Abakiliki: Concerned Ebonyi State citizens and activists under the aegis of Save Ebonyi Group, today, Friday, 21st October, 2022 held a peaceful protest along the streets of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, to press home their request that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, should save their lives from the Ebonyi State Governor, Engr Dave Nweze Umahi, who was alleged to have turned the state into “a war zone with his Ebubeagu militia”.
The text of a press statement they sent to various media houses reads
“Text Of World Press Conference by Save Ebonyi Group Issued At the ‘March for Democracy’ Held in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
- The Save Ebonyi Group is a coalition of Civil Society Organisations and concerned Nigerian citizens in Ebonyi State promoting peace and participatory democracy.
- We are terribly disturbed by the anti-democractic tendencies of the Ebonyi State Government led by Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi. The State has undoubtedly become a war zone orchestrated by State agents under the directive of the governor. There has been consistent and shameful disregard to the rule of law, intimidation, abduction and torture of innocent citizens, as well as oppression of the opposition.
- We rise to alert President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians and the whole world in particular on the disturbing issues in our dear state, and call for the rescue of our people.
- Going down memory lane, Governor Umahi who was elected the third civilian Governor of the state in 2015 have become the direct opposite of a civilian leader, and has therefore turned himself into a demi-god, a maximum dictator of sort and has consistently exhibited acts that runs affront to the letters of 1999 constitution (as amended) which he had swore an oath to protect.
- Ebonyi state under Governor Umahi has no accomodation for divergent opinions whatsoever as anyone that offers contrary opinions on policies and programmes of Government are visited with his ‘koboko’. A recent viral video that showed footages of where the governor directed and supervised the flogging of civil servants by soldiers was just a tip of what Ebonyi people have been enduring.
- Permit us to list some of the atrocious acts sanctioned or defended by the David Umahi administration.
- Yesterday, 20th October 2022, Professor Benard Ifeanyi Odoh- the APGA governorship candidate and his campaign team escaped death after an attack by Gov. Umahi’s Ebubeagu militia and suspected hoodlums loyal to the APC Governorship Candidate, Hon. Ogbonnaya Nwifuru. This came 3 days after the party raised alarm over a plot to attack its candidates.
- On Sunday, 16th October 2022, a former House of Representatives member that represented Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency, Hon. Linus Abaa Okorie was abducted by the Ebubeagu militia and is currently being remanded in Abakaliki prisons with trumped up charges. He’s also Gov. Umahi’s opponent in Ebonyi South Senatorial Election on the platform of Labour Party.
- Nwoba Chika Nwoba of the People’s Democratic Party as the Spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party suffered a similar fate when he was abducted by thugs loyal to the same Speaker of Ebonyi State’s House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru on the 9th of January 2022 along the Abakaliki-Enugu Federal Highway.
- Engr. Solomon Ukpai was abducted from his house in January 2022, taken to the Ebubeagu Torture Chamber at the Old Government House in Abakaliki, and tortured for 10 days, and released without charges. Just two days ago, the PDP State Chairman, Mr. Tochukwu Okorie alleged on a national Television that over 20 innocent youths of Ebonyi State are currently undergoing torture at the said torture chamber in the old Government House, Abakaliki.
- A former Commissioner for Works in the State, Engr. Paul Okorie was attacked by dreadful squad of the government in Ugwulangwu Ohaozara LGA for holding a meeting with members of his political family belonging to the APC in 2018.
- The media are also major victims of the Umahi administration.
A popular journalist, Mr Charles Otu who at that time was the Ebonyi State reporter of the Guardian Newspaper in July 2017 was beaten near death and detained in an underground cell in the old government house for days and it took only the intervention of God to restore him back to life.
- Chijoke Agwu and Peter Okutu reporters of daily sun and vanguard respectively was banned by Governor Umahi from accessing any government building in the state because of independent stories they published in their tabloids.
- In 2021, Barr Amos Ogbonnaya a former Coordinator of Anuagata Development Centre in the state was abducted and beaten to near death with his bones cracked by the killing squad of the Ebonyi State Government. Their aim was to bury him in alive bit for the public alarm.
- Same year, Darlington Onwe was viciously threatened and hunted by Gov. Umahi’s agents for simply demanding accountability on the N3 billon “#EndSARS Youth Empowerment Funds”.
- The Government which doesn’t tolerate opposition in the state has gone ahead to ban meetings of the opposition Political Parties in the state as some of the “alleulia boys” of the Governor like Mr Chidiebere Uzor who is the Chairman of Onicha LGA have started full implementation in his local government area with other LGA’s to follow suit. It was in line with the said ban that the government in collaboration with the police and Ebubeagu reportedly disrupted a football match in Oshiri.
- More so, the entire Nigeria is aware of the disruption of the Ebonyi Obidient rally in support of the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi- the first and only State where such incident has been witnessed.
- The Ebubeagu group led by Mr Ernest Nweze who is the State’s Vice Chairman of APC for Ebonyi South disrupted meeting of opposition Political Parties Chairmen (IPAC), picked up the leader of the group, Mr Ani Pascal, State Chairman of Accord Party and detained him in an underground cell in the said Old Government House after serious torture.
- Recall that there is a pending suit against the Ebonyi State Government at the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking the nullification of the Ebubeagu establishment law.
The Save Ebonyi Group hereby demand as follows:
- That President Buhari should call the Ebonyi State Government led by Governor Umahi to order, to stop his anti-democractic actions in the state.
- That the Federal High Court Abuja should accelerate hearing on the suite seeking to disband Ebubeagu.
- That the IGP and National Security Adviser should enforce their regulation on the non-use of regional or state security outfits for election relates duties.
- That Governor Umahi and his lieutenants be made to enter a commitment to stop the further tormenting of the opposition in the state and to ensure a peaceful campaign and election ahead of the 2023 general election in the state.
- That the Inspector General of Police (IGP) should redeploy the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Aliyu because of his known collaboration with the state government in undermining the opposition in the state.
- That the IGP, Usman Baba order a very diligent investigation with a tactical team under his direct supervision into the allegations of a torture chamber existing in Ebonyi old Government House, Abakaliki with a view to freeing the trapped victims.
- That Hon. Linus Okorie and other illegally detained personalities should be unconditionally released because anything beyond that will be an invitation to turmoil in the State.
For the Save Ebonyi Group:
- Dr. Laz Ude Eze – Oganihu Ebonyi Movement.
- Engr. Chinedum Elekwachi – CUPP
- Mrs Blessing Egbedi-Nwankwo – Obidients Movement, Ebonyi State.
- Comrade Emmanuel Ogbu – Concerned Ebonyi Citizens
- Maazi Moses Idika – Worried Nigeria Citizens.
- Okaji Sylvester Ogbu – Ebonyi Development Vanguards”