By Uche Ike
CALABAR —Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, may have discreetly clamped down on critics of his administration as his former aides and critic, Prince Ekanem Ekpo, has been arrested by security agents in Calabar.
Ekpo, who is the Project Coordinator of National Anti Corruption Crusaders, was arrested last week, and is being detained by the Anti-kidnapping and Cultism Squad of the state Police Command.
He is being charged with unlawful Assembly and disruption of public peace.
In the statement on July 25, 2019, and captioned “Invitation to attend our world press conference/One-Million-Man March Against an Inept Government in Cross River,” Ekpo, who is the immediate Director-General of Cross River Safety Commission, had among others accused Ayade of promoting white elephant projects he also claimed were not achievable in the nearest future.
He accused Ayade of spending billions of naira on gigantic projects such as Spaghetti Flyover, Superhighway and Bakassi Deep Seaport without due processes as well as misapplying state’s resources.
Sources close to his family said the security operatives had been on his trail since he issued a statement criticising Ayade’s style of leadership.
According to the source, who pleaded anonymity, Ekpo was finally picked up at Akai Efa axis in Calabar Municipality by Anti Kidnapping and Cultism Squad, where he went to buy drug and since then he has been in their custody.
Vanguard gathered that efforts to secure his release by his family failed as the police authorities said they were still investigating the matter.
Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo said Ekanem had earlier made his intentions known that he would carry out an unlawful protest.