By Our Reporter
A human rights activist and legal luminary, Barr James Ibor, has vowed to drag Governor Ben Ayade to court over the torture he received from the hands of men he said were the governor’s security aides while he and others were on a peaceful protest on Saturday, June 12, 2021 which was used to mark Democracy Day in Nigeria.
Reports said Barr Ibor and four others, including the publisher of the online news medium Cross River watch, Agba Jalingo, were tortured for embarking on the protest, but Christian Ita, Spokesman for the governor said “nothing like that happened.”
Ibor explained that the protesters had held series of meetings with the state Commissioner of Police, Sikiru Akande, who approved of the protest but that the Commissioner advised them to cancel the Freedom Park venue they intended to use and rather use the premises of Cross River watch, located at Marian road.
He further alleged that the protest went on peacefully until the governor’s convoy arrived while protesters were distributing flyers to people.
His words: “The Commissioner of Police sent a team of policemen numbering about 50 to stay with us alongside men of the DSS. We were very peaceful as we chanted our songs and shared leaflets which were purely demanding for good governance both at state and federal levels. Nothing more.
“The policemen and DSS operatives can attest to this. The deputy commissioner of police and other senior police officers were standing beside me.
“Suddenly the governor’s long convoy stopped by. His personal security details and some appointees jumped out from the convoy, and moved quickly towards us. They demanded that we run away for our lives. We said we were not going to run.
“The DSS and policemen told them that they were fully in charge of the situation because the CP had approved of it but the governor’s aides would hear nothing of the sort.
“They teargassed us. Some of them with masks punched us. You can see these bruises over my face, my shirt was torn. I was kicked and slapped and pushed into the gutter. Agba Jalingo and two other journalists who also came to monitor the peaceful protest, suffered the same fate.
“I will definitely challenge the Governor’s action in court. It wasn’t the Police that arrested us, it was the Governor’s personal security aides and details. The policemen who were with us tried to convince them to leave us alone but they refused. They blindfolded us and even planted two live ammunition on us.
“They later handed us to Police in state headquarters. The police investigation revealed nothing on us and that was how they released us. We shall definitely meet in court.”
But, in a telephone chat with our reporter, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary/Special Assistant Media, Christian Ita, said the governor’s hands were not in whatever the lawyer and his co-protesters may have passed through that day.
He said,” how did he (Ibor) know that those who purportedly harrassed him were the Governor’s security aides? Was it written on their bodies ‘Ayade Security Aides?”From my findings, the Governor and his security aides were nowhere near that place.
“The Governor went to the Industrial Park and from there he went back to Solomon Unoh Lodge. Would the Governor’s convoy leave him in the Industrial Park and go and do something else? It is not posssible. Nothing of the sort happened?”