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Advocating an immediate cessation of deployment of armed goons from the Ebonyi State vigilantes known as Ebubeagu to attacks on his political opponents of the Ebonyi State Governor, leading Civil Rights campaigner, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has tasked the National Assembly to pass a resolution condemning the atrocities in the state.
HURIWA spoke against the backdrops of the reported abduction by Ebubeagu armed operatives in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State of erstwhile information commissioner in Ebonyi Chief Abia Onyike who is spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Governorship Candidate for 2023 poll.
In the same vein, the Rights group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko described as absolutely despicable, the reported machete attack by a lone wolf belonging allegedly to the Department of State Services (DSS) who fatally attacked the spokesperson of the Abia State PDP governorship candidate and former Deputy Speaker of the state Assembly Chinedum Elechi.
Calling on the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, to take stringent steps to stamp out professional misconduct and gross indiscipline amongst some operatives accused in July of extra judicial killings of over a dozen wedding guests in Imo State and now the knife attack in Umuahia Abia State.
HURIWA recalled that around July 18th this year following widespread condemnation of the assasination by security forces of over a dozen wedding guests in Orlu Imo state, the Imo state governor, Hope Uzodimma, in a tepid attempt to deflate widening soectres if criticism of the bloodshed, reportedly said the Department of State Services, DSS, would give details of what transpired regarding the alleged killings of youths at Awommama, Oru East Local Government Area, and Otulu community, Oru West Local Government Area of the state.
HURIWA recalled that Hope Uzodimma had disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, through his Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Oguwike Nwachukwu, after a security council meeting at the government house in Owerri, regarding the incident just as he confirmed that the DSS had briefed his government in an interim report made available to him (Uzodimma).
HURIWA recalled that it was reported that the youths, who were returning from a traditional wedding ceremony in Awomamma in Oru East to Otulu in Oru West LGA, were attacked by suspected members of the Ebubeagu security outfit. In the encounter, no fewer than 14 youths were attacked and reportedly seven were killed and many injured last Sunday.
HURIWA however stated that Imo State governor claimed then that the DSS not Ebubeagu carried out the operation even as he said in a statement: “The government had been briefed on the incident by the DSS in an interim report made available to members of the Security Council.
The DSS Director confirmed that his men carried out an operation in a Camp at Awommama with the assistance of their informant and not at a wedding place, as claimed by the youths and that it was in the process that some bandits were neutralised. The Security Council awaits a detailed report on the incident.”
HURIWA maintained that it is unfortunate that over a dozen youths of Igbo origin were wasted by the DSS under the guise of a security operation as claimed by the Imo State governor when the preponderance of opinions by stakeholders including the Catholic Church remains that these Wedding guests were simply executed by the DSS just as the Rights group warned that if internal mechanisms aren’t activated by the DSS of the Nigerian Staye to identify and prosecute the murderers in DSS uniforms, else the attention of the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands may inevitably be invited to investigate these murders.
HURIWA speaking specifically on the incident in Abia State few hours back, recalled that the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, had expressed outrage over the brutal attack and multiple machete cuts inflicted on a former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Chinedum Elechi, who is the director-general of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Organisation.
He alleged that the person behind the attack which happened last Sunday in Umuahia, the state capital, was an operative of the Department of State Services (DSS) from Ebonyi State Command. However, it could not be ascertained what brought the operative to Umuahia.
Ikpeazu expressed his anger in a statement issued yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, in which he also condemned the attack “in strongest terms,” saying the attacker must not go scot-free.
The statement said: “The campaign director-general was attacked by an individual who is alleged to be an operative of the DSS in Ebonyi State Command with a sharp machete, leaving him with multiple machete cuts all over his body.”
The governor demanded “a thorough investigation into this inexplicable display of murderous barbarism,” and urged the Abia State Commissioner of Police “to ensure that the assailant is made to face the full weight of the law.”
HURIWA condemns this brutality on a citizen of Nigeria and is challenging the Nigerian Police and the DSS to charge the indicted operative for attempted murder and ensure he gets the harshest punishment from the competent court of law to serve as deterrent.
HURIWA is challenging the Abia State government to act as a government by using the state’s Justice system to prosecute the alleged knife attacker identified as a DSS operative because the crime occurred in Abia State and the state must not act as a coward because the accused person belongs to the DSS.
HURIWA States that nobody in Nigeria is above the law just as the Rights group urged Abia State Governor to stop barking at the attacker but to let the State’s justice administrators take charge of the prosecution of this alleged knife attacker whose action if proven is a disgrace to the DSS.
HURIWA recalled that in Ebonyi State whereby the former Journalist and erstwhile information commissioner Abia Onyike was gruesomely tortured, it was reported that the Operatives of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit abducted and tortured a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ebonyi State, Chief Abia Onyike.
HURIWA gathered that Onyike, a former Commissioner for Information in the state and Deputy National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, was abducted at Octovia Pharmacy on WaterWorks Road, Abakaliki, where he was said to have gone to buy some drugs for his medication. While in the pharmaceutical store, two hefty armed men suspected to be Ebebeagu members walked in there, bundled him into their Sienna bus, and whisked him away.
The victim, who is a key spokesperson for the PDP governorship candidate in the 2023 general election in Ebonyi State, Dr Ifeanyi Odii, was reportedly taken to Ebubeagu Office in Abakaliki, where he was ordered to remove his clothes and brutally beaten up, until a call came for his release.
Reacting, the Ebebuagu Commander in the state, Friday Nnanna, said Onyike’s arrest was mistakenly done as he was arrested in the location where a suspect was being trailed.
According to him, “Immediately after his name, place of origin and personality was ascertained, he was released.
HURIWA has called for the arrest and prosecution of the Commander and operatives of the Ebubeagu that executed the operation that amounted to attempted extrajudicial execution just as the the Rights group condemned the fact that Ebubeagu continues to torment and torture political opponents of the Ebonyi State’s governor and President Muhammadu Buhari and the heads of all the security agencies at the centre have done nothing to restrain the armed security operatives from aiding and abetting these acts of political terrorism in Ebonyi State.