The Cross River State Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography, Chief Offu Aya has reportedly assaulted a colleague in the sports ministry.
Offu was alleged to have ordered thugs to beat up the Chairman of the State Sports Commission, Emmanuel Elom over office space.
DAILY POST gathered that the incident occurred on Monday morning at the U. J. Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar, Cross River State when the Commissioner, Chief Aya assumed office and went to occupy the office.
According to Elom whose clothes were torn and his phone taken away, he lamented that he had asked the commissioner to relocate to his office at the State secretariat and leave the stadium office for him, which angered the commissioner.
“A few months down the line after we went to be cleared by the State House of Assembly and came back, we are still wandering and I have been working from my car. So I got to meet with the 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 sent a letter to him asking him to go 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 the office this morning and discovered that there were thugs in the office. I went to the VIP Lounge where my office is and I discovered that the thugs were sitting there, smoking hemp and drinking hot drinks.
“When I saw this, I could not stand it and decided to go to the Commissioner to find out what happened. As I turned to go, one of the thugs got up and slapped me from behind. The Commissioner came with a whip and they started beating me with whips and machetes, took my phones and broke my eye-glasses.
“I kept quiet because this is official and if you have an official issue, why do you bring in thugs to attack the commission and its members?” he fumed
According to the Commission Chairman, he had to make a call to the State Security Adviser’s office and the Commissioner of Police with the only phone left on him “Because they were carrying charm and I am surprised that a Commissioner could behave like a tout, reducing the high office of a commissioner to that of a thug.”
He added: “The law that established the commission made it clear that the commission will be in charge of everything sports, from organization, implementation and all. The responsibility of the sports ministry is to formulate policy while the implementation rests with the commission. These issues are clear. This is an aberration; it should not be and will not be”.
Elom explained that the Ministry of Youths and Sports was divided into two with the Commissioner for Youths occupying the office at the state secretariat. However, the Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography decided to use the stadium where the commission has its office.
“But if you come and realize that there is a commission, does that not tell you that, as a responsible citizen you should start initiating the process of moving back to your office so that this altercation will not happen. He has acted irresponsibly and I am very embarrassed,” the Sports commission boss said.
Efforts to reach the Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography, Chief Offu Aya proved abortive as he was said to have driven off from the stadium after locking it up. All calls to his cell phone were unanswered, and a text message sent to him was never replied as at the time of writing this report.
But the Director of Sports and Secretary to the Sports Commission, Mr. Jude Amadi as well as the Director of Facilities and Stadium Manager, Mr. Etim Okon Coco-Bassey, confirmed the Chairman’s story with both of them saying they were “totally embarrassed and disappointed by the behaviour of the Commissioner.”
Our correspondent gathered that some athletes were at the stadium when the incident happened but the Commissioner ordered all of them, including the stadium manager and the Commission’s Secretary to leave immediately, while locking the stadium and leaving with the keys.