Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A former governorship aspirant in Benue State, Hon. Mike Mku, has dragged the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Sen. George Akume before the Tiv Traditional Council for allegedly physically assaulting him at a wedding in Makurdi last weekend.
Mku, who personally wrote a letter of complaint, a copy of which was made available to newsmen on Thursday, claimed that the minister physically assaulted him at the wedding ceremony of the son of Tor Tiv, the paramount ruler of Tiv nation, Prof. James Ayatse.
Mku, a former aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo, in the letter alleged that the minister had approached a table where he sat alongside other prominent Tiv sons and after exchanging pleasantries with others, shoved him violently in the chest and ordered his security aides to push him.
The Board Chairman of Benue Investments and Property Company (BIPC) disclosed that he had already reported the Sen. Akume to the Tiv traditional institution.
He said: “I consider it most unfortunate that I should be constrained to make this public statement, being it not in my character to be associated with controversy, yet there comes a time when facts must be stated as they are, no matter the amount of sentiments at play.
“First and foremost, the report of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, having physically and violently assaulted me at the wedding of a son to Tor Tiv, HRM Professor James Ortese Ayatse last Saturday in Makurdi, is true.
“The incident took place where I and a number of other illustrious Tiv sons sat at the wedding reception.
“I shared a table at the occasion with Chief Edward Ashiekaa, Chief Joseph Zendesha, Chief Jime Akaakar, Senator Jack Tilley Gyado, Arc. Dr Philip Zegetar Iyortyer and some others, and it was at that table that the physical assault on me by Senator Akume occurred,” the letter read in part.
But when contacted, the minister, Senator George Akume said Mku’s claim was “false and unfounded” adding that it is not the true reflection of what transpired at that wedding ceremony.
Akume, who reacted through his media aide, Dr Aondona Mkor, by telephone, described Mku’s allegation as a complete and blatant lie that should be ignored.
“Chief Mku should know that other people were also at that event and eyewitnesses who sat in the same table with Mku would always tell anyone what they saw.
“So as far as we are concerned, what Mku said is a blatant lie, is mischievous and an act of blackmail against the honourable minister.
“The honourable minister did not slap him or assault him. The honourable minister went to the event in his representative capacity as minister and of course, as far as I know, there was no such incident at that occasion,” Mkor stated.