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HURIWA Raises Concerns Over Alleged Manipulation in Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Tribunal

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has expressed deep concerns over disturbing allegations of manipulation in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election tribunal by the University of Uyo (UNIUYO).

HURIWA strongly condemned the alleged acts of desperation by UNIUYO, highlighting that such actions not only undermine democratic processes but also pose a threat to the lives of those seeking justice.

Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, stated in a statement to newsmen that UNIUYO, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof Ndaeyo Nyaudo, reportedly confiscated all files belonging to Mr. Daniel Akpan, the key witness for the petitioner, Senator Bassey Albert. This was allegedly done on the orders of Governor Umo Eno Baseey, one of the defendants in the petition.

Onwubiko pointed out that this alleged act follows a pattern of similar attempts by UNIUYO to tamper with records, citing a previous incident involving former governor Eno Umo Bassey, whose records were reportedly manipulated last year.

Expressing their concerns, HURIWA stated, “Of great concern is UNIUYO’s alleged plan to wipe out all payment records of Mr. Daniel Akpan with the UNIUYO Microfinance Bank. This deliberate attempt to erase Mr. Akpan’s employment history raises serious doubts about the integrity and fairness of the ongoing tribunal proceedings.”

HURIWA revealed that UNIUYO had introduced a manual Excel sheet without Mr. Akpan’s details as the university’s payroll in an attempt to undermine the credibility of the witness. However, the information contained in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) cannot be deleted, as confirmed by reliable sources.

Furthermore, HURIWA alleged that UNIUYO sought the assistance of security personnel, Mr. Nse Okon Udoh, through the Chief Security Officer, to falsely claim Mr. Daniel Akpan’s staff number as his own. Another individual named Ms. Grace Okeke is reportedly being used to lay claim to Mr. Akpan’s IPPIS number. These actions indicate the extent to which UNIUYO is willing to go in order to erase evidence that could implicate the governor of Akwa Ibom State.

HURIWA also recalled their previous intervention concerning the alleged attempted assassination of Senator Bassey Albert, the gubernatorial candidate for the Young Progressives Party (YPP), during a hearing of the governorship election petition. HURIWA strongly condemned this act and called on the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, to take immediate action and hold those responsible accountable.

HURIWA emphasized the need to ensure the safety not only of Senator Bassey but also of star witness Mr. Daniel Akpan and other witnesses involved in the tribunal proceedings. These individuals play a crucial role in providing testimony and evidence, and their lives are at risk.

In light of the concerning events surrounding the alleged manipulation of records by UNIUYO, HURIWA called for urgent action to address the matter promptly and ensure justice is served. They stated that failure to do so could lead to legal action by the group to uphold the rights of the people and protect the integrity of the democratic process.

HURIWA urged the authorities, including the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police, Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, to conduct a thorough investigation into these serious allegations and ensure the perpetrators are held accountable. They stressed the importance of upholding the integrity of the electoral process and protecting the rights of Nigerian citizens.

Onwubiko called upon all Nigerians who value the integrity of the electoral process and the rule of law to stand together in demanding justice and the preservation of democratic ideals. HURIWA reiterated their commitment to advocating for human rights, justice, and the strengthening of democracy, emphasizing the importance of bringing those responsible for these reprehensible actions to justice and protecting the rights of the people.

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Former Akwa Ibom Governor Advocates for Maintenance Culture for National Development

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During the Easter celebrations, Udom Emmanuel, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, emphasized the critical need for Nigerians to develop a culture of maintenance and protection towards public utilities and amenities.

Speaking in his hometown of Awa, in the Onna Local Government Area, Emmanuel highlighted that the path to national development is through the collective prudence and preservation of public resources and heritage.

In a message delivered at a Thanksgiving Service held at the United Evangelical Church in Awa, the former governor pointed out that public facilities are established for the welfare of the citizenry, warranting their protection against acts of vandalism.

Emmanuel’s call to action comes amidst observations of rising vandalism and theft of public properties, including electricity transformers and their components, within the state.

Lamenting the negative impact of such actions on community welfare and development, Emmanuel urged the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigerians at large to embody the virtues of unity, eschewing ethnic biases and sentiments detrimental to progress.

He underscored the importance of community vigilance and the establishment of protective mechanisms to safeguard government installations and public utilities.

Emphasizing the spiritual significance of the Easter season, Emmanuel prayed for blessings upon the people and encouraged living in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

He commended the efforts of the current governor, Umo Eno, in prioritizing the welfare of the people and reiterated the essential role of individual and communal responsibility in fostering a conducive environment for development.

The call to cultivate a maintenance culture underscores a broader vision for sustainable development and the effective utilization of public resources, pivotal for the progress and well-being of the nation.

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Governor Umo Eno Inaugurates Board for Akwa Ibom Bulk Purchasing Agency

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Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has inaugurated the Board of the State’s Bulk Purchasing Agency, charging its members to uphold transparency and accountability in line with its operational blueprint.

The newly constituted Board is chaired by Dan Akpan, with Unyime Etim serving as the General Manager/Secretary. It also includes commissioners from the Ministries of Economic Development, Agriculture, Justice, and Internal Security, as well as representatives from various sectors such as ALGON, economic advisory, market matters, the Chamber of Commerce, and Labour.

During the inauguration ceremony held at the State Executive Council Chamber, Governor Eno reiterated the importance of the Bulk Purchasing Agency in providing essential food items to the needy and vulnerable in the state, particularly amid challenging economic conditions nationwide. He commended the State House of Assembly for swiftly passing the Bulk Purchase Agency Bill, emphasizing the legislative support received for the initiative.

Governor Eno charged the Board members to collaborate closely with relevant ministries and stakeholders to ensure the effective administration of the food voucher programme. He stressed the need for accountability, urging the committee to be prepared for audits to maintain transparency in their operations.

The ARISE Food Security Programme, which is set to be launched next week, aims to address the soaring prices of staple food items by providing free food vouchers to the most vulnerable individuals identified through the social register. Governor Eno reiterated the government’s commitment to administering the programme based on the updated social register to ensure fairness and transparency.

While acknowledging the temporary nature of the food intervention programme, Governor Eno emphasized the importance of returning to agricultural practices for long-term food security. He assured the commencement of the government’s seedlings distribution programme through the Ministry of Agriculture to support farmers in the state.

Overall, the newly inaugurated Bulk Purchasing Agency is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the prompt delivery of food items to the people of Akwa Ibom State, underscoring the government’s commitment to addressing food insecurity and supporting vulnerable populations in the state.

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PDP Demands Senate President Akpabio’s Resignation Amid Allegations of Budget Padding, N108bn Akwa Ibom Fund

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Godswill Akpabio

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the immediate resignation of Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, amidst allegations of budget padding and corruption.

The party demanded an independent investigation into the claim that a whopping N3.7 trillion was clandestinely inserted into the 2024 budget for purported non-existent projects.

In a statement issued by Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, the opposition party also urged Akpabio to report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) regarding a pending case involving the alleged looting of N108 billion from the coffers of Akwa Ibom State during his tenure as governor.

Furthermore, the PDP insisted that Akpabio should address allegations of an N86 billion contract scam that reportedly occurred during his tenure as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, particularly within the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The PDP strongly criticized the suspension of Senator Abdul Ningi by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership in the Senate, labeling it as an attempt to stifle investigation into the budget padding issue raised by Ningi. The party denounced the suspension as a desperate move to conceal facts and suppress accountability.

Expressing concern over the refusal of the APC Senate leadership to initiate a transparent investigation, the PDP questioned the motives behind avoiding a thorough inquiry into the matter. The party also raised eyebrows at Akpabio’s involvement in presiding over the suspension proceedings, which it deemed as detrimental to the Senate’s integrity.

The PDP emphasized that the gravity of the allegations against Akpabio warrants his immediate resignation to facilitate an impartial investigation. The party reiterated its support for Senator Ningi’s quest for transparency and accountability in the polity.

In conclusion, the PDP urged Akpabio to step aside and allow for an independent probe into the budget padding allegations, while also calling on him to address the corruption allegations leveled against him.

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