I was never fingered in any attack on Cross River Forestry Commission officials — Chief Asegem Emmanuel

The Chairman Anti-Deforestation Task Force (North) , Governor’s Office, Calabar, Chief Asegem Emmanuel has refuted a story that appeared in the Sunday publication by www.Calitown.com news blog of 27th November, 2022 entitled: “Wood: Ayade’s Aide Fingered In Attack on CR Forestry Commission Officials“, saying it is a deliberate misinformation by some agents of the Commission to mislead and incite the public against him.

The rebuttal which was personally signed by Chief Asegem and made available to SolomonIsandsblog stated the facts of the matter as follows:

1) The Chairman Cross River Anti-Deforestation Taskforce North was never at the scene of the incident nor in direct connivance with perpetrators of the attack. On this particular day, Chief Asegem was bidding final respect to his elder whose burial took place on November 23-24, 2022 and those alleged to have beaten officials of the commission were with Chief Asegem at the burial. It is inhuman for people in a mourning mood to have the luxury of engaging in any altercation with a recognized government agency officials.

2) The allegation of Mr Frank Edu, DG Cross River Forestry Commission that the altercation between the forestry commission and timber dealers on the said date at Mfuma Ntrigom is a distortion of the facts on ground thereby rendering it concocted, baseless and utterly puerile.

3) The DG Forestry Commission, Mr Frank Edu in a phone conversation with the Chairman had denied pointing fingers on Chief Asegem as culprit.

4) The said Hilux Vehicle as shown below belonging to one of the timber dealers based in Ogoja was a mistaken identity and not owned by Chief Asegem as alleged. The ash coloured Hilux we saw does not belong to Chief Asegem as alleged by marauding blackmailers, said the DG.

Investigations reveals that the attack may be the handiwork of Timber Dealers against the exploitation of Forestry Commission officials and not Chief Asegem nor any of his men as being alleged. This is due to the known fact that the
Forestry Commission Officials and Timber Dealers had disagreements over their weekly payments.

Chief Asegem said the unfortunate altercation has nothing to do with the Anti-Deforestation Task Force and he is challenging those behind the malicious lies to prove themselves.

“I challenge those fuelling the unfounded allegation against me to show proof in any form or tender a public apology within 24 Hours. As a very committed member of the government, I have high regard for human dignity and sanctity of life. Thus, i can’t condescend to that level as painted by brazen falsehood circulated by peddlers and merchants of lies.”

Asegem further said that the purported attack by officials of Cross River Anti-Deforestation Task Force in Northern Senatorial District is not true especially the circumstance of the attack which occurred when he was in a sober mood following the death of his elder brother whose burial took place on the 23-24 November, 2022.

As a standing procedure, Cross River Anti-Deforestation Task Force under Chief Asegem is committed to fostering synergy with the Forestry Commission and security agencies to forestall illegal logging of woods in line with government’s directive against deforestation in any guise. It does not engage in acts of violence as portrayed by the purveyors of the publication.

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