By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
Leader of legal team to People’s Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for Bekwarta/Obudu/Obanlikwu federal constituency if Cross River State in next month’s National Assembly election, Mr. Mba Ukweni, SAN, on Monday faulted the decision of the Cross River State Police Command, to declare his client wanted, as contained in a press release currently being circulated in the state.
The Cross River State Police Command had in a press release, dated January 23, 2023, declared the PDP candidate, Mr. Peter Akpanke, wanted.
The police release stated that the police authority is acting based on a court order, issued by the Hon. Justice Blessing Ekpo of the Cross River State High Court, asking the police to declare the Rep candidate wanted over allegation of murder of police Inspector Emmanuel Martin.
Martin is said to have been shot dead, on May 25, 2022, in Obudu, Cross River North, during the House of Representatives primaries of the PDP.
Ukweni stated that the press release against his client “is politically motivated and positioned to distract his client, who is supposed to be contesting for National Assembly election scheduled for next month.
He said, “Peter Akpanke is not running away from any trial, but we will bring to the fore the fact that Peter did nothing, the person who committed this offence was arrested and handed over to the police.
“Luckily for us, the extra-judicial statements have been taken by the police. Regrettably, the person who brought those who killed the Inspector, is not standing trial.
“The person who fired the shot that killed the policeman is shielded by the state government and the Attorney-General of the state had to give fiat to a private prosecutor, it shows the interest the government has in this matter.”
He continued, “We can also reveal that in the course of our investigations, competent security sources handed video recording of the young man, suspected to have fired and killed the Inspector, being interrogated by the police, as he gave a vivid description of what transpired on that fateful day.
“What they are just trying to do is to distract my client from concentrating on his elections.
“The person who brought the boy who shot and killed the officer has gone to join the governor’s camp and his name has been removed from the charge sheet…isn’t this unacceptable?
“We won’t let this unnecessary prosecution happen.”
In a swift reaction to the his being declared wanted, the PDP House of Representatives candidate, Akpanke, said, “I have not been served any process. Ask them why they want to try me in Calabar instead of Obudu where the incident happened.
“Can the police show any proof of any invitation, text message or telephone call inviting me to their office and I refuse to honour their invitation?”