I'M NOT A KIDNAPPER â€“ GOV AKPABIO
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio has said it is 'idiotic' for anyone to link him with kidnapping in the state just to score cheap political points.
He said as the chief security officer of the state, it was unimaginable that he would create insecurity in the same state he had labored to transform. .
The governor made these assertions while answering questions from journalists in Abuja at the weekend. According to him 'It is idiotic for anybody who has been a victim of kidnapping to turn round and associate it with the name of the governor. It is a very great insult.
'I have never been associated with kidnapping. I am waging a serious war against kidnapping and kidnappers. I was the first governor to sign the law which prescribes death penalty for kidnappers even though there was protest that the United Nations does not support death penalty but I reminded them that the United States of America also subscribes to capital punishment. I always challenge those who make these false assertions to show us the evidence of where a governor would be involved in kidnapping and nobody has shown me.
'Which governor will bring in first class construction companies with so many expatriates and is approaching development with anger and build so many roads for the people and is transforming the state and the same person will turn round and kidnap the women, children and men and ask for ransom,' he asked rhetorically.
Governor Akpabio also denied insinuations in some quarters about his association with cultism. 'Here is somebody who has never belonged to any cult in his life. At what stage did I become a cultist? Was it when I worked as a Lawyer or when I became the managing director of a telecommunications company
'Did I become a cultist when I served as a commissioner in the state for over five and a half years? I was not a cultist then but suddenly became a cultists because I defeated 57 people to become a governor and then I am performing,' he asked.
According to the governor the kidnap incidents that Akwa Ibom State had witnessed had some political undertones in terms of sponsorship. He recalled that in February he had raised an alarm over a security report he got that one of his major opponents had held a meeting in which they had resolved that since his administration could not be faulted on performance, they could only create a state of insecurity which would lead to the declaration of a state of emergency.
Governor Akpabio also cited another instance that the same political opponent had held series of meetings and declared that he was going to make him 'the Mbadinuju' of South-south. He recalled that the reference to the former governor of Anambra State ,who was denied a second term was when his opponents infiltrated the Bakassi Boys vigilance group and unleashed violence in the state, including the murder of the former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and his pregnant wife.
The governor recounted with grief the incident in which the mother of a would-be political aspirant in diaspora was abducted and later murdered and also the murder of one of his supporters, Chief Paul Inyang. He advised politicians in the state to eschew violence. 'My advice is that we should play politics of issues. We should not play politics with human lives because there is an ultimate Judge. God is watching us,' he said.
The governor also shed some light on what transpired between him and another gubernatorial aspirant of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), Group Captain Sam Ewang whose wife was also recently released from captivity by kidnappers. The Governor revealed he was saddened by the incident and immediately initiated a meeting with Ewang in the house of Air Marshall Nsikak Eduok where he advised Ewang to cooperate with the security agencies to secure the release of his wife.
According to him there was a deliberate attempt to aggravate insecurity in the state and link him to kidnapping for political reasons. 'There have been deliberate conspiracy against the administration and attempts by certain politicians to tarnish the image of the Governor and frame me for all sorts of things. I believe strongly that people should challenge me on performance not to sponsor insecurity or the kidnap of themselves and their relatives and turn round to say it is Governor Akpabio,' he said.
The Akwa Ibom State helmsman disclosed that the state police command had apprehended many suspected kidnappers who would soon be charged to court for justice to take its course.
He said despite the incidents of kidnapping, Akwa Ibom State remained a safe state in the Niger Delta. 'I want to assure you that despite the security challenges that we have had, Akwa Ibom State remains the safest in the the security ranking within the Niger Delta region. I assure you that working with security agencies, we are going to make sure that kidnappers are flushed out. The Governor also called on citizens across the country to work with government to ensure the country was rid of the menace of kidnapping and other violent crimes.