By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—Abia State government has called for the immediate release of citizens Felix Obisike and Gauis Nnadi, the two N-Power beneficiaries in Abia State who were arrested by the Directorate of State Services, DSS on a spurious claim of being in possession of result sheet of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for the postponed February 16 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The government, instead, called for the arrest and prosecution of the candidate for All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, Uche Ogah and the former secretary of Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Monday Ubani who it alleged, fabricated, circulated and planted the fake result sheet on the citizens to score cheap political points.
The state government alleged that the N-Power beneficiaries were lured into the campaign headquarters of Ogah in Umuahia, the state capital through a purported meeting of all the beneficiaries in the state, from where they planted the sheet on Obisike, tortured him and made him to admit the possession of the sensitive document under duress.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi alleged that investigation so far conducted by the state government indicated that Ogah and Ubani masterminded the heinous act on the citizens.
Specifically, Okiyi said that the video which had gone viral on social media since last week Thursday when the incident occurred left no one in doubt that Ubani supervised the torture and brutality on Obisike.
He said the state government would not sit by and watch its citizens suffer on account of inordinate ambitions of politicians who were bent on destabilizing the state.
Okiyi: “We are going to tell you our observations and tell you why Uche Ogah and Monday Ubani must be arrested now so that this country will not go up in flames. There must be some form of remedy for the young man that was first and foremost lured into a location, framed with that document, battered and tortured by a lawyer and others that should have protected him and finally, that young man is till in DSS custody because Uche Ogah is a friend to somebody who claims to be a Director of Operations in Abuja. The same person if you remember when we had the story of certificate of return, the same person who provided security to overwhelm Abia State so that Uche Ogah can take over Abia State government House is the same person who is behind the locking up of that young man and as a responsible government, we should protect citizen Felix Kennedy Obisike.
“Abia State government is concerned about the welfare of every citizen of the state. We are determined, prepared and have the resources to go all the way and fight for the rights and protection of every citizen of this state including Felix Kennedy Obisike. We will not allow him or his friend to suffer because of the inordinate political ambition of anybody.”
The commissioner also said that the N-Power programme had no political connotations and so, should not be a platform for desperate politicians to feather their nest.
He said that the state might be forced to withdraw its citizens from participating in the programme if the presidency does not remove it from the hands of Ogah.
“The NPower programme was never designed as a political tool to be used during elections. When the PDP government ran a Sure-P programme, that programme never invited any beneficiaries to a campaign programme. It is despicably absurd that someone purported to invite young beneficiaries of N-Power to a headcount at a campaign office. I am sure that Mr. President will be very angry finding out that somebody is trying to politicise something he intended for good because of political desperation.
“For us in Aba State government, the rights of our citizens have been infringed and we are going to fight for those rights and I need to warn that because of what has happened to Felix Kennedy Obisike and his friend Gauis, it is very possible that the N-Power programme may collapse automatically because every other person will be afraid of participating in that programme, knowing that in future, if desperate politicians like Uche Oga decide to use you either as a thug or as someone who will help him rig election and you refuse that he will abduct you, torture and frame you up.
“I call on those who designed that programme to take back their programme from Uche Ogah and such people by making it clear that that programme was never intended as a political basket where desperate and failing APC candidate can go and pick thugs from. If that is not done, then, I do not think that there is any basis for Abia State to release its citizens for them to continue to participate in that programme.”
Also speaking at the conference, Dr. ACB Agbazuaere, a lawyer representing Obisike and his family in the matter said that he had written to the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of State Services, giving them 48 hours to release the detained N-Power beneficiaries otherwise face a legal action.
He said he would be pressing for damages should the authorities fail to heed his calls.
“I have written to the Director-General of DSS. I have also written to IGP. Both Felix and his friend have done nothing. I want to call on the IGP to immediately arrest Monday Ubani and Uche Ogah and those other private persons who were carrying guns who had to emabrk on this illicit act together with them.
“If within 48 hours those people are not released, they will receive a lawsuit and I will ask for damages. INEC results are not typewritten and so that document has no probative value in law and the REC for INEC in Abia has also come forward to say it is not our document”, he said.
Narrating the event that led to the arrest of the N-Power beneficiaries, the Focal Person of the programme in Abia and Special Assistant to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Chinenye Nwogu said that Obisike who he said was the N-Power ambassador was lured to Ogah’s campaign headquarters in Umuahia after they countered a purported text messages calling for a headcount.
He said that Obisike was battered by thugs who were angered that his counter messages to the beneficiaries not to turn up for any meeting paid off.
Nwogu said that all enquiries from the DSS and INEC showed that the result sheet was fake as opposed to the handwritten one, appealing for the release of the beneficiaries.
“I have appealed to the Directorate of SSS to immediately release these N-Power beneficiaries in their custody because these are innocent young Nigerians who have become a pun in the cheeseboard of politicians who are bound to intimidate and manipulate the electoral process. I asked what possibly would an N-Power beneficiary be doing with a result sheet? He’s not an INEC official. He is even an adhoc staff of INEC. He’s not a member of a political party or a politician.
“I want to say that APC gubernatorial candidate in Abia should please allow these innocent, young Nigerians, beneficiaries of a social inclusion programme to leave them out of his political travails. We don’t want to be part of his issues. These NPower beneficiaries do not have any business at all, no role to play in the political process in Abia state”, Nwogu said.