A Nigerian Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio and his wife Ekaete Akpabio have distanced themselves from killers of a 26-year-old female job seeker, Iniubong Umoren after they were linked to the criminals by investigative journalist David Hundeyin.
Mr Akpabio and his wife have also threatened to sue the award-winning journalist unless Mr Hundeyin tenders an immediate retraction and an unreserved public apology.
ARISE News had reported how young Ms Iniubong was lured by one Frank Akpan to his residence in the southern Nigerian state of Akwa-Ibom, who under the pretext of offering her a job raped and killed her in the most gruesome manner and buried the young graduate in a depthless grave.
Her death has since angered Nigerians on Twitter leading to the #justiceforhinyumoren, but Odiko Macdon, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state in a statement said the police had arrested 20-year-old Akpan, a principal suspect in the death of Iniubong.
“Following available leads, men of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Command, led by CSP Inengiye Igosi, consolidated on the initial great progress made by the DPO Uruan, SP Samuel Ezeugo and arrested the perpetrator who confessed to have lured his victim to his house in the guise of giving her a job but ended up sexually and physically assaulting her which led to her death.
“To cover his tracks, he dragged and buried her in a shallow grave in his father’s compound,” Mr MacDon, a superintendent of police, said in the statement.
A day after he published a report through NewsWireNGR titled, ‘Murder in Uyo: Who Killed Hiny Umoren?’, Hundeyin featured on ARISE News where he claimed there’s a deliberate attempt to cover up for prominent personalities involved in the death of Iniubong.
According to Hundeyin, the Akwa Ibom State Police command is at the heart of this cover-up.
The Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner, Andrew Amiengheme however, told ARISE News it was most unfortunate that “meanings are being read” into the events that led to the murder of Iniubong who had set out to attend a job interview in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, but rather met her untimely death.
Mr Hundeyin in the report claimed to have analysed telephone calls of the prime suspect in the murder case, Akpan. He also alleged that the 20-year-old Akpan called some people after the murder of Iniubong.
According to Hundeyin, one of the people the prime suspect called was one Kufre Effiong, a staff in the Niger Delta Civil Service, alleging that Effiong and Akpan met physically at a certain 58G, Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo.
The reporter further raise salient questions as to whether Akpan, the principal suspect worked for an organ trafficking to feed the international donor organ black market.
“This evidence shows without a shadow of doubt that Frank Akpan did not act alone.
“Organ trafficking to feed the international donor organ black market? Ritual killings on behalf of politicians involved in occultic practices,” he queried.
He later tweeted via @DavidHundeyin alleging, “It has just come to my attention that Davok Suites, the hotel at the centre of the 58 Unit G/S.9, Unit G, Ewet Housing Estate nexus involving Kufre Effiong and Frank Uduak Akpan is owned by none other than Ekaette Akpabio, wife of Godswill Akpabio.
“In other words, this place where Frank Uduak Akpan, fresh from murdering Ini Umoren came to meet Kufre Effiong, belongs to the wife of Kufre’s boss and Federal Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio. So which politician has Kufre been ‘running errands’ for?”
In another tweet, he said “Kufre Effiong is not just a senior civil servant, but a well-known face at the Abuja federal secretariat.
“When it emerges whose office he works in and what he does there, I will laugh my ass off. Please sue o.”
In his reaction, however, the Nigerian Minister, Mr Akabio, who is also a former Governor of Akwa-Ibom State in a letter dated May 12, 2021, and his wife stressed that the building which houses Davok Suites does not belong to them.
The letter titled ‘Publication Of False And Defamatory Statements Against His Excellency, Sen. (Dr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio And Her Excellency, Mrs Ekaete Unoma Akpabio: Demand For Immediate Retraction And An Apology,’ was served Hundeyin through their lawyer, Otobong Inyang of Star Attorneys.
“We hasten to make a point that assuming (though without conceding) that Kufre Effiong is a staff of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and/or one of its contractors, Senator Akpabio does not know, has never met and has never had any contact whatsoever with him. Neither Sen Godswill Akpabio nor his wife, Mrs Ekaette Akpabio had anything whatsoever to do with the horrific death of Iniobong Umoren,” the letter read in part.
“Secondly, neither Davok Suites (which is a corpate entity) nor the land housing it belongs to Mrs Ekaete Akpabio.
“Indeed, a proper search at the Corporate Affairs Commission would have disclosed to you that Mrs Ekaete Akpabio is neither one of the Directors nor Shareholders of Davok Suites.”
The Nigerian Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and his wife are therefore demanding an immediate retraction of the publication and an unreserved public apology.
They say the failure of Mr Hundeyin to do so within 14-days of receipt of the letter would attract a lawsuit.
By Abel Ejikeme