Cross River government officials go physical over office space
Top officials of Cross River State have resorted to fisticuffs to settle official scores. Yesterday at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, the Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography, Chief Offu Aya, allegedly ordered thugs to beat up the chairman of the Sports Commission, Emmanuel Elom, over office space.
Looking devastated in his torn shirt, Elom said the commissioner was irked because he (Elom) asked him to relocate to his office at the state secretariat and leave the stadium office for him.
His words, “A few months after we went to be cleared by the House of Assembly and came back, we are still wandering and I have been working from my car. So, I met with Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography and reminded him of our earlier discussion as regards his moving to his permanent office.
“But when we met as a board, we came up with a unilateral decision that we have to occupy our offices, so that we can hit the ground running. So we did a letter to him asking him to vacate to his own permanent place within seven days, so that we can occupy our office.
“A day after the letter was dispatched, I placed a call to him and he did not answer, only for me to come to office this morning and discovered that there were thugs in the office. I went to the VIP Lounge where I work from and I discovered that the thugs were sitting there smoking hemp and drinking. I could not stand it and decided to go to the commissioner to find out what was happening.”
But the chairman reportedly got more than he bargained, as one of the thugs was said to have slapped him from behind.
“The commissioner came with a whip and they started beating me, took my phones and broke my spectacles. I kept quiet because it is official.”
The commissioner could not be reached on phone as at press time. But some witnesses – the Director of Sports and Secretary to the Sports Commission, Jude Amadi, and the Director of Facilities and Stadium Manager, Mr. Etim Coco-Bassey – confirmed that some thugs beat up the chairman, saying they were “totally embarrassed and disappointed by the behaviour of the commissioner.”
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