It's over one year now that Mr Edet Okon Asim, a former Chairman of Calabar Municipality and Special Adviser to Governor Ayade on Biodiversity, was arrested by police and recommended for arraignment at the High Court by the state Attorney-General on charges of repeatedly raping a 15-year-old girl.
Edet Asim was billed to be charged along with two other accomplices, according to the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Attorney-General’s office in Calabar.
CrossRiverWatch had earlier reported that Mr Okon Asim, a respected politician in the state, was arrested for continuously defiling an underaged girl (names withheld) for a period spanning about three years.
Also arrested with him was the victim’s mother, Stella Noah Efiok, who is Edet Okon’s mistress; as well as Dr Abeng Enangha Sunday, a private medical practitioner in Calabar and Obot Okon Udofia, a politician in Uyo.
In her statement to the police, the victim alleged that her step-father, Edet Okon Asim, was having sex with her mother and herself. Her mother was aware that her step-father was having sex with her and had gotten her pregnant before.
And after reviewing evidence from police investigation against the facts of law, the Attorney-General of Cross River State in Ayade's first term, who is now Commissioner for ICT, Mr Joe Oshie Abang, told CrossRiverWatch last year that “I have since okayed the trial of Edet Okon Asim and two of the other suspects. I okayed that opinion before Easter and they will be charged at the High Court.
“I have signed the opinion and it’s a public document in my office. There are too many cases of defilement of minors in the state. Every week, we receive 5 to 6 cases of defilement and Cross River state is determined to deal with this problem headlong by making sure offenders are punished and we have been doing this to the admiration of several organizations who have recognized our effort with several awards.”
In the advice of the DPP which was also made available to CrossRiverWatch from the AGs office, the DPP said, “On the issue of rape, it is our considered opinion that the statement of the victim, an underage who stated that the first suspect ( Ntufam Edet Okon Asim) sexually molested her and got her pregnant and also stated that the 4th suspect (Obot Okon Udofia), also sexually assaulted her and got her pregnant are credible evidence for us to proceed against the two suspects, their denial notwithstanding. Our resolve to ascribe probative value to the allegations of the victim that the 1st and 4th suspects, sexually molested her and got her pregnant on different occasions is largely premised on the fact that this is the statement of a witness who is narrating first hand, what happened to her and we are convinced that the victim could not have singled out the suspects for this serious allegations, especially considering the special relationship she had with the first suspect. She is in our considered opinion, a witness of truth.
“Based on the analysis of the facts and the law in relation thereto:
It is recommended as follows:
a. We shall prosecute the 1st (Edet Okon Asim) and 4th suspects for the offence of rape alone.
When CrossRiverWatch asked the former AG about plans to cover up and impede the prosecution, hear what he said: “At this point it is difficult to save anyone unless I want to put my career in jeopardy. Trial is proceeding immediately.”
But the kingpin, Edet Okon Asim, went and mobilised chiefs and community elders in Big Qua, Calabar and has been begging the governor. Rather than arraigning him as recommended, the governor rewarded him with a fresh appointment as his Special Adviser on Biodiverisity.
This is one of the painful sore thumb in Ayade's government that continues to stick out in the village square.
The other sore thumb in Governor Ayade's hand is a gang warlord in Boki LGA, central Cross River. His real names are remote. But he is generally referred to as "General Iron." He is not schooled. He seized a government oil palm estate the size of Calaro and he is operating it with iron fists. He has a crowd of boys wielding AK 47 rifles. Once, police arrested one of his boys and he stormed the Divisional Police headquarters in Boki and beat up the DPO and released his boy. After that feat, Governor Ayade appointed him SA on Forest Security.
Recently, this Special Adviser to the governor on Forest Security, General Iron, had a dream. In the dream, an old woman in the village tried to kill him. She fought him in the dream until he actually fell off his bed in real life. That was when he woke. He went straight to confront the woman in her house. Under torture, the woman "confessed" and anyone she named as her co-witch was arrested and tortured. The torture was beating and burning with fire. At least one person has died from the burning. As we talk, General Iron is still terrorising his community without let or hinder.
A tout without any form of education. A merchant of death and violence, patronised by almost every politician in central Cross River, has become the overseer of a government owned palm plantation, grooming criminals in a free for all with a government toga as Special Adviser and my governor doesn't see anything wrong with it.
These two are not all the sore thumbs. There are very many more of them. Merchants of violence and death that should be behind bars but have been emboldened by governor Ayade.
So you can see that the reasons for some of the most gruesome violence and impunity in Cross River today is not farfetched. That is because when the gods lose their iron teeth of chastisement, they also forfeit the sacrifice of appeasement.