Counsel to Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Barrister Ifeoluwa, has alerted the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, that INEC staff are complaining of threat to life from persons suspected to be agents of Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Senator Godswill Akpabio is at the tribunal challenging the election that produced Senator Chris Ekpenyong as representative of Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District. It was further alleged that this might be another ploy by Senator Godswill Akpabio and his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, to relocate the tribunal to Abuja, after several failed attempts.
Counsel to INEC reported to the tribunal that INEC staff are scared of testifying following a possible threat to life and invasion of their privavcy by one Anietie Ekong, media aide to Senator Akpabio, who circulated pictures of witnesses taken inside the court room on social media. He presented an evidence of the post to the tribunal.
In a swift reaction, Sunday Ameh, Counsel to Senator Akpabio defended the aide, claiming that technology could have been used to juxtapose the witness’ picture on the tribunal background. He attempted to insinuate bias, noting that the Tribunal did nothing earlier on when his witness complained of threat to life.
The Tribunal rebuked Ameh for suggesting bias and reminded him that he did not bring any evidence to proof his witness’ claim.
The tribunal expressed displeasure that Ameh raised his voice at the Tribunal.
Senator Akpabio’s Media Aide Anietie Ekong, had previously testified in the tribunal with video recordings at variance to the case at hand, has been accused of abusing tribunal process by taking snapshots of defense witnesses in the witness dock, and sharing to APC supporters on social media across the state.
The two witnesses including Elizabeth Usen, an INEC staff who testified to the thuggery and banditary in Essien Udim LGA during the elections, have been marked and their pictures are currently in circulation across the closed groups of the APC and the social media space.