A newspaper vendor in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, has alleged that a former senator from Akwa Ibom State, Anietie Okon, publicly assaulted him, slapping him multiple times
The incident allegedly took place on Wednesday around the banquet hall of the Akwa Ibom Government House, Uyo, during the swearing-in ceremony of the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno Local Government Area, Awong Effiong Achianga as Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Traditional Rulers.
The event attracted a few newspaper vendors who thought they could make quick sales at the venue.
The victim, Ndifreke Etim, claimed he was standing by, hawking newspapers near the entrance door of the banquet hall when Mr. Anietie Okon came out from the hall and walked past him towards his car, and then suddenly stopped midway to beckon on him.
“I ran towards him. I thought he wanted to buy newspapers,” Mr. Etim told PREMIUM TIMES.
When he got to where Mr. Okon was standing, the vendor said what he got instead was a ‘hot slap’ from the former senator.
He said he was slapped multiple times by Mr. Okon, while three able-bodied young men who were with the former senator stood by to watch.
He said two other vendors who witnessed the incident were begging the former senator to stop molesting him.
“When he finished slapping me, he accused me of stealing his wallet. But God knows I am not a thief, I sell newspapers to take care of myself and my family,” Mr. Etim said, his voice shaking. “He didn’t even search me to see if I had his wallet on me or not.”
The vendor, who said he spent N4,000 to treat himself of bruises sustained from the incident, said he could not figure out why the former senator picked on him.
The Newspaper Distributors Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State chapter, has threatened to sue Mr. Okon if he does not tender public apology to Mr. Etim.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr. Okon, he refused to comment on the issue, saying “I don’t want to respond to such an issue.”