by crossriverwatch admin
Hon. Uduak Eyo Akiba, Chief Whip of the Cross River State House of Assembly who represents Calabar Municipality state constituency has denied assaulting a female police corporal at the weekend.
In a telephone chat with CrossRiverWatch yesterday before absconding abroad, Hon Akiba said it was not true that she punched and slapped Mrs Irene Ani as widely reported by sections of the media.
“I never slapped her. On the contrary it was the policewoman that attempted to slap me after slapping my son. A cab brought my son to the assembly on Saturday evening but the policewoman stopped the cab from going into the assembly.
“I quite agree that cabs are not allowed beyond certain point but my son introduced himself but the policewoman said she would not care whose son he was; she insisted that the cab must reverse out of the complex for him to trek the long distance. I am told that a hot argument ensued between her and my son and she first slapped my son several times before my attention was drawn.
“And when I came to the scene and intervened, she actually attempted to slap me too when I chastised her. I only blocked her slap. That’s all that happened.” Akiba claimed.
But Mrs. Irene Ani, the policewoman, insisted that the Assembly Chief Whip attacked her without provocation and left her with a bloody nose.
When CrossRiverWatch spoke with her, she wondered why the lawmaker was being economical with the truth.
She said: “How can I possibly slap her, a legislator? I am a trained, disciplined and respectful junior officer. It is not correct when she said I slapped her son and even slapped her. I only insisted in accordance to the order of the Assembly that the cab should not go beyond the approved limit. That was my offense.”
Corporal Ani who sustained a deep cut on her right cheek said: “The lawmaker’s son and his friend brought a taxi to the Assembly quarters and we stopped them at the gate and told them that taxis are not allowed into the Assembly quarters but the boys insisted on taking the taxi into the quarters and ordered the taxi to drive in and when the taxi came back, we locked the gate but Inspector Magnus asked us to allow them go out since they have finished what they came to do in the quarters.
“Uche, Peace Corps Officer with us opened the gate and the taxi drove out but no sooner had the taxi driven away that Uduak Akiba emerged from the quarters towards the gate quarreling and shouting demanding to know who is that fellow that asked my son not to enter the quarters with a taxi and pounced on me since I was sitting near the door and punched me several times on the face and tore my uniform”.
The police woman said when she tried to explain to the lawmaker that she was trying to enforce the directive, of the Deputy Speaker, Hon Itaya Nyong, the lawmaker who is obviously aware of the order still went on punching and raining blows on her and “dragged me by the neck, warning that I should respect her as a senior legislator who has the same rights and privileges like the deputy speaker”
Mrs. Ani added that, but for her colleagues on duty and some residents of the quarters who came to her rescue, “The woman would have strangled me because she grabbed my neck and held it tightly with my uniform”.
It would be recalled that during her first tenure in 2007, Hon. Akiba publicly engaged a fellow lawmaker, Dr. Pauline Ekuri, whom she once served as personal assistant when the lady was Commissioner for Women Affairs inside an aircraft in the presence of the State First Lady, Obioma Imoke while returning to Calabar from Abuja where they attended a function. She was suspended for three months over the fight.
Meanwhile, for obvious fear of the consequences of her violent action, Hon. Uduak quickly absconded from the country yesterday.
Sources close to her told CrossRiverWatch that she was advised to leave the country quickly and allow the matter to cool down before returning.
She is said to have traveled to the United States along with the spokesperson of the Assembly, Hon. Ngim Okpo and the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Itaya Nyong both of whose phones have remained switched off since yesterday.
CrossRiverWatch could not get any of the principal officers of the House to react as most members are said to be having a training at the Obudu mountain resort.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.