Akwa Ibom State deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, was among stakeholders and government officials attacked by suspected hired thugs yesterday during defection of the All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Essien Udim, home of former Governor Godswill Akpabio to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The event held at the Unity Hall of the Essien Udim Local Government Council Secretariat, witnessed massive support for Governor Udom Emmanuel by former and serving ward executive council members of the APC, including Prince Ukpong Akpabio, the younger brother and former aide of the immediate past Senate Minority Leader, as well as Chief Michael Afangideh, Akpabio’s political godfather.
This ceremony was, however, disrupted when thugs suspected to be supporters of Senator Godswill Akpabio, stormed the venue and unleashed terror on the people, including the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Ekpo and Ufot Ebong, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process.
The thugs said to have arrived the venue of the ceremony in several buses attacked the people at the hall when the Deputy Governor was receiving the APC decampees on behalf of the governor.
The attack sent people scampering for safety, but for the swift intervention of armed security agents attached to the deputy governor and other state government officials who prevented the people from being killed.
The state Commissioner for Investment, Commerce and Industry, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, who spoke to newsmen after the incident, thanked God for the prompt response of the police to arrest the situation.
Prince Akpabio said he was happy that the PDP supporters and youths at the event did not attempt to take laws into their hands, as it would have resulted to undesirable consequences.
The miscreants, who inflicted injuries on some of the supporters, and damaged some vehicles at the venue, allegedly escaped and jumped into a nearby river at Afaha Ikot Ebak.
A Honda Accord car said to belong to the PDP chapter Chairman in Essien Udim, Hon. Ntiedo Usoro was vandalised by the thugs, who also destroyed some cars and motorcycle belonging to the APC members who defected to the PDP.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters, Elder Ufot Ebong, condemned the violent attack by the thugs at a mere political meeting.
“I have never seen anything like this; they stormed the area fully armed and made bonfires on the road and attempted to barricade the road in attempt to shut us inside for them to kill us.” i=This is very horrible and I am worried about this development,” Ebong told reporters.
According to him, few minutes to the commencement of the event, some of the APC defectors had raised the alarm that many of their members who had concluded plans to join the PDP at the Unity Hall to show their solidarity for Governor Emmanuel were held hostage at a location by the thugs.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, urged the people of the community to remain peaceful and always welcome government initiatives in the area.
He enjoined them to guard their PVCs jealously and be ready to use it to votes for PDP candidates in the 2019 general elections.