The factional gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Cross River State, Senator John Owan-Enoh and his party have been accused of unleashing violence on peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in the state.
The Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, Director General of the PDP campaign Organization, Mr. Effiok Cobham PDP Cross River Central Senatorial District candidate, Prof. Sandy Onor and other PDP stalwarts made the accusation when they paid a sympathy visit to two of their supporters who are receiving treatment at a private hospital in Calabar after being attacked by thugs suspected to be loyalists of the APC candidate in Calabar, yesterday.
Ayade who said that he was not desperate to return as the governor in the March 2, gubernatorial election described the act as inhuman, barbaric and called on the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetuators of the devilish act are brought to book.
In his words: “Cross River State is a state that is known for peace, it is a State that is known for good ambience, clean, green and warm people,” stressing that, “Never in the history of Cross River State have we witnessed the orgy of violence that has befallen the State the way it has in the last one week.”
The Governor recalled that, “Few months ago the factional Governorship candidate of the APC, Senator John Owan-Enoh went on campaign in Obudu, there was loss of life. He moved on to Boki recently, yet again one of our strong political stalwarts in Boki; had father-in-law who lives kicked, matcheted and killed. The body is still in the mortuary.”
He further disclosed that, “Just few days ago in Etomi, Etung Local Government Area, the ward secretary of PDP was again matcheted in a very unholy and ugly manner. His was completely cracked and broken by the supporters of Senator John Owan Enoh’s supporters.
Ayade who said violence is Mr. Owan-Enoh’s signature, called on the federal government to intervene as security reports concerning him were not pleasing, explaining that, “It is sad also that he is boasting that those people who have been arrested with live ammunitions, will be freed and he will ensure that he releases them. I therefore call on the Inspector General of Police, the entire Armed Forces of Nigeria to put an eye on Cross River State.”
“The level of arm build up by this man is too much and there have been several security reports that he is sewing army and police uniforms. There are reports that he is bringing arms from Cameroon. There are reports that he is cutting down the forest reserves of Cross River State, doing illegal logging and exporting woods, nothing has happened; the killing so far, nothing has happened and therefore he has the arrogance and protestant masculinity to assert that he will release all his boys that have been arrested.
The Governor who disclosed that the state government has sought redress in court, sued for calm from residents and warned his supporters to desist from any form of retaliation as it was the duty of the police to handle such matters.
On the measures put in place to stem the violence during and after the electioneering period, the governor said, “I am asking the Commissioner of Police, you must stop and search the convoy to ensure that nobody other than the official people who are authorized to bear arms which are the police or the DSS or indeed civil defense bear arms. Anybody in the Governor’s convoy or the candidate’s convoy that is carrying arm that is not authorized is a criminal and must be treated as one. So, I now hereby as the Chief Security officer of the state, order the continuous and immediate search of all political convoys because the level of arm buildup from the Cameroon is too huge and we must check it urgently before it become unbearable.”
Continuing he said, “The Amazonian conflict has also brought in a lot of arms into Cross River State. This is not what we are known for and suddenly this John Owan-Enoh has brought in this orgy of violence that has not been part of Cross River State. It saddens my heart to go to the hospital and visit supporters with almost half limbs, half arms for nothing. I think this is not the kind of democracy that we should have twenty years from 1999 and we are going back to those primitive days. I think Mr. President; it is your responsibility as the President of this federal republic to bring this desperate man to book.”
Director General of Ben Ayade Campaign Organization, Mr. Effiok Cobham who described the act as inhuman and totally condemnable, called on the federal government to check the rate of violence recently unleashed by the APC candidate on the supporters of their party with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
Narrating his ordeal, one of the victims and a farmer who had earlier accompanied owan Enoh’s Kinsmen to endorse Ayade for a second term in office, Mr. Joseph Ikpe said,”when I came to Etomi, I met a group of boys chanting APC and urged me to respond and I told them that I don’t know what the response is. In fact, I disagreed and they insisted. At first, I thought it was the PDP group who want me to reaffirm what I said in Calabar when we visited Government House to endorse the governor but when they came closer, I discovered that they were APC people. When I refused to denounce my membership of governor Ayade’s camp, they started butchering me all over which led me to being hospitalized.”
Another victim who is also the PDP ward secretary of Etomi Ward, Mr. Amba Achima on his part also said he was compel to chant the APC slogan which he declined as he was not sympathetic to the party.
According to him, “This made my attackers to bounce on me using matchets to cut my head leaving me in this state you found me now. Please help beef up security in Etung if we must be alive to witness the forthcoming elections.”