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POLICE CHIEF DENIES BRIBE-FOR-TRANSFER TO A'IBOM

By NBF News
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Court reserves verdict on Akpanudoudehe's bail bid

AKWA Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Felix Uyanna, says the rumour making the rounds in the state that Governor Godswill Akpabio paid N500 million to the police authorities to bring him to the state is a blatant lie.

He made the denial while responding to questions during his first interactions with political parties in the state.

Uyanna said his transfer to the state is without any political undertone, adding that he had no knowledge about such amount and that he was transferred together with over five police commissioners.

The Police boss explained that his last duty post was Taraba State, adding that the IG has the right to effect posting in the Police Command at any time he deems necessary. He also noted that he has come to secure peace and order in the state.

'My duty, by law, is to make sure that the people of the state sleep with their two eyes closed', he said.

The police boss, who is barely one week in the state, called on the party chieftains to promote inter- party relationship and shun violence.

During the interaction, the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) chairman in the state, Paul Bassey, told the Police Commissioner that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Dominic Effiong, in Essien Udim has issued a letter asking them not to go there for campaign. According to him, the reason for the denial was to forestall any unforeseen circumstances.

It would be recalled that just last week, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) went to the area for campaign but crisis erupted in which lives and property were lost.

Bassey pleaded with the police authorities to rescind such decision because its timetable for campaigns would be distorted, even as they may not meet up with the campaign dateline by INEC.

Reacting to the complaint, Uyanna promised to look into the matter, reasoning that the decision to stop the rally may have been to avoid further crisis in the state.

He argued that it was better to avoid crisis as much as possible as it may affect even innocent people in the state. Members of the ACN were conspicuously absent at the interaction.

Meanwhile, the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Akwa Ibom State, John James Akpanudoedeh, standing trial for treason and felony following alleged complicity in the violence that led to loss of lives and property last week will have to wait till March 31, 2011, to know his fate on his application for bail.   This followed the decision of the trial judge, Mr. Adamu Bello, of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, to reserve until that date his decision on the bail request filed by Akpanudoedeh after arguments were concluded by prosecution and defence counsel.   Accordingly, the court ordered that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) remains in police custody pending its decision.

In his bid to get the court's nod to go home temporarily, the governorship standard-bearer of ACN briefed a team of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) including Kola Awodehin, Adeniyi Akintola, Rickey Tarfa and Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

However, at the end of their submissions, Mr. Judge Bello dashed their hopes when he said that his court would not give ruling yesterday on the bail as expected by the accused and his legal team.

Arguing on behalf of the client, Awodehin pleaded in vain with the judge to have a change of mind because the liberty of the accused person was at stake. But the judge declined on the reasoning that he had other cases also beginning for attention.

The judge's resolve threw wife of the accused person, Mrs. Julian Akpanudoedeh and sympathisers into tears as the policemen took the gubernatorial candidate away.

It would be recalled that the accused person had since last Friday been in Police custody when the Federal Government first brought the four-count criminal charges against him in Abuja for allegedly causing political mayhem in Akwa Ibom during which four people were killed and over 200 vehicles burnt.

The mayhem was said to have started when supporters of governorship candidate clashed with those of the state Governor Godswill Akpabio.

During the bloody clash, Akpabio's convoy was said to have been shots severally by suspected thugs of the accused person.

Moving a motion for his bail, his legal team insisted that he was not sighted among the mob that caused the mayhem.

Awodehin alleged that the accused was arrested, detained and put on trial to destabilise and keep him out of circulation so that Governor Akpabio will gain upper hand in the April 16, governorship election.

The counsel also alleged that there had been a previous attempt to get at the accused when and alleged phantom case of murder was brought against him to whittle down his popularity.

Besides, the accused was said to be suffering from four major diseases – polyuria, polydypsia, blurred vision and fast blood sugar of 200112MMHG – that required urgent and constant medical attention.

But the prosecution vehemently opposed the bail motion on the ground that the conduct of the accused was a threat to the security of the state and generality of the people.

The prosecution, led by Reuben Ikem, described as baseless insinuations the claim that the accused was arrested for political reasons.