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An Akwa Ibom man who made an unsubstantiated allegation that nine commissioners in Governor Udom Emmanuel’s cabinet tested positive for the coronavirus has retracted his statement.

George Udom published the remark against the commissioners, including a renowned hotelier, on Facebook. He was later arrested and charged with defamation.

During his trial at a magistrate court in Uyo, Mr Udom, 39, sneezed continuously in the courtroom, prompting the magistrate to order his isolation for 14 days at the hospital for health workers to ascertain if he was positive or not for COVID-19.

He is still in isolation at the Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo.

Mr Udom on May 2 took to Facebook to retract his claims which he said was “unverified.”

“I wish to sincerely apologize to Rev. Umoh Eno, the Royalty Hotels, the Akwa Ibom State Government and its commissioners for dragging the name of the state unduly,” he said in the Facebook post.

In his subsequent Facebook post, Mr Udom said he has been abandoned by the All Progressives Congress since his arrest and isolation.

“The first day I was arrested and detained, a young man I haven’t met before by name Kesh Umoh reached out to me, after a few words of sympathy he offered to contribute a token for my lawyers and stuff. I was shocked to get an alert of N50k. We’ve never met,” he wrote on the social media site.

“Few days later, a friend by name Da Zion Umoh reached out to me and asked the way forward, I told him no one is responding, as usual he told me point blank that the scavenger in the party will never reach out, again he requested for an account, I was shocked to received N50k from him. 50k is not small money if you’re from the streets.

“I may not know the reason but as I’m speaking to you from my detention room, apart from these two gentlemen and the members of my family who are all PDP members, no single APC politician or any politically exposed persons from that party has reached-out to anyone around me in connection to this case, starting from the APC-National, APC-State or even those at the Local.

“This is my clear message to most of you. It’s simple. Don’t go and kill yourself for any political party or politician.”

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