A former Commissioner for Forestry in Ogun State, Tunji Akinosi, has denied accusations of attacking a female activist, Abiodun Thomas.
He noted that the allegation that his car hit a hawker in the Onikan area of Lagos State was false.
Akinosi, a member-elect of the House of Representatives from Ado-Odo/Ota Federal Constituency of Ogun State, on Monday, had reportedly used his black Prado SUV to brush the hawker.
But the lawmaker denied the allegation, warning against mischief by those circulating an alleged video of the incident.
He also explained that though his car didn’t hit the hawker as claimed, he offered to be responsible for the victim’s medical treatment without any protest.
A short video clip of the scene showed that there was an altercation between Akinosi and Thomas.
The lawmaker’s reaction was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Re: Video Upload on Social Media – My Story’.
The statement issued on Wednesday was personally signed by the lawmaker.
The statement read, “My attention has been drawn to a trending video upload on some social media platforms.
“In order not let the mischief which was the clear intention of the person who recorded and also shared to take a firm root, I owe the sincere but unsuspecting public all the explanations to let them into the truth, the real truth of what transpired and not the distorted version which the video tried to portray.
“On the 1st of May, I attended a meeting of my Association in Lagos. There was the usual traffic around the Onikan area of Lagos, and this was made worse by the Workers Day celebration. I was not the one who drove the car. In fact, I was on a long phone call when one of the boys hawking items in the traffic on Lagos highways hit on my vehicle side mirror, and it (the side mirror) fell down. My driver stopped, and I queried his intentions, thinking he was going to apprehend the boy that hit the car, but he told me he needed to pick the mirror that was already on the floor. I couldn’t stop him from doing that.
“Thinking my driver was coming to claim damage, the boy went down and started pretending as if he had been injured. All these while I was still sitted in the car because I really did not think much of the damage to my car, neither was I going to press for any claims for repair.
“I was attracted to the deliberate mischief and smear campaign when a crowd had gathered around my car, while some banged on the car, asking me to come down from the vehicle.
“I alighted from the vehicle to the waiting camera of a lady who had just emerged from nowhere and started shouting, “I know you, you think we don’t know you,….” and trying to disclose my identity to others in the crowd.
“Even while I know there is a drama being played out and some mischief makers trying to profit from it with a smear campaign, I offered two options; the first being that we should all move to the police station nearby to log the incident and from there go to the General Hospital, Onikan which is also not far away from the scene of incident. I offered to pay all the bills for treatment if indeed his leg was fractured as they want the world to believe. My second condition was in the event the hospital could not establish a fracture as claimed. I will press for claims on damage to my vehicle side mirror.
“The moment the hawker heard my second option to press for claims on damage to my car, he jumped up and pleaded with me to allow him to continue hawking his wares. He said “Na those people say make I lie down,” pointing in the direction of the lady who was doing the video recording.
“Within minutes, everyone who gathered dispersed.
“I was surprised when people started calling me and some sharing with me the video, which sort to portray me as a conscienceless person. The sharing of the video by the lady, whom I later found out was ingloriously dismissed by the Ogun State Government for insubordination, rude and sharing false information about her superior officers, now deliberately target my person by callously personalising the matter leaving out the part where the hawker pleaded I allow him go.
“I know this is a deliberate attempt to blackmail me, and this will be handled by the appropriate authority.