… Claim To Be SARS Operatives From Lagos
… ACP Intervenes, Faults Modus Operandi
Unknown gunmen, claiming to be operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Lagos, on the night of Sunday, February 21, 2015, stormed the business premises of Ime Uwah, younger brother to one of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s super Commissioners, the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal, Prince Enobong Uwah, with a search warrant from Lagos to search every property owned or connected to him (Ime Uwah).
Information at our disposal has it that the mission of the unknown gunmen was necessitated by a petition sent in by an anonymous petitioner from Akwa Ibom State, claiming that their suspect, Ime Uwah, who is also the Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Marketing and Brand Management, owns caravans of ammunitions and uniforms of various armed and unarmed forces which he had planned to use in the case of a rerun for the Akwa Ibom Governorship Elections.
Being cleared by their warrant and the proof of identity they possibly provided, the gunmen were allowed to conduct a thorough search of some of Uwah’s properties, starting the most popular business centre, Eni Gardens, along Edet Akpan Avenue, to his residence and finally to his farm along Akwa Ibom Airport Road, but nothing was found.
Our investigation revealed that trouble started when the gunmen, despite not finding anything incriminating throughout the search, insisted on going with Uwah to their Office in Lagos by road in a tinted glass Toyota Hiace Bus with EY 527 KJA as its plate registration number.
Our investigation also revealed that members of AK-Pro, professional organization, who were with him, immediately started raising alarm which eventually drew youths to the scene alongside the Akwa Ibom State Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP).
The DCP, upon arrival, began scolding the men and saying “why do you people want to embarrass the state police command by coming for this kind of operation involving a high profile citizen without at least, reporting to him or the SARS Unit at the State Headquarters.”
Finally, gunmen, the police boss and Uwah left for the state Police Headquarters at Ikot Akpan Abia, at the instance of the DCP, riding in Uwah’s SUV.
We are told Uwah was released after the police boss met with both parties in his office with the phrase “mistaken identity” given to the mammoth crowd that later gathered.
Some onlookers even tried to link the development to last year’s incident when the Akwa Ibom Government House was raided on this same approach, but nothing was found and nothing till date has been reported to have been found, another part of the vigilant crowd was on the wondering side as regards which rerun election Uwah would be preparing for, when as an Uyo indigene, the candidates of his party, the PDP at the Governorship, Senatorial and Federal House of Representatives level were confirmed by the highest courts of law and even the state assembly candidate that has a rerun case, has only a few polling units to battle for, which will certainly not affect his position as the holder of that office irrespective of whatever comes of the election rerun.
An anonymous member of AK-Pro said “who said they came for Ime Uwah? We know their target. It is Prince Ukpong Akpabio. It is believed that most of the properties owned by Ime Uwah are Prince Akpabio’s own. The target is Prince Akpabio and I believe the invasion is a clear message to Prince Akpabio and his cohorts.”
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, the leadership of AK-Pro, in a press statement captioned “The Harassment and Illegal Abduction of Mr. Ime Uwah,” signed by it National Chairman, Barrister Ofonime Enoh, the group said “We the Central Working Committee and the Executive Council of the Akwa Ibom Young Professionals Leadership Initiative (AKPRO) wish to state the following in light of the events which occurred on the night of Monday 22nd February 2016.”
The group gave an elaborate background to the event that transpired thus: “On Monday evening, 22nd February 2016, at about 8.30pm, heavily armed and hooded men, purported to be officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos Command, accosted Mr Ime Uwah as he made to enter his residence, dragged him from his vehicle, forced him into an unmarked bus and sped off to an unknown destination.”
“The quick reactions of his security and the combined efforts of friends, family members and youths, who immediately alerted the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, saved Mr Ime Uwah from an uncertain fate. Due to the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Uwah was rescued from these gunmen 3 hours later from his farm which is 30 minutes from Uyo, where he had been whisked to search for arms and police uniforms believed to be hidden there. The men claimed to have been acting on the basis of an anonymous petition which indicated that weapons and police uniforms were stored at that location. Mr Uwah was harassed, his business premise ransacked and after finding nothing to substantiate such claims they insisted that they will take Mr. Uwah to an unknown destination for further interrogation. However their clandestine plans were foiled by the vigilance of the Akwa Ibom Police Command and youths who liberated Mr Uwah from the definite evil that was to be perpetrated.“
In their demand, AK-Pro stated, amongst other things: “That there are procedures to be followed when investigating a petition against a citizen by the Police, abducting him at gunpoint is certainly not one of them and is clearly unlawful. That such intimidation and harassment of Mr. Ime Uwah, a law abiding citizen, businessman and public servant is unacceptable. Mr. Uwah is an extremely popular youth leader and pillar of his community. If he is required to answer any questions, he will make himself available without any fuss, so the resort to an abduction is the height of absurdity. That we commend the Akwa Ibom State Police Command for intervening to salvage the situation. That Mr. Ime Uwah has been doing business in the Agricultural sector for the past four years, employing over 250 Nigerians and putting food on the table of these employees’ families. That Mr. Ime Uwah has not only been a source of inspiration to AKPRO, but to the Youths of Akwa Ibom State as well as the Business community. That AKPRO stands firm, united in spirit and ideology in continued support of government of Akwa Ibom State under the leadership of His Excellency, Gov. Udom Emmanuel. That all matters related to the April 15 2015 elections had been adjudicated upon and judgment was given by the Supreme Court. That the so called petition reads like a poorly scripted Nollywood movie and as such isn’t worth the paper that it was written on. It was clearly malicious and the unlawful actions of his abductors show that it had an unsavoury pre-determined outcome. That we dare Mr Mike Okon to come out publicly to substantiate his frivolous claims. That any attempt to harass, intimidate, unnerve or cow Mr. Uwah, hoping to prevent him from carrying out his duties as the Special Assistant to His Excellency Gov Udom Emmanuel lacks imagination and is therefore futile. We believe in the unity, prosperity and growth of Akwa Ibom State and call on well-meaning indigenes of the state to continue to support the government.”