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A body of professionals from Ebonyi state, home and abroad under the umbrella of the Ebonyi Transparency and Accountability Network (E-TAN), has sent a warning to Governor David Umahi to desist from deploying the Ebubeagu Security outfit for intimidating his political opponents.
The group pointed out it had received with shock the alleged abduction and torture of the Senatorial candidate of the Labour Party for Ebonyi South District, Linus Okorie.
A statement by Okey Nwosu (President) and Ikechukwu Igbo (Secretary) which was made available to The Eastern Updates, called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to order a thorough investigation of the issue with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
The former House of Representatives member for Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency was reportedly abducted by the state-sponsored security outfit on October 16, 2022, on his way home in Abakaliki.
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E-TAN strongly condemned the assault on Okorie in violation of his right and dignity as a citizen of the state and Nigeria, while calling for his immediate release.
Part of the statement reads: ‘We note that such a heinous act of intimidation, harassment and threat to life under any guise make a mockery of our constitutional democracy in which the protection of lives and rights of citizens should be guaranteed by security agencies. It also negates the underlying imperatives behind the establishment of Ebubeagu. Such an incident, allegedly having a political undertone, is capable of heating up the polity, with undesirable consequences, if not urgently addressed.
‘We also note with deep worry the alarm raised by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on its deputy gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Nkata Chuku, and other candidates and members of the Party, who have been allegedly marked for attacks by political opponents, ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections. Such threats of violence and intimidation of opposition are red flags to achieving free, fair, peaceful, and credible elections.
‘We condemn any form of persecution of perceived political opponents in Ebonyi State.’
As an organisation committed to ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability, and deepening democracy in Ebonyi State, E-TAN, in addition, called on the State Government and IGP Alkali to ensure the uncovering and neutralising of any plans of violent attacks and intimidation by any political party and their agents whatsoever in the State, such as alleged by APGA.
It further urged the state Government to commit to providing a safe and level playing ground for all political parties and activities in the state, ahead of next year’s general elections.