Operations of Ebubeagu Security Network in Ebonyi State have been declared illegal by a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki.
Justice Akintayo Aluko gave the ruling Tuesday in a suit filed by Mr Abia Onyeike, the director of media and publicity in the Ebonyi PDP Governorship Campaign Organisation. The suit sought the intervention of the court in his abduction and torture by the security outfit in November, 2022. The court also awarded N50m damages in favour of Onyeike.
The court ruled that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly lacked the power to create the outfit. The judge further ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police to acquire the guns and logistics used by the group as tools of oppression.
Recall that the network was created in Ebonyi State in April 2021 aimed at ensuring peace in the state, in collaboration with conventional security organisations. The outfit is an initiative of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, under the leadership of Gov Dave Umahi. The outfit is only operational in Ebonyi and Imo states until the ruling.
Its operations in Ebonyi have however come under heavy criticism, especially from the opposition political parties claiming that the All Progressives Congress in the state are using the outfit to intimidate them.
The Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) earlier called on the federal government to abolish the outfit in Ebonyi State.
Its national president, Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, claimed that Gov Dave Umahi was using the security network to commit human rights violations.
According to him, “If nothing is done to disband the security outfit, the state would experience inexplicable bloodbath that would be perpetrated by the happy-trigger group.
“Ebubeagu is now a terror to villagers and a tool of harassment, torture and intimidation against any perceived political enemy of Governor Umahi. The activities of Ebubeagu are becoming worrisome and unbearable.
“The National Security Adviser, National Director of State Security Service, Inspector General of Police must as a matter of urgency understand that Ebubeagu in Ebonyi State is a time bomb waiting to blow.
“It is, therefore, very necessary at this time to banish Ebubeagu in Ebonyi before 2023 general elections, otherwise heads will roll.”
The state government is yet to react to the ruling as at the time of filing this report.
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