By Deborah Hassan
365Daily– A former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Linus Okorie has cried out over an alleged plot by the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, to kill him using operatives of Ebubeagu, the South East regional security outfit.
In a press statement issued on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, Okorie disclosed that the Governor, through the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, declared him wanted after what appears to have been a state security council meeting.
He said it was curious that he was not invited by the police on any allegation prior to the declaration, neither was his offence disclosed. According to him, the development is one of the strategies of the state government to clamp down opposition in the state.
The ex-lawmaker added that his business interest, Citihub, is also being targeted by the state government and alerted the general public to hold the Ebonyi Governor responsible if any thing happens to him.
The statement read: “I wish to alert the world that this is another of the artful schemes of Governor Umahi to silence all opposition voices in Ebonyi state by criminalising its high profile leaders, use Ebubeagu to kill me on the excuse that I was evading arrest and also a veiled excuse to close down CitiHub event centre which has long been the desire of the governor and his close aides and family members.
“It is also a ploy to distract attention from the carnage that Ebubeagu has been wrecking on the the people of Ebonyi State as symbolised by the riots and killings in Akaeze in the past few days. Governor Umahi is simply looking for a high profile scapegoat to take attention away from the many lives being lost to Ebubeagu operatives across the state; and he has chosen me using his State Security Council.
“If, indeed, such a decision was arrived taken by the Security Council, one would doubt that the police and other security agencies were represented at such a meeting. This is because it is the duty of the Nigerian Police to investigate crimes and invite all named suspects for interrogation and even when a suspect fails to honor an invitation, there is a clear procedure that must be followed before such a person can be declared wanted by the police and not any security council meeting.
“Let it be known that I have never been invited to answer to any allegations by the Nigerian Police or other security agencies any where in Nigeria.
“Two, without so inviting by the police, I cannot lawfully be declared wanted by any authority for such an alleged crime by the police or any other authority under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Again, going through the excerpts of the media briefing, I find no particulars of the allegation leveled against me to warrant the defamatory declaration by the said state security council.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the law demands that before making a Wanted Declaration on a public platform or any other for that matter, the police ought to obtain a warrant of arrest duly signed and endorsed by a competent court. The said warrant must also be presented at the point of arrest and in it, the particulars of the arrest ought to be spelt out. Where a person sought to be arrested makes a run for it or evades arrest, then a declaration informing the public of the accused person’s status may be made.
“By implication of the above, where such an accused declared wanted is seen, the public (especially the Ebubeagu boys) is to assume that such a person is not just a wanted criminal, but also a potentially dangerous one. In effect, this declaration is an authority by the state government for Ebubaeagu to shoot me at sight, on the excuse that I “made a run for it”.
“The serious implication of this presumptions makes every deviation from the above process, as exemplified by this reckless declaration by the state security council, an abrogation of lawful processes, a clear indicator that the said agency (the State Security Council) seeks to appropriate to itself powers vested singularly in the courts and also a gross disrespect of the my dignity of self, especially as I am neither on the run, in hiding nor have any knowledge of the summon, invitation or intended arrest.
“Why impute that I am on the run or evading the police when the police had extended no formal invitation to me? Even a new recruit in the employ of the police force can fault this spurious action of the Security Council in declaring me wanted just to create the opportunity for the Ebubeagu agents to attack and kill me on the excuse of executing an illegal declaration.
“In summary, I have never been invited for questioning by the police for any crime at all. Even if I were so invited and had failed to attend, there is a lawful procedure through the courts to comply with before I could be declared wanted by the police, and not any security council meeting. Importantly, the media pronouncement of the declaration contained no particulars of the allegation against me so the public can make an informed assessment or I could offer a response.
“Accordingly, I see in this wild declaration a plot by the state government to not only close my lawful business in the state, but a ploy to unleash Ebubeagu operatives to kill me in the excuse that I was running away from arrest. These are all channeled towards silencing the opposition in the state by dealing a fatal blow on the major voice calling attention to the failings of the state government; especially the Ebubeagu security outfit.
“Given all the inconsistencies of the so called declaration by Uchenna Orji, I can only alert the world that my life is in extreme danger from Governor Umahi’s l Ebubeagu operatives. Should anything happen to me going forward, all fingers must point back to Gov. David Nweze Umahi.”