By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Famous rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Saturday, chided Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi for allegedly trying to hoodwink the public into believing that the tension brewing up in the state following his defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, was the handiwork of chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The governor had in a broadcast to the people on Friday after a meeting with security agencies in Abakiliki, the Ebonyi state capital, assured members of the PDP of peaceful coexistence provided they in turn, live peacefully with others.
“I have reported allegations of some Ebonyi people engaging cultists and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, members to start killings and instigating crisis in the state. This is in the name of fighting the governor and the state government,” Umahi said, even as he accused ex-and serving government officials of being behind the recent tension.
“I decided to share this information with security agencies because every governor in the state has been fought by these same people. A stitch in time saves nine; we are bringing this information to the public so that if it is true and starts happening, it will be known that I shared it with security agencies and the public.
“I also tasked security agencies to implement policies on vehicle-tinted glasses, use of siren and police escorts. Many people who use escorts are not entitled to them and these sets of people show power when they get to the communities with their security escorts shooting into the air.
“We do not want this to continue and the security agencies should dispossess them of such security details used to harass innocent citizens,” he added.
However, reacting to the state broadcast, HURIWA cautioned security agencies to resist the temptation of allowing themselves to be used for “political witch hunt” of perceived enemies by anyone regardless of his status in Ebonyi state.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Executive Director of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko urged well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on Governor Umahi to focus on issue of governance, rather than pitching security agencies against the public given the lessons learned in the recent EndSARS protests that swept across the country.
“The police and the military are still battling to clean up the bad image. Let the Ebonyi State governor not be allowed to drag the heads of the nation’s armed forces into partisan politics and thereby scuttling their professional and institutional pride of place.
“Umahi cannot be the judge and prosecutor in his own case. He can’t be allowed to use what he even admitted to being fake news to accuse innocent Nigerians of sponsoring armed cultists to destabilize peace in Ebonyi State. Is he the Chief of Defence Staff or is he the Commander in chief of the Armed forces that he now determines who gets police security or not?” the statement read in part.
The group counselled relevant authorities to take note of the allegations made by the governor, stressing that upon the expiration of his immunity, he should be invited to clear the air on those he alleged to be sponsoring cultists in the state.
“HURIWA is calling on the Nigerian Police Force to keep Mr. Dave Umahi on their watch list so that he can defend why he had to frame up allegations as weighty as sponsorship of armed cultists against persons who refused to defect with him to his newly found political family of All Progressives Congress,” it added.
Onwubiko recalled how the residence of immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu was searched when a fake security alert was raised and how the man behind the alert was subsequently arraigned in court when nothing incriminating was found in the building.