Senator Theodore Ahamaefule Orji has reacted angrily against a statement credited to fellow Senator and former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio to the effect that Abia State, under Orji, pioneered the commercialisation of kidnappings in Nigeria.
In a statement issued by Orji’s Media Adviser, Don Norman Obinna, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Times, the former Abia governor expressed regret that a personality in the person of Akpabio could cast aspersion against the person of former Governor Orji and Abia State.
The statement read in part: “After patiently waited for days for the Senate Minority Leader and immediate past governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Senator Godswill Akpabio to contritely retract his disparaging statement that Abia State pioneered the commercialisation of kidnappings in Nigeria – being aware of his susceptibility to grandstand – we thereby states the followings:
- “That Akpabio’s dull-witted statement was motivated by guilt and designed to obfuscate his alleged introduction of and involvement in kidnapping for ransom, political opponents when he was elected governor in 2007- accusation prepared in statement by the President and Representatives of Ibibio People’s Union, Inc, Thompson Essien, before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sub-committee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights On “U.S Policy Toward Nigeria-
- “That Akpabio, being aware of his indictment for complicities in kidnapping by the Ibibio People’s Union before the western world, acted defensively and impulsively to avoid being referenced during the debate on Joint Committee Report on Police Affairs, National Security and Intelligence.
- “That the statement was to placate the Ibibio People’s Union Inc and other international monitoring groups who have in their position documented lists of kidnapped victims, including, expatriates, clergies, politicians, children etc, numbering over 102 and seven others including a royal father who escaped being kidnapped, also widely reported by local and international media and human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch during Akpabio’s era.
“Having chronicled just less than ten per cent of all these documented allegations against Sen. Akpabio by Ibibio People’s Union Inc, which were in the public domain also, we therefore find his statement very duplicitous when one considered the fact that while these hostage takings were being perpetrated, Sen. Akpabio’s government never brought anyone to book or took decisive security decision which would have eliminated kidnapping in Akwa-Ibom like Sen. T.A. Orji did, while serving as the then executive Governor of Abia State.
“Action they say speaks louder than voice; little wonder Akpabio preferred to grandstand on menacing issue such as kidnapping by throwing tantrum rather than give positive suggestions with examples drawn from proactive steps he took as governor to curb kidnapping in Akwa-Ibom State.”