Akwa Ibom: Just wedded Lawmaker, wife, assault lady, stropping her naked in public over wedding spray
By Cletus Ukpong
Mr Uduak Nseobot, councillor representing Ibiono Southern II, Ward 6, a local lawmaker in Akwa Ibom state has appeared before a state High Court in Uyo for allegedly assaulting a woman and stripping her naked in the public.
The accused, Uduak Nseobot, is a councillor in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
Mr Nseobot and his wife, Aniedi, were charged to court on July 11 by the Akwa Ibom state government for allegedly kidnapping, assaulting, and publicly stripping the woman, Iniubong Essien, whom they had accused of stealing some naira notes.
They said the money was “sprayed” on them at their wedding — a common practice at Nigerian festivities.
Ms Essien, who has been a close friend to the councillor’s wife for about 10 years, denied stealing the money.
She told PREMIUM TIMES that she assisted the Nseobots in cooking and serving food to their wedding guests and that she was not even the person who helped the couple to pick money donated to them at the wedding.
The councillor and his wife, supported by their friends, were said to have abducted Ms Essien from her home in Uyo in the morning, around November last year, drove her to a village in Ibiono, about 27 kilometres.
She was then taken to a village hall around 10 a.m.
“I was beaten and forced to walk stark naked in the village hall, they removed my dress, my bra, and my pant, Ms Essien, who is over 40, told PREMIUM TIMES.
“People were inside the village hall, I think he (the councillor) may have told them that he was bringing a thief for them to beat, so the whole place was filled with people.
The victim, Ms Iniubong Essien
“He was mixing charcoal with pepper to rub on my body, but he didn’t rub (it) on me. They tied a rope around my waist and said I must dance naked before the village people.”
Ms Essien said the councillors, his wife, and their friends used their mobile phones to take photos and videos of her, while she was naked and being beaten.
At the courtroom, the councillor, Mr Nseobot, stood in the dock with a forlorn look. He crossed his hands behind his back.
His wife, said to be resident in the U.S, was not present in the court.
The judge, Archibong Archibong, struck out the wife’s name from the charge sheet, following a request from the prosecution counsel, Godwin Udom.
The prosecution counsel withdrew his earlier application for a bench warrant against the councillor.
The counsel to the accused, Mfon Ben, informed the court he has filed an application challenging the validity of the charges against his client.
His request that the councillor should not take his plea until the court disposes of his objection was accepted by the judge, and the case adjourned to October 14 for the court to hear the argument on the preliminary objection.
Public shocked by incident
The incident, which was brought to public attention through Facebook, shocked the Akwa Ibom community on the social media site, with people calling on the state government to ensure justice was done in the case.
Akwa Ibom people in the Diaspora, led by an environmental activist in the U.S, Tom Mbeke-Ekanem, sent a petition to the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, last month demanding justice