A’Ibom Diaspora Group appeals to Gov Emmanuel over Activist on hunger strike

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By Ogenyl Ogenyi, Uyo

Ibom People’s Congress (IPC), USA Inc., a premier multi-ethnic, non- partisan advocacy group has appealed for Governor Udom Emmanuel’s intervention on behalf Matthew Koffi Okono, an Activist who is currently on a seven day hunger strike, over alleged injustice.

Okono popularly known as Citizen MKO and Founder of Open Forum Care for Humanity Foundation had last week announced the commencement of a seven day hunger strike “to demand for justice from life threatening oppression suffered from people and agents of the state government.”

In a letter signed by the President Ibom People’s Congress (IPC) USA Inc, John J. Okon, PhD and made available to newsmen in Uyo, the Congress appealed to the Governor to look into the travails of the Activist.

“Your Excellency, We write for your kind intervention on behalf Matthew Koffi Okono, an indigene who after unsuccessful attempts to seek mediation of highly placed persons in the state as well as a truncated redress in courts, has appealed to us, alleging injustice on the grounds that he has a number of attempt and threats on his life.

” He alleges denial of payments for legitimate claims by Nsit Atai Local Government Council and contractual obligation he fulfilled for Akwa Investment Cooperation (AKICORP) an agency of the state government.

“Your Excellency may wish to note that the appellant who has embarked on a 7-day hunger strike starting on May 8-14, 2023, to back up his appeal, has been advised by IPC against any course of action that could have adverse effect on his health.

“The justification for doing so was to allow us time to bring his case to your attention for appropriate intervention and directive, consistent with your Excellency’s commitment to the dignity of our citizens and respect for social justice and in line with the primary responsibility of government, which is the welfare and security of citizens.

“IPC believes firmly that the humane policies of your Excellency’s administration have reshaped a once volatile state into a place where the peaceful co-existence of our people and the security of our citizens are invariably assured.

“Note the appeal by Mr Okono and his insistence that he has incontrovertible evidence that he performed jobs and services which he was not paid for. As a result, he has been rendered homeless; unable to fend for his wife and children due to the accumulated interest rate from the loans he took out to pay for the jobs he is being owed.

“Direct as appropriate for the affected government agency and officials to address and resolve whatever standing debts and crippling issues affecting Mr Okono.

“Mr. Okono is a victim of a politically motivated attack on July 14, 2018 in Nsit Atai Local Government Area where his car was burnt. Okono who managed to escape being killed by the attackers where two (2) persons died, alleges sustained threat to his life and non-resolution of issues surrounding the attack”. The letter stated on part.

The hunger strike according to Okono had, “followed seven years of affliction and fruitless appeals to Governor Udom Emmanuel and others to intervene in clear cases of oppression and injustices without any form of action.

The Productivity Advocate said that this is even despite assurances, and a promise of intervention by the Ibibio Patriarch President of Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers Council, Ntenyin (Dr) Solomon Etuk, Oku Ibom Ibibio which failed.

According to Okono in a statement, “it is not just about me, but a number of vulnerable persons who brought their pathetic cases for intervention by Open Forum. Two of them are dead. One is in critical condition.

“So it was a thing of tears for me when five of such persons joined me at the commencement of my hunger strike location which is Wellington Bassey Way by Dominic Utuk Avenue (Entrance to Government House, and Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council Secretariat, Uyo).

“My life and business have been destroyed under this administration due to activities of some unscrupulous persons in the system. I am only asking for justice before the exit of His Excellency on May 29, 2023.

“I appeal to people and organizations of goodwill to intervene by calling on the Gov Udom Emmanuel to look into my cases to save me, my family and others from endless trauma. I just want my life back.”

Some of his claims include payment of his outstanding claims by Nsit Atai Local Council where he served as Transition Committee Secretary and Supervisor for Education (2016 – 2017), withdrawal of case from the EFCC and compensation over the loss of his vehicle and research works during the July 14, 2018 Ibedu mayhem, investigation of further threat to his life and possible reconciliation with key political actors in Nsit Atai LGA for peaceful coexistence.

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