believe that investigation into this matter is currently ongoing. It definitely cannot be otherwise because:
1. The SSS is yet to produce “Mr. Anas.” It cannot be over emphasized that the summary apprehension of “Anas” is critical in the just resolution of this matter as he is the only one that can disclose why and on whose behalf he went into the trouble of hiring armed gangsters from Nassarawa, Plateau and Benue States, persons who supposedly did not know him, for an assassination operation in Uyo.
2. Forensic tests have not been done to establish a link between the severed finger with any of the arrested armed men.
3. It is essentially for these reasons that we assert that it is very premature for the Honourable Commissioner for Information, Mr Aniekan Umana to have declared that those who invaded Obong Soni Udom’s office were armed robbers.
4. Finally, regardless of the hasty and premature conclusions of the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication on this matter, we urge the SSS and the Police to be very thorough in their investigation of this matter. We further appeal that at the conclusion of their investigation, ALL the suspects should be properly charged to court.
Thank you.
Chief Ita Awak.
Director of Research & Publicity
Umana Okon Umana Political Network

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