Akpabio, Imoke, Others Mourn Duke’s Demise

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Cross River state, Sen Liyel Imoke and a host of other personalities in the country have joined Gov Ben Ayade in expressing sadness over the death of Prince Otu Otu Duke who was the Special Adviser to Governor Ayade on Waste Management.

Akpabio who, in a condolence message to the immediate younger brother to the deceased, Rt Hon Orok Duke, said the late Prince Duke was a “resourceful politician who believed in the unity of Nigeria,” and that “his forthrightness, candour and nationalistic approach to politics will be greatly missed.”

On his part, Governor Ben Ayade said Late Duke, whose funeral took place on Friday, May 22, 2020, “was a man who performed his job creditably,” and asked the family “to be consoled in the fact that having lived a worthy life, he (late Duke) has only transited to higher glory.”

Former Governor Liyel Imoke described Duke’s departure as “a sad loss not only to Cross River state and also the Peoples Democratic Party where he served as the pioneer vice chairman and in other various capacities during his sojourn on earth,” and urged the family of the deceased “to be consoled by the good life he lived.”

The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Eteng Jones Williams, who also expressed sadness, said the departed Duke was “an experienced and result-oriented politician who lived an exemplary life and made his mark indelible as a compassionate and invaluable statesman.”

In his tribute, the immediate younger brother to the late Prince Duke and former Chairman of the Cross River State Sports Commission, Rt Hon Orok Duke said his brother’s departure has left a big vacuum in the family, too difficult to fill particular as he left behind two little children.

Rt Hon Duke called on authorities concerned to investigate the causes of his brother’s death, and accused one Dr Offiong Okoho, the medical doctor who performed surgery on late Duke, of being responsible for the death.

Rt Hon Duke, who is also former Deputy Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, said “I commend the Nigerian Medical Association, Cross River State Branch, for declaring Dr Okoho’s Covenant Clinic an illegal medical facility, and also laud the state government for sealing off the Covenant Clinic building.

“But Dr Okoho, who has a history of professional misdemeanor and malpractice is still moving around and may have moved on to perpetrate further illegal acts in our community. I humbly request the police and all relevant authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and to bring to book all the culprits responsible for my brother’s death.”

Recall that Prince Otu Otu Duke died on April 3, 2020 at the age of 60 after undergoing surgery for hernia at Covenant Clinic and Maternity, located at 22 Ekpo Eyo Street in Calabar South local government area.

The family had petitioned the Nigerian Police over what they said was unprofessional handling of Prince Duke’s health issue by the Medical Director of the clinic, Dr Offiong Okoho, a situation which has led to the sealing off of the medical facilities and Okoho’s suspension.

However, Dr Okoho has denied any wrong doing in respect to Prince Otu Duke’s death, saying that the deceased was brought in for surgery at his clinic on March 25, 2020 and that the procedure was successfully carried out, but that seven days after the surgery, the deceased patient developed partial stroke.

Dr Okoho said he then referred the deceased to a specialist for appropriate treatment but that the patient refused to go for the referral. He said it was after the situation got bad that the deceased patient was placed on oxygen and later moved to Asi Ukpo Medical Centre, where he died.

On the possible cause of death, he said “the patient could have died as a result of Aspiration Pneumonitis, because the nurse at Asi Ukpo said he vomited before he died,” adding “some food particles may have entered his lungs when he vomited.

“The delay by the late Duke and his family members to take him to a specialist when I gave the advice was another factor that might have led to his death.”

Dr Beta Edu, the State Commissioner for Health, when contacted, said investigation into the matter was ongoing, and added, “we must investigate so that we don’t just punish somebody wrongly. We have reached out to those victims or people who have received service from the facility. Those testimonies would form the background of what we would do.”

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