A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni (SAN), has berated the Cross Rivers State police for declaring his client, Mr Peter Akpanke, wanted over an alleged murder case.
It will be recalled that Akpanke, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the forthcoming House of Representatives election for Obudu, Bekwarra and Obanliku Federal Constituency, was on Monday declared wanted by the police following a court order, issued by the Hon. Justice Blessing Egwu of (Court 12) of the Cross River State High Court, Calabar.
According to Nigerian Tribune, the Cross Rivers police command through a Press Statement signed by its Spokesperson, SP Irene Ugbo, on Monday, declared Mr. Akpanke wanted in connection with the suspected murder of one Emmanuel Martin, a police Inspector.
SP Ugbo stated that Inspector Martin was shot and killed on May 25, 2022, in Obudu, Cross River North, during the House of Representatives party primaries of the PDP.
But while reacting on Tuesday, Ukweni, described the police declaration as politically motivated, which according to him was aimed at distracting his client from the scheduled electioneering activities as elections draw near.
He said: “I am disappointed at the unfortunate incident, encouraging members of the public with useful information on the whereabouts of Akpanke to pass such information to the nearest police station.
“The statement is politically motivated and positioned to distract my client as he prepares for next month’s elections. Peter Akpanke is not running away from any trial, but we will bring to the fore the fact that Peter did nothing,
“The person who committed the offence was arrested and handed over to the police. Luckily for us, the extra-judicial statements have been taken by the police. Regrettably, the person who brought those who killed the Inspector, is not standing trial.
“The person who fired the shot that killed the policeman is shielded by the state and they had to give fiat to a private prosecutor, it shows the interest the government has in this matter” Ukweni stated.
Ukweni added that the supposed suspect who fired the bullet that killed the Inspector, was interrogated by the police, and gave a vivid description of what transpired on that fateful day in a video.
“What they are just trying to do is distract my client from concentrating on his elections. The person who brought the boy who shot and killed the officer has gone to join the governor’s camp and his name has been removed from the charge sheet; this unacceptable? We won’t let this unnecessary prosecution happen”, Ukweni said.
When contacted, Mr Akpanke told Nigerian Tribune on telephone that he was not at any point served the court processes neither was there an invitation by the police which he didn’t honour.
“I have not been served any process. Ask them why they are carrying out a trial in Calabar instead of Obudu where the incident happened. Can the Police show any proof of any invitation that I didn’t honour?” Akpanke added.