One of the leaders of #EndSARS protest in Akwa Ibom State has publicly admitted that the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, gave N4 million for onward sharing to the protesting youth in Uyo, the state capital.
Kufre Carter, one of the organisers, said after the protest, he got a call from the governor’s aide on youth matters whom he said told him that the governor gave N4 million to be shared to the protesters.
The youth in Uyo, who joined the nationwide #EndSARS protests, on Tuesday, marched through some major roads in the capital before they were eventually addressed by Mr Emmanuel, a Peoples Democratic Party governor, at a spot where they had gathered.
Mr Carter, a sports presenter with a private radio station in Uyo, published the revelation on his Facebook page on Saturday.
He said he was, however, given N500,000 with specific instruction on how to share the money.
“With this money, came a caveat that the information should be as discreet as possible and I agreed hence the reason for my initial denial which I’ve grossly regretted,” said Mr Carter who claimed he went along with two other protesters to meet with the governor’s aide.
“I hereby apologize to everybody who I’ve disappointed by my actions on Tuesday. This is a first for me and I’ve surely learnt my lessons. I’m really sorry,” Mr Carter said in his Facebook post which has elicited mixed reactions from the Akwa Ibom community on the social media site.
Mr Carter told PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday morning, that the N500,000 he collected was shared between him and three other #EndSARS protesters whom he declined to mention their names.
He said he went public with his confession because he needed to “clear his conscience”, and not because of pressure or threat from anybody.
Gideon Ekanem, a youth leader in Akwa Ibom, who took part in the Tuesday protest, said the incident “is not a representation of Akwa Ibom people.”
“The people that were at that protest, we never saw any money, we never took part in any money. It’s a normal political thing they do among themselves for the governor to go for a thing and maybe a youth representative is there and he gets the money and shares.
“The youth that came out for that protest weren’t political youth and they weren’t part of any money that was shared. A few people who got that money betrayed the trust of the youth, and we the youth of Akwa Ibom are calling them to accountability,” Mr Ekanem told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Ekanem said it was not necessary for Governor Emmanuel to give money because “the protest wasn’t a political thing.”
Mr Ekanem said the Akwa Ibom protest, like the #EndSARS protests in other parts of Nigeria, has no organisers or leaders. “Nigerian youth organised the protests, no person anywhere would say he organised the protests,” he said.
Governor Emmanuel’s aide on youth matters, Aniefiok Iwaudofia, did not return PREMIUM TIMES’ call seeking his comment on the issue.
Mr Carter was recently arrested by the Akwa Ibom government, detained and prosecuted for alleged defamation of a commissioner in the state. The case is pending in court.