Civil rights lawyer, Mr. Inibehe Effiong, has given a 14-day ultimatum to Mr. Onofiok Akpan Luke, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, to tender a public apology and pay the N500million to Dr. David Emmanuel Udo, a medical practitioner. Dr. Udo, who is based in Akwa Ibom State, was almost tortured to death by two armed security escorts attached to the Speaker for allegedly refusing to give way to Mr. Luke’s convoy. The father of six can no longer walk and has his face badly damaged.
The lawyer's ultimatum was contained in a four- page letter dated 9 March and obtained by SaharaReporters. Signed by the lawyer, the letter, which was served on the Speaker on Friday, provided a detailed account of Dr. Udo's grotesque treatment by the Speaker's escorts on June 25, 2016.
The lawyer stated that doctors have advised his Dr. Udo, whose skull and eyes were badly affected by the incident, to urgently seek medical attention abroad.
"Arising from that tragic incident, our client has been traversing different hospitals across the country, including the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, Enugu State to treat his badly damaged skull and face. Our client’s vision is now blurred arising from the attack, which extended to his two eyes. Our client has so far spent millions of naira to treat himself. Our client has been informed by his doctors that he urgently needs to seek further and advanced medical attention abroad,’’ disclosed Effiong.
The lawyer has vowed to take the matter to court on behalf of Dr. Udo if the Speaker fails to meet the ultimatum to publicly apologize to and compensate him.
On the day of the incident, said Mr. Effiong, his client, wife, and children were on their way to Eket from Uyo when they drove into a crowd of youths on a procession in honor of a young footballer, who died shortly after securing a contract with a foreign soccer club.
A traffic snarl ensued, explained the lawyer, compelling motorists to drive slowly behind the mourners.
"On getting to the section of the Aka Nung Udoe Ibesikpo Road, where the Cereal Research Institute is situated, our client heard the siren blaring incessantly behind his car. On closer observation, our client observed that the blaring siren car was part of a motorcade/convoy comprising three vehicles. One of the vehicles in the convoy bore the insignia of the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly," said the lawyer. He added that the victim observed that the Speaker was seated at the back of the vehicle bearing the insignia, apparently instructing his security escorts, who are officers of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigeria Police Force, to clear the road for the Speaker to pass.
Dr. Udo, the lawyer, narrated further, made efforts to yield the way for the Speaker's convoy to have free passage, but his car had been blocked by other vehicles and the mourners.
"While our client was still battling to vacate the road for your convoy, a fierce- looking mobile policeman emerged from the Toyota Hilux van, which led two other vehicles in your convoy, and hit his vehicle with his assault rifle (possibly an AK 47) and proceeded to give our client a brutal punch in the face whilst shouting 'clear the road’. As our client trembled in fear, he received a devastating slap on his face from the same mobile policeman in your escort and became dazed," said the lawyer.
He also explained that the victim attempted to give reasons the gridlock, but was stopped from doing so by an SSS operative, who opened Dr. Udo's door and attempted, unsuccessfully, to remove the car.
"The SSS operative continued with the assault on our client by raining blows on his face. He punched his eyes, nose and as our client tried to cover and protect his face from the heavy punches, the erratic SSS operative raised his assault rifle and butted our client in the head and chest until he almost lost consciousness," Mr. Effiong narrated.
Realizing they wanted to kill him, Mr. Effiong said his client tried to move back but was stopped by the SSS official, who knocked him unconscious by smashing a rifle on his head.
"Our client was informed by his wife on the 26th June 2016 at about 12:00 PM at Emmanuel General Hospital Eket where he was rushed to that when the said SSS operative in your convoy thought that he had died, he left our client and opened the front door of the very insignia- bearing vehicle you were seated in, the vehicle and others in your convoy zoomed off and left our client to his fate," added Mr. Effiong.
He recalled that the Speaker phoned Dr. Udo a day after the incident to express sympathy after reading his post about his ordeal on Facebook.
"You pointedly told him over the phone that you did not know that our client was a medical practitioner. You told our client that you thought that he was 'one of those hooligans'. You will also recall that you sent your friend and associate, Mr. Leo Umana to meet with our client in his residence in Eket on Saturday 2nd July, 2016 at about 4:30 PM when you learnt of his critical and deteriorating health condition. The said Mr. Umana never gave our client a feedback," the lawyer told Mr. Luke. When Dr. Udo demanded the identity and prosecution of the two security men from Mr. Luke, the Speaker discontinued communication.