From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Chief Etinyin Effiom Eyo Okon, a traditional leader and the clan head of Ikot Offiong Ambi clan in Akpabuyo, Cross River State, has raised a petition regarding the demolition of his property, following allegations of his involvement in kidnapping activities.
Etiyin Okon, 90, denied that neither him nor his wife are involved in kidnapping, nor has he been arrested by the state’s Special Security Task Force, codenamed “Operation Akpakwu”.
On April 25, Operation Akpakwu team stormed Okon’s village at Ekpene Tete and destroyed his 43-room apartment, housing historical documents, personal house and other valuables said to be worth over N250 million.
Speaking to reporters, the traditional ruler admitted that one of his sons, who is not living with him, allegedly committed a crime in 2017 in Calabar and was arrested and has since been held in prison.
He said that is wrong for his houses to be destroyed because of the crime allegedly committed by his son, claiming that security operatives are acting on false information.
He maintained that security men never saw any group of kidnappers or anything for them to claim that he was harbouring kidnappers, and questioned why they should demolish his 43-room bungalow.
In a petition signed by Chief Onkon’s lawyer Eno T Offiong, Esq, and addressed to Governor Ben Ayade, he noted that the nonagenarian should have been invited and confronted with the evidence against him, if any, adding that demolishing his property on April 25 was premeditated, alleging that the chief’s enemies are out to settle old scores.
Offiong, in the petition ated April 28, 2021, explained that Operation Akpakwu had earlier cleared his client, Chief Okon, but expressed surprise that security operatives on April 25, invaded the chief’s premises and demolished the structures and set the place ablaze, maintaining that Chief Okon is not a kidnapper nor is he harbouring or training them.
He admitted that his client has a civil case against some persons over community land at Ekpene Tete, and thay the case is currently on appeal in the Court of Appeal, Calabar Division.
He further admitted that, in December 2020, a petition was written against his client and addressed to the state’s Commissioner of Police, calling on the governor to set up an independent body to investigate the matter even as his client was investigated and found it to be false.
Reacting to the petition, the State Security Adviser, Southern Senatorial district, Elder Henry Okokon, agreed that the Chief Effiom Eyo Okon is not presently in detention and that Operation Akpakwu had handed him over to the police.
He added that since Chief Okon has petitioned the governor over the incident, t governor will do due diligence and get to the truth.