… Demands Immediate Action into its Alleged Election Tribunal Influence
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has raised concerns over the disturbing allegations of manipulation by the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) in the Akwa Ibom State governorship election tribunal.
HURIWA, during a Press Conference on Monday condemned in the strongest terms the alleged acts of desperation by UNIUYO, which not only undermines democratic processes but also poses a threat to the lives of those seeking justice.
Addressing newsmen at the conference, HURIWA’s National Coordinator; Emmanuel Onwubiko revealed that UNIUYO, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Prof Ndaeyo Nyaudo, allegedly seized all the files of Mr Daniel Akpan, the key witness for the petitioner Senator Bassey Albert on the orders of the Governor; Umo Eno Baseey who is one of the defendants in the petition filed by Senator Bassey Alber.
This, according to Onwubiko follows a pattern of similar attempts by UNIUYO to tamper with records, as witnessed in the case of the former governor, Eno Umo Bassey, whose records were reportedly manipulated last year.
“Of great concern is UNIUYO’S alleged plan to wipe out all payment records of Mr. Daniel Akpan with the UNIUYO Micro Finance Bank. This deliberate attempt to erase Mr. Akpan’s employment history raises serious doubts about the integrity and fairness of the ongoing tribunal proceedings.
“In a desperate act aimed at undermining the credibility of the witness, a manual Excel sheet without Mr. Akpan’s details has been introduced as the university’s payroll. However, it should be noted that the information contained in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) cannot be deleted, as confirmed by reliable sources.
“Additionally, UNIUYO is alleged to have enlisted the help of security personnel, Mr. Nse Okon Udoh, through the Chief Security Officer, to falsely claim Mr Daniel Akpan’s staff number as his own. Furthermore, a woman named Ms Grace Okeke is reportedly being used to lay claim to Mr Akpan’s IPPIS number. These actions reveal the extent to which Uniuyo is willing to go to erase evidence that could implicate the governor of Akwa Ibom State”, HURIWA revealed.
Continuing, HURIWA also revisited its earlier intervention on the alleged attempted assassination of Senator Bassey Albert, the gubernatorial candidate for the Young Progressives Party (YPP), during a hearing of the governorship election petition.
“Senator Bassey was violently chased out of the tribunal in Uyo, posing a threat to his safety and the pursuit of justice. HURIWA condemned this act and called on the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, to take immediate action. The removal of the Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner demanded, stressing the importance of holding those responsible accountable”
However, HURIWA reiterated its concerns not only for Senator Bassey’s safety but also for the safety of the star witness; Mr Daniel Akpan, and other witnesses involved in the tribunal proceedings, noting that these individuals play a crucial role in providing testimony and evidence, and their lives are at risk.
In light of the disturbing events surrounding the alleged manipulation of records by UNIUYO, HURIWA emphasized the need for urgent action, stating that failure to address the matter promptly and ensure justice is served could lead to legal action by the Group in order to uphold the rights of the people and protect the integrity of the democratic process.
Hence, HURIWA called on the authorities, including the newly appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police, Dr. Kayode Egbetokun, to launch a thorough investigation into these serious allegations, urging that the perpetrators be held accountable and the integrity of the electoral process upheld. In ensuring their safety. A team of lawyers have volunteered on our behalf to launch a petition to the National University Commission, the Head of Service of the Federation and other relevant law enforcement agencies to investigate these allegations which were made available to us and this is why we want these investigative bodies to use their powers and ensure that nothing is done to flagrantly violate the law of Nigeria and endanger the economic rights of any Nigerian citizen. We will through the lawyers be seeking that these federal government authorities get to the root of these allegations and provide redress if these allegations are credible.
Conclusively, HURIWA’s Onwubiko called upon all Nigerians who value the integrity of the electoral process and the rule of law to stand together in demanding justice and the preservation of democratic ideals. “Acts of manipulation and obstruction must not be allowed to undermine the very foundation of the nation”.
HURIWA reiterated its commitment to advocating for human rights, justice, and the strengthening of democracy, emphasizing the importance of bringing those responsible for these reprehensible actions to justice and protecting the rights of the people.