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Aquilla OtoObong Akpan.
Special Assistant to Akwa-Ibom State Governor on Students Matters.

There are strong indications in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, that the thirty-one million Naira promised Akwa Ibom students to stage a solidarity rally for the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, may have grown wings.

And the Governor’s Special Assistant on Students Matters, Aquilla OtoObong Akpan, may know where the money may be hiding.

While many accounts claim that she may have run away with the money, others state that Governor Emmanuel may have made a bogus promise and did not give her the money to share to the students, resulting in the mayhem unleashed by aggrieved students around Government House, Uyo, and adjoining streets on Thursday.

The botched solidarity rally which descended into wanton break down in law and order, and touts and youths joined the protest, bringing vehicular movement and business activities to a standstill. Innocent commuters were disposed of valuables, vehicles were vandalised and many students sustained different levels of injuries.

Yesterday, the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) released a statement, signed by the state chairman, Iniobong Okopido. calling the rally “shameful and outrageous” and blaming Governor Udom Emmanuel of “refusing to honour his pledge to pay the students N31 million for marching on the streets of Uyo for him.”

Okopido stated:,”The governor has shown for the umpteenth time that he is not only devious and deceitful, but is bereft of any iota of honour. We ask these students to take all legal steps, including a protest march to government house, to recover their money.”

The students bemoaned their treatment in the hands of the governor, stating that Udom Emmanuel has shown “flagrant disregard to students, education in the state and the future of the youths of Akwa Ibom State.”

The APC statement said that faced with “a flagging campaign and facing an imminent defeat at the polls, Udom Emmanuel routinely pays youths, women and even cultists to walk the streets, wave leaves and carry banners in an apparent show of solidarity with him. In many of his rallies, hired women in uniform are always abandoned at the campaign grounds, without as little as a bus fare back home.”

Okopido added: “It took the skilful intervention of the police to avert bloodbath yesterday… We call on our former governors and eminent citizens of our dear state to rise in unison and condemn… this."

Yesterday, faced with mounting suspicious and accusations, Aquilla resurfaced, stating that: "students who came for the solidarity march were duly accredited according to their various institutions. The sum of 31 million naira was given to the students by the Governor, with the instruction that it should be shared per local government, making it a million naira each."

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