The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Aniekan Bassey, was reportedly attacked by hoodlums suspected to be supporters of a prominent politician in Akwa Ibom State while on a consultation visit to Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the thugs invaded the venue of the meeting and commanded him to remove his faze cap with the insignia of Pst Umo Eno, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s anointed successor before addressing them.
Condemning the attack at a joint media briefing on Sunday, two groups under the auspices of the Mandate Eyes and Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance described it as an insult to the office of the speaker of the state.
The chairman of the Akwa Ibom Integrity Alliance, Barrister Stephen Abia, expressed disappointment that some people could constitute themselves into a nuisance and go about harassing politicians who do not align with their views in the 21st century.
“We are indeed saddened that in the 21st century, a bunch of sane beings could constitute themselves into nuisance and go around harassing and assaulting innocent persons who do not align with their political views.
“It is worse that they could go as far as demanding that Hon. Aniekan Bassey, the State’s number 3 citizen, should take off his cap because it carried the imprimatur of his preferred Governorship aspirant, Pastor Umo Eno, not that of their alleged principal, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan.
“Are these agitators telling us that if Aniekan Bassey had put on a pair of trousers or shirt with the inscription of Umo Eno, they would have stripped him naked before allowing him to consult Ibiono Ibom delegates?”
While commending the speaker for his peaceful disposition by leaving the scene immediately, Barr Abia called on security agencies in the state to take a further step by ensuring that all those fingered in the act are brought to book immediately.
Speaking in the same vein, the Coordinator of the Mandate Eyes, Dr. Uwemedimoh Umanah condemned the action of the youths saying it is the height of disrespect to the office of the speaker as well as infringe on his human rights
“This represented a sacrilege and the height of disrespect to the office of the No 3 Citizen of the state. Let us at this critical juncture salute Mr Speaker for displaying such unparalleled leadership and statesmanship through actions that circumvented violence and hostilities in the state. That Mr Speaker did not allow the appurtenances and weight of his office to influence him typifies altruistic leadership.
“That dastardly act infringed on the fundamental right of association and speech of the Speaker, as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, inter alia: “ Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.
“This section of the law is reinforced by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thus: “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Therefore undermining Mr Aniekan Bassey’s fundamental rights is antithetical to democratic culture and the process of democratic consolidation in the state,
” he said.