*release of arrested victims, protection for journalists, others
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has asked the Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba, to sack the Ebonyi state Commissioner of Police Aliyu Garba for his inability to curtail the activities of “illegal Ebubeagu security outfit terrorizing innocent citizens of the state.”
The Ebonyi indigenes in diaspora also called on the IGP and the Nigerian government to arrest the Ebubeagu members, disarm and disband the group for “terrorising Ebonyians.”
In a statement signed Sunday and made available to newsmen in Abuja by AESID’s President Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, alleged of persistent attacks being unleashed against dissenting and opposition voices in the state by mercenaries, operating under the guise of Ebubeagu Security Network and a controversial, anti-democratic Cyber Crime Prohibition laws assented to last year by the state governor, Engr. David Umahi.
Oluchukwu said: “In our dear Ebonyi state, the past few weeks have left Social media users, critics of the state government and indeed, members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP in particular in a thunderbolt as government thugs and agents serving their hireling’s interests have been clamping down on them, abducting, torturing and handing over critics to the Police at points of near death.
“Most disturbing among the many reported cases which our competent sources have tracked and reported to us in the State is the arrest, torture and continuous detention of the Spokesman of the PDP, Nwoba Chika Nwoba in custody despite the grievous bodily harms he received and against the orders of an Ebonyi Magistrate Court that he should be allowed to first go and receive treatments.
“We do not want to imagine that Umahi who had sometime last year told a visiting Security Chief that his government will leave the Courts out of the attempts to curb fake news, promising to enact his own despotic law that will regulate the Ebonyi Social media space indeed has fulfilled his vows by even making the Attorney General of the State the final authority for anyone arrested under the law to be tried, remanded in prison or freed at the mercies and whims of the State government. A Section of that outrageous law, sighted by us, irritatingly demands a written permission from the Attorney General and the Ebonyi State’s Commissioner for Justice for a victim to be tried or an appeal made at the High Court of the state.
“Consequently, the members of Ebubeagu Security Network which, unlike their Amotekun counterparts in the South West was constituted to checkmate the excesses of marauding herders who have been killing farmers in the region in their numbers have abandoned their supposed mandate to become a witch-hunting tool to hound, hack and crackdown on opposition elements and critics in Ebonyi state.
“In the last two weeks, no fewer than at least 10 persons have been arrested under the guise of this obnoxious law and not less than 7 persons have been killed in various parts of the State; two in Akpoha, Afikpo North LGA, one in Akaeze in Ivo LGA, another in Ugwuachara in Abakaliki, two in Ikwo LGA and numerous other incidents of Ebubeagu-initiated terror acts against our people that we may not readily mentioned for want of space.
“Others, such as one Solomon Ukpai, Ibiam Junior, the PDP Organizing Secretary in Ezza South and others whose names we cannot continue to list have been severely tortured right inside a dungeon in the old Government House and handed over to the Police only at the point of unconsciousness. And the Police who act in compromise with the State government further metes its own wicked acts on the victims to either die in their writhe of pains or be remanded in prison custody till the victim does the bidding of the Governor which is often to sign an undertaken.
“It is needless to recount the ordeals of many journalists who the Governor had vowed to continue to chastise with koboko and life bans if they think they have the pen.”
While calling on the Nigerian Police boss to act fast, the statement said: “Consequently, we call on Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police to, without delay relieve the State’s Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba of his appointment having been unduly compromised by the Ebonyi state government so much so that the Police cannot even arrest or disagree with the members of the illegal Ebubeagu security outfit terrorizing innocent and harmless citizens of the State.
“We also urge him to immediately deploy to the State, an urbane, morally sound and courageous officer who would not dance to the whims and caprices of Umahi whose government is growing into a full-blown dictatorship.
“AESID further beckons on the IGP and indeed, all security agents in Nigeria to ensure it protects few voices such as; Charles Otu- a journalist who has maintained his reputation of holding the state government accountable by voicing out against the oppressive attacks on Ebonyians by Ebubeagu and other government agents and also some lawyers such as Amos Ogbonnaya and Ifeany Nworie among others that have remained resilient amidst the raging onslaughts against democracy in Ebonyi state.”