FREEPRESS – COALITION of South South Youths for Good Governance (CSSYGG) have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that his anti-corruption war is not jeopardized by sacking the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio due to his alleged track records in corrupt practices and wanton murder when he was governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The group in a petition sent to the Presidency, signed by Barr.Obot Michael and six others, it recalled that the Minister who was petitioned before the United States Congress in 2012, over alleged corrupt practices, kidnappings and killings which affected 93 persons in Akwa Ibom, majority of them from the Ibibio clan, lacks the morals to continue to remain as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
The statement recalled that in 2012, the President of the Ibibio Peoples Union (IPU), Thompson Esien, before the United States House of Representatives Committee of Foreign Affairs, lamented the increased incidents of murder and kidnapping for ransom immediately Akpabio became governor in 2007, noting that majority of the victims were political opponents of the former governor.
“During that period of reign of terror perpetrated by Akpabio, to demonstrate his tenacity in seeking out those who opposed his tyranny, he attempted to persecute Nigerian-Americans residing in the US who decried his reported involvement in killings in Akwa Ibom state. He sought frivolous injunctions in America judicial system to curtail freedom of speech of his perceived enemies who vocalize his misdeeds at internet forums.
“Given these atriocious murders, the fact of the governor’s kleptocracy with the states resources appears a more merciful behavior. Mr Esien in his petition regretted that despite all the atrocities committed the Federal Government has not acted to intervene in this dire situation despite pleas of victims. The Federal Government’s non reaction underscores the fact that the Niger Delta as a minority region is viewed as important only to the degree in which its natural resources can be exploited”.
Enumerating some of the atrocities committed by the current Minister of Niger Delta, while he was governor of Akwa Ibom State, Esien’s petition stated: “ Barely one month after assumption of office in 2007, Akpabio ordered the arrest and incarceration of a newspaper vendor Mr Essien Ewoh for distributing a newspaper publication, Fresh facts , that criticized the governor.
“The Publisher of Fresh facts newspaper, Mr Sam Asowata was arrested in Abuja, tossed into the truck of a vehicle and driven all night to Akwa Ibom. Mr Asowata’s young daughter who hapopened to have been in her father’s office at the time of the arrest was also arrested on the orders of Governor Akpabio.
“Upon assumption of office, the governor reportedly created a secret militia group called Akwa Ibom Peoples Forum (AKPF) that kidnapped, terrorized and killed perceived political opponents of the governor. When one Chief Ononokpono queried gthe governor as regards the financial accountability of his administration, Akpabio ordered his arrest and the octogenarian was remanded in prison and later died on December 7, 2010.
“On July 16, one Abasiema Sunday Peters, a 23-year-old man was shot on both legs by security detail of governor Akabio’s wife. Rather than administer 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 motorcade as it drove by.
“On December 21, 2010, one miss Faith Udo, a 26-year-old student was brutally murdered by one Yusuf Salihu believed to be a member of former governor Akpabio’s killer squad. As in previous cases, immediately after Salihu was arrested he was summarily released and then freed without criminal investigation or prosecution”.
The statement by CSSYGG, therefore appealed to President Buhari to “investigate the atrocities committed by Akabio as governor of Akwa Ibom state because from his records, he has the capacity to utilize his position as Minister of Niger Delta which is a strategic Ministry to breed militants and engage in activities capable of derailing the progress of the Niger Delta as he recently demonstrated through the setting up of an illegal committee to oversee the affairs of the NDDC which is constitutionally not in his purview”.