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A’Ibom Dep. Speaker’s Family Rises In Defence Of Land-Grabbing Allegations Against Him

The Okuku Ikotidem family of Itam in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has risen in defence of their son and the deputy speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem, who was alleged to have ordered the demolition of property belonging to strangers in Itak Inyang community with intent to take over their land.

The family, in a statement endorsed by Mr. Archibong Ikot, Chairman, and Pastor Gideon Edidem Ikotidem, Secretary, and made available to journalists in Uyo on Monday, decried ongoing social media reports disparaging the person and office of Hon. Kufreabasi Edidem over the allegations.

According to the family statement, “the attention of the family of the late Okuku Edidem Ikotidem has been drawn to a publication in some online and print mediums attempting to drag our son, Rt. Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem, his office, and his public image into disrepute.

“The said publications accused our son, the Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, of using his office and position to demolish houses of non-indigene residents in Ntak Inyang, Itu Local Government Area, and render them homeless.

According to the statement, “We never would wish to take matters of the family to the media, just as we have preferred to quietly seek redress in a court of law all through the years, as events kept unfolding.

“However, our concern, and the most important one necessitating this reaction on our part, is the attempt by detractors to exploit the fact that one of our sons holds a sensitive public office and prominent position in the state to sponsor sensational, poorly investigated media reports to achieve the obvious aim of twisting the family’s hands out of a just cause to claim and reclaim their rights.

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Making more clarifications, the family said Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem, is the second youngest, considering his position as the 20th of 21 sons of the late Okuku Edidem Ikotidem and is in no position to make unilateral decisions which bind on the family

According to them, “The case in question has been that of a palm oil plantation known as “Ekpene Ekpe owned and cultivated by our father, the late Okuku Ikotidem, until his death.

“Upon his ageing days and subsequent death, and upon the growth of his children, who had their respective careers and life’s endeavours to chase, interlopers decided to make a venture out of the plantation by fraudulently selling out portions of the large space of land to unsuspecting buyers.

“And realising this fraud and land theft, some of the wives of the late Okuku Edidem Ikotidem, who were still alive, had risen to make efforts to reclaim the lands and stop further partitioning and selling of the land by those fraudsters.

“Attempts by the family to reclaim the stolen land, there were litigations, which began at the Customary Court of West Itam, Itu Division, and culminated in an appeal in Suit No. MIT/1A/2012 at the Magistrate Court, Itu, and were decided in our favour in 2018.

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The family further highlighted, “The illegal occupants of our family land had, despite the court verdict, refused to relinquish possession of the respective land spaces occupied by them and even refused to honour calls for negotiation by the family, hence, compelling us to return to the court to file processes to enforce the judgement.

“Whatever actions were taken that affected the occupants were those of the court officials in pursuance of the judgement and have nothing to do with the Akwa Ibom Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. KufreAbasi Edidem.

The family maintained that sponsors of media sensations against their son are only displaying a defeatist character and merely holding on to stripes as straw.

“In a drowning situation, the family of the late Okuku Edidem will stop at nothing to reclaim their land and will only open room for negotiation with the illegal occupants as the spirit of their magnanimity leads,” they added.

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