A group of Civil Society Organisations in Cross River State have alleged that supporters of Senator John Owan-Enoh, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were responsible for orgies of pre-election violence which enveloped the State some weeks ago.
Chairman of the group, Ogar Victor Mbaying, who addressed Journalists in Calabar, said lives and property were destroyed allegedly by Owan Enoh’s supporters when the candidate campaigned in the Northern and Central part of the State.
Reading from a prepared text, Mbaying said: “It is so sad that in times like this where securing the lives and properties of our people should be utmost, our supposed leaders are orchestrating the killing of our brothers.
“In accordance with the above mandate and responsibility, we write to bring to your notice the gruesome and dastardly acts of violence and murders perpetrated in Cross River State by Senator John Owan-Enoh, the Cross River State factional Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk and their cronies hereunder listed.
“As political parties in the state commence electioneering campaigns for the 2019 general elections, there have been widespread and unprecedented violence culminating in the destruction of lives and properties perpetrated by the blind and marooned supporters of Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk. Our investigations reveal that these crimes are specifically targeted against supporters of members of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We also have reliable intelligence report that Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk in their desperation to clinch political power at all cost have groomed and nurtured a band of blood thirsty hoodlums and rascals with the sole purpose of eliminating any body perceived to be legitimately working against their ambition and aspiration. The APC factional gubernatorial candidate and his cronies might have resorted to this barbaric and cruel tactic as a result of the obvious political rejection they suffer from a vast majority of the Cross River State electorates particularly from their immediate constituency, Etung Local Government Area.”
He chronicled some of the incidents as follows:
“In September, 2018, one Wilson Osang, a
former student of the Federal College of Education, who openly and harmlessly
supported the Cross River State Governor’s candidacy, during a political
campaign at Obudu in the Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State, was
shot dead at close range by agents suspected to be working on the orders of
Senator John Owan-Enoh.
The APC factional gubernatorial candidate made no effort or attempt to address this gruesome and dastardly act, a situation that pitched him against the Elders and people of Obudu. Our members at Obudu visited the area and confirmed the incidence to be true.
“On the same date and venue as above, Senator John Owan-Enoh publicly vowed that anybody not supporting his gubernatorial ambition would not be allowed to enter into Etung Local Government Area (where he hails from) for any kind of electioneering campaign. He has begun to execute this threat by ensuring that supporters of the People’s Democratic Party are violently attacked within the area. Residential houses and household properties worth millions of Naira have been destroyed in the course of this onslaught.
“Between the 29th, 30th and 31st days of December, 2018, these hoodlums sponsored by Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk went on an unprovoked rampage and destroyed campaign billboards of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade and those of other candidates aspiring into various offices under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party across the state.
“During a campaign rally of the APC held on or about the 15th day of January, 2019 at Boki Local Government Area, an astute supporter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Gabriel Kibe, was brutally murdered by agents and supporters of Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk. No effort was also made to address this ugly situation perpetrated by their agents and supporters.
“Recall that on the 18th of January, 2019, the non-indigenous community in Etung Local Govemment Area of Cross River State together with the Chiefs and leaders of Etung L.G.A. endorsed Governor Ben Ayade as its preferred candidate for the Governorship of the state for a second term. One Joseph Ikpe from Obudu L.G.A but resident in Etung L.G.A. who spoke on behalf of the non-indigenous people was thereafter attacked and maimed by these hoodlums sponsored by Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk.
“On the same 18th January, 2019, one Achima Amba was also attacked by members of Senator John Owan-Enoh’s convoy while on their way to campaign at Effraya, the Etung Local Government Headquarters. They inflicted grievous bodily injuries on the victim and left him by the way side to die but for the help of some passers-by who rushed him to the hospital where he is presently receiving treatment.
“On their way back from Effraya after the campaign, Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk’s supporters led by one Agbor Mbu set the Effraya market ablaze for no reasons. They proceeded from there to Etomi ward and destroyed houses and properties belonging to members of the People’s Democratic Party. These destructive acts were supervised by Senator John Owan-Enoh’s hired security, comprising the military, police and personnel of the Department of State Security (DSS).
“The compromising stance of these security personnel corroborates our intelligence reports that Senator John Owan-Enoh has mass-produced Police and Army uniforms to allocate same to his thugs to enable them disguise as security personnel for the purpose of rigging and intimidating the electorate during the forthcoming general elections.
“On the 19th of January, 2019, the said agents and supporters of Senator John Owan-Enoh and Prince Ebuta Ojong Ayuk also attacked one Ogar Monday at Etomi ward. They inflicted deep machete cuts on his head and fractured his legs. He is presently receiving medical treatment in the hospital.
“Mr. Joseph Ikpe, Achima Amba and Ogar Monday variously attacked and severely injured by these hoodlums are at the moment receiving treatment at the Asi Ukpo Diagnostic Center, Mary Slessor Avenue, Calabar.
“As a means of initiating a peaceful co-existence, a peace meeting was summoned by Elites of Bendeghe-ekiem ward. The said peace meeting was abruptly disrupted by hoodlums sponsored by Sen. John Owan-Enoh and Dr. Egbe Ayuk who shot and killed Mr. Ayuk Ogar (PDP Ward Chairman) and Mr. Kingsley Tangban among others.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that these unprovoked crimes are committed to sabotage the administration of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade and undermine his constitutional commitment to ensure the safety of lives and properties of the people. The fact that this trend if allowed to continue unabated would have a negative effect on the electoral process and consequently defeat the essence of democracy cannot be over-emphasised.
“It is on record that Senator John Owan-Enoh has on many occasions boasted of his acclaimed connections and how he would use same to exonerate members of his deadly gang who would be arrested in the course of committing these inhuman and gruesome crimes.
“It is our collective mandate and responsibility to ensure that criminals are not allowed to thrive in their business irrespective of who is involved and how highly placed such an individual or persons may be in the society.”
When asked whether he was sponsored and what action the group intends to take after the briefing, Mbaying denied ever being sponsored, adding that his group was making preparation to take the matter to court.