May 23, 2024

Alleged political witch-hunt: Man begins hunger strike in A’Ibom

Alleged political witch-hunt: Man begins hunger strike in A’Ibom

*Takes protest to Akwa Ibom Government House

Ofonime Honesty, Uyo

Mr Matthew Koffi Okono, popularly addressed as Citizen MKO, a businessman and media personality in Akwa Ibom State, has commenced a hunger strike following what he described as a politically motivated witch-hunt characterised by a series of assassination attempts, hijack of the Akwa Ibom State symbols and logos which he said were his brainchild, destruction of his property and threats to his life.

In an exclusive chat with our reporter on Monday, Okono, who is the convener of ‘Open Forum’, an advocacy programme on various radio stations in Nigeria, said he would starve throughout the seven days which he intends to demonstrate on Wellington Bassey Way near the Akwa Ibom State Government House in Uyo.

He said the political system has co-opted the traditional institution in the state in an attempt to further bully and frustrate him.

Okono recalled that in 2019, he sued some officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government following the “hijack and implementation” of his “proposal on the need for Akwa Ibom State to join the league of other states of the federation that have developed and adopted peculiar symbols of identity, coat of arms, flags and anthem.”

Mr Sam Edoho, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Brand Management; and Uwemedimo Nwoko SAN, Attorney General/ Commissioner for Justice (as he then was), Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko were the respondents in the suit.

According to him, the President General, Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM Ntenyin Dr Solomon Daniel Etuk prevailed upon him to withdraw the suit which was before the Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, on the promise that he (HRM Ntenyin Etuk) would reach out to the governor on his (Okono) behalf for an amicable settlement.

Four years after the withdrawal of the suit, Okono says the royal father has not only failed to fulfil the promise but is also wrongly accusing him of being bankrolled to blackmail the institution and political leaders of the state.

Okono, who also serves as Secretary, Ibibio Elders Forum (Adaha Ibibio), stressed that he has profound respect for the traditional institution, and decried that the institution has rather been misinformed about his intent and motive.

He noted that the various cases of attempts on his life and threats are well documented.

“My family and I have survived very many attempts in our lives. I believe you may have heard of the July 14, 2018, politically motivated attack at Ibedu in Nsit Atai. I narrowly escaped death but had my vehicle burnt. I was also arrested and detained at Zone 6, Police Command, Calabar, Cross River State by Uduak Ekpeowo, former transition committee chairman of Nsit Atai LGA, on fake allegations. To worsen issues, I have executed bonafide contracts for government agencies but I have been deliberately owed for several years. All these have affected me so much,” he decried.

He appealed to members of the public, the media and civil society organizations to prevail upon the state government and the traditional institution to examine his matter with fairness.

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