Former presidential adviser on legislative matters and two-time, Senator, Ms Florence Ita-Giwa, has raised an alarm over threatening text messages from the Cross Rivers State governor, Prof. Ben. Ayade to her, following her recent defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and her recent alarm over the diversion of relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Bakassi Local Government Area of the state donated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
This is even as she denounces those who recently demonstrated against her leadership of the Bakassi people, accusing her of being behind the diversion of the materials, an allegation which she denied.
Speaking with journalists in Lagos, Ms Ita-Giwa accused Governor Ayade of being threatened by her recent defection to the APC, despite that he had encouraged her to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
She said: “It appears to me that Gov. Ayade feels threatened by my joining the APC for whatever reason. I don’t recall any other former PDP stalwart in the state who decamped to the APC being so persecuted as I am. Could it be that Gov. Ayade is picking on me because of my gender or my enormous electoral appeal? I choose to believe the latter as I would like to believe that Ayade is not a misogynist, and he ought to know that I have never played gender politics.
“I recall that this same Gov. Ayade confidentially asked me to support the Buhari administration and I told him that I did not need his prompting to do so. Moreover, since I was in fact no longer a member of the PDP, I was inclined to join the APC. I am not in the habit of being in one party and supporting another.
“I would like the public to know that Gov. Ben Ayade, a man whose election I supported, has been sending menacing text messages to me, warning me of the consequences of involving the Nigerian Media and Nigeria Police in the uncovering of the diversion of the relief materials by his government officials.
“As we speak, Cross River State is very unsafe, with assassinations and kidnapping becoming the order of the day. Under this cloud of general insecurity, nothing must happen to me. Gov. Ayade and his gang of merry men should be told that, they will be held responsible should I come to any misfortune.
“This self serving campaign of calumny against me instigated by the state government is capable inciting ethnic tensions, which may in turn lead to the shedding of blood, a prospect I dread greatly.
“I hereby ask everyone and anyone who has influence with Gov. Ayade to warn him to desist from escalating the issue any further. I have asked my teeming supporters to remain calm, as I have decided to adopt the civil approach of a law suit to defend my integrity which they have tried so hard to rubbish.”
She added that she needed to speak out about her safety as the state House of Assembly has already summoned her in connection with the controversy over the relief material and that as a law abiding citizen and a former legislator herself she cannot afford to disregard the parliament, but that the tension being created by recent development could make things go wrong.
Speaking on the allegation of diverting relief materials leveled against her by the Coalition of Bakassi indigenes, the former Senator expresses worry over what she described as a coordinated campaign to demonize her person and make rubbish of her efforts towards alleviating the plight of her people of Bakassi, “all because I was instrumental to uncovering a dastardly plot of diverting relief materials I sourced from the national refugee commission for victims of a fire outbreak in Dayspring Island Bakassi by unscrupulous Cross River State officials.”
She said that “Verified reports reaching me indicate that some youths have been induced to carry out so called protest rallies against me in Ikang, the new location of the Bakassi Local Government.
“The so called protests are a follow up to a spurious press release issued by an equally flippant entity that calls itself Coalition of Bakassi indigenes. Their statement contained a litany of lies, calculated to demean and defame my person.”
While denying all six allegations leveled against hers, Senator Ita-Giwa said, “The outrageous assertion that I was a signatory to the ceding of Bakassi ancestral land to Cameroon exposes their mischievous ignorance. Only heads of states can be signatory to such sovereign international treaties and the last time I checked, I have never been President of Nigeria.
“Secondly, I fought tirelessly for Nigeria to retain Bakassi territory and consistently advocated for a referendum on the issue. Any contrary assertion is a lie that can be easily debunked by public records of my position on the issue.”
According to her, “The allegation that there was never a fire outbreak and that the story was manufactured to get relief materials from NEMA is an indictment against the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), The National Refugees Commission and The Nigerian Media who all accompanied me on the verification visit to the site of the fire incident.
“It must be noted at this point that evidence of the perfidy of state institutions in Cross River State began to unfold during that exercise as the Director General of SEMA who accompanied me, tried to convince me to grease the palms of the team from the refugees commission so that they will exaggerate the extent of damage in order to get more relief materials,” she alleged.