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Published On: Sat, Jun 13th, 2020

Ebonyi indigenes in diaspora lambast gov Umahi over arrest of Onyike, others

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…Says action evil, undemocratic

By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in Disapora (AESID)- a Non-
governmental organization has lambasted
Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi for ordering the Directorate of State Security Services, DSS, to arrest one of his stern critics and erstwhile Commissioner for Information, Chief Abia Onyike.

The group which said it is passionate about the welfare of the State’s
citizens described the action draconian and undemocratic.

AESID in a statement issued yesterday by Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, its President Worldwide, said “We are deeply saddened that Governor Umahi who made the order while
giving an update on COVID-19 in the State at the Government House,
Abakaliki”.

It said the governor has continued to flourish on his anti-democratic credentials even on the eve of the celebration of Nigeria’s chequered democratic
experiment by ordering incessant arrests of citizens who share differing
views on matters of policies and governance in his five-year old
administration.

“The crime of Chief Onyike according to the Governor is the claim that he
came into Ebonyi from an ‘unknown destination’ and allegedly violated
the COVID-19 lockdown rules in the State by not quarantining himself. He
was consequently barred from entering his Edda village in (Afikpo South
LGA) by the anti-COVID-19 Task Force causing him to return to the State
capital.

“We are rudely shocked that Governor Umahi could stoop so low by
asking the State’s secret service to pick the former Commissioner up in
his Abakaliki residence for immediate isolation at its facility.

“This platform is however deeply worried that Governor Umahi’s arrest
order came barely 24 hours after Chief Onyike critiqued the Governor’s 5-
year old administration during a Radio Programme on 92.5 Enugu’s Dream
Fm. It is therefore a clear case of the witch crying in the night only for
neighbours to see the dead body of the baby the next morning and this
stands truly condemned by us and every reasonable Ebonyian.

“Assuming without conceding that the former Commissioner is positive for
Corona Virus, is the DSS which should be more deeply concerned with
tackling more pressing State security challenges such as kidnappings,
inter-communal unrests and several reported clashes the appropriate
agency to quarantine or isolate him? We sincerely frown at the flagrant
abuse of State powers through the incessant use of State security
apparatchik and unofficial State security outfits such as the
Neighbourhood Security Watch by the Governor to intimidate, harass,
molest, arrest and attack harmless and innocent citizens, particularly
those who share opposing views on his dictatorial style of governance.”

The group also alleged that another citizen of the State from Ezza North Local
Government Area of the State, Mr. Stephen Oken was picked by the DSS yesterday on the orders of the State on spurious and unsubstantiated allegations.

“We wish to remind Governor Umahi that the fundamental gain in any
democracy for the citizens the world over is freedom: freedom to choose
those who rule them, freedom to criticize them or their style of
government, freedom to criticize programmes and policies of government
and, most importantly, freedom to contribute by way of advice on how governance can be better improved.”

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