Mike Mku, a former governorship candidate in Benue State, has alleged that George Akume, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, assaulted him during the wedding of the son of the Tor Tiv, Prof James Ayatse, in Makurdi, the state capital, last Saturday.
Mku, who contested the 1999 and 2003 governorship election against Akume, made the claim in a statement he issued on Friday.
According to the politician, the incident occurred where he and other prominent Tiv sons sat at the wedding reception.
He claimed that Akume, a two-time governor of Benue State, shoved him and threatened to use his orderly to move him out of the venue.
The statement read: “First and foremost, the report of the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, having physically and violently assaulted me at the wedding of the son of the Tor Tiv, Prof James Ayatse, last Saturday in Makurdi, is true.
“The incident took place where I sat at the wedding reception with a number of other illustrious Tiv sons.
“I shared a table on the occasion with Chief Edward Ashiekaa, Chief Joseph Zendesha, Chief Jime Akaakar, Senator Jack Gyado, Dr Philip Iyortyer and some others, and it was at that table that the physical assault on me by Akume occurred.
“The minister had approached our table and we all stood to exchange pleasantries with him, and one after the other he shook hands with and even hugged some of those my table mates I have mentioned.
“However, when he got to me and I made to shake hands with him, he abruptly shoved me violently in the chest almost knocking me over backwards.
“In shock, I protested and asked him why he behaved so, but he proceeded to order his orderly to take me out of his sight as he angrily waged a finger in my face prompting the security man to move towards me.
“At this point, I angrily told the security man not to come near me before those around us moved in and joined by others. They made several appeals to Akume and eventually took him away from the scene
“In the interest of peace and the unity of the Tiv nation where we both belong I have taken the matter to the (Tiv) Traditional Council rather than seek legal remedy.”
But reacting, Akume described Mku’s claim as “false and unfounded”.
Aondona Mkor, Akume’s media aide, stated that what Mku said about him should be ignored.
“Mku should know in that event other people were there and eyewitnesses who sat at the same table with him would always tell anyone what they saw.
“As far as we are concerned, what Mku said is a blatant lie; it’s mischievous and an act of blackmail against the minister.
“The minister did not slap him or assault him,” he said.