The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Ebonyi State, Professor Benard Odoh, and his Campaign Council have disclosed a fresh plot to destabilize the campaign of the party’s Senatorial candidate in Ebonyi South, Sir Ifeanyi Eleje, by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led-government in the state.
The party allegedly accused the state security outfit popularly known as Ebubeagu and its officials in Afikpo North Local government Area of Ebonyi state and the entire Ebonyi South senatorial zone of masterminds of the plots.
A statement by APGA’s Director, Media and Publicity, Odohzia Ebonyi Campaign Council, Comrade Charles Otu, said its findings showed that the State government has concluded plans to abduct, torture, and remand APGA supporters in Police custody and throw some others into the Correctional facilities.
According to the statement, APGA had earlier gotten hints of the Ebubeagu security operatives working under the Chairman of the Local Government Area, Mr. Uchenna Ibiam detailed to abduct, torture, and ransack the residences of the Senatorial candidate’s supporters.
APGA further alleged that the ground plan is to coerce its supporters into making confessions that they were sent by the party’s leaders to destroy and deface APC campaign billboards in the area.
The plots according to the statement, that the Ebubeagu militia acting on the instruction of the leadership of the council area invaded the residence of an APGA supporter, one Amobi Ujah was abducted while his friend and another party supporter, one Chijioke allegedly escaped.
The victim was consequently allegedly taken to the council area where he was severely tortured, forced to confess in a video and name the Director General of the Ifeanyi Eleje Campaign council, Mr. Iheukwumere Okogwu, among others. as sponsors behind the destruction of APC billboards in the area.
The statement further revealed that it was after, the Council Chairman, Mr Uchenna Ibiam, personally recorded the tortured victim (as he could be heard at the background of the video) having serious injuries inflicted on him by the Ebubeagu boys, they later handed him over to the State’s police command Headquarters in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital.
Consequently, the Ebubeagu officials invaded the residence of the said Mr. Okogwu at Ukpa village in Afikpo North in the early hours of Saturday, January 28, 2023, stealing a motorcycle and other valuable property in the compound, claiming to be hunting for him.
Continuing, the statement allegedly said Since then, Okogwu has not been seen and neither has his whereabouts known to the public. “Already, we were informed that there’s heavy tension in his Ukpa village over the invasion of his residence and gunshots were heard in the area.
“Sources also alleged that the said Ujah was coerced to mention the name of our Party’s Senatorial candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Eleje among others as being behind the allegations of billboards destruction all in their desperate bid to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“Another very authoritative source disclosed that upon receiving the briefing of the Afikpo North council Chairman, Governor David Umahi who doubles as the APC Senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South allegedly instructed the Ebubeagu team to arrest, humiliate, torture, maim and terrorize members and prominent supporters of our Party- the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA wherever they may be seen.
“The source further claimed the Ebubeagu militia were allegedly detailed to attack our Senatorial candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Eleje and inflict on him injuries of monumental proportion that will make him remain hospitalized till after the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“APGA and indeed the Odohzhia Ebonyi campaign council wishes to alert members of the public about this latest schemings and to deposit as follows:
“That the campaign train of our dear Party- APGA has been the most orderly and peaceful in the State. It is to the point that even when virtually all our candidate’s billboards and posters have been destroyed and defaced, we have since chosen to engage and speak directly to the voters, leaving the agents of government to be destroying inanimate objects like our billboards.
“That contrary to perhaps the expectations of the ruling APC and their army of destructive occupation, our campaign messages have already deeply penetrated the entire nooks and crannies of Afikpo North and indeed the entire Ebonyi South senatorial zone.
“This, we are aware greatly miffs the ruling APC who instead of engaging the electorate directly have been deceiving the Ebonyi public with its style of exporting it’s scanty supporters from one Local Government Area to another just to form a ‘rented crowd’ to impress the Governor and then deceive particularly non-residents of the State and those who may not be aware that they are not on ground and have since been rejected by the majority of Ebonyi electorate.
“We call on the Police authorities in Ebonyi state, particularly the Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba to immediately and unconditionally release the said Amobi Ujah.
APGA also urged the CP to investigate the entries and petitions already made by our supporters in the area and beyond, arrest and also arrest and prosecute all the illegally-armed and government-sponsored Ebubeagu operatives trying to cause tension and crises in the area.
The statement stated that the Police should invite the council Chairman for proper interrogations on his roles and those of his boys before the once-peaceful LGA turns into a theatre of war like its neighboring Afikpo South, Onicha, and Ohaozara LGAs where Governor Umahi’s armed para-military Ebubeagu militia has successfully caused to be engulfed in serious crises.
“That nothing should happen to the said Mr. Okogwu, our Senatorial candidate, any members of the families, or any of our stakeholders and supporters in Afikpo North LGA. “The various security agencies should thoroughly investigate the threats against them and the alarms raised as we cannot afford to lose a soul’s hair in the 2023 elections through the desperate and dastardly activities of an illegal and outlawed outfit like Ebubeagu.
“We call on the Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba Usman to immediately order an investigation into the wanton killings and unprovoked attacks on Umahi’s political opponents in Ebonyi State by this illegal para-military Ebubeagu Security outfit which he had already personally barred from participating in the activities leading to the 2023 general elections.
“Again, we join other Ebonyians and Nigerians including Civil Society groups to beckon on him to immediately disband the illegal Ebubeagu militia outfit and retrieve all the dangerous weapons they have stockpiled to terrorize innocent citizens before, during, and even after 2023 general elections.
“We also appeal to Afikpo leaders of thought, the Ekpuke Essa ruling council, and indeed, well-meaning sons and daughters of Ehugbo (Afikpo) to call the council Chairman and his boys to order to avert total breakdown of law and order. “Afikpo is a traditionally-governed society and it cannot afford to lose any soul because of mere politics. In our known tradition as a people, the offence of ever lifting a mere cutlass to threaten a fellow citizen in Ehugbo is still a punishable offense frowned at seriously by elders who can place a fine or a ban on anybody found to have done so.
“We call on leaders of the free world – the USA , UK , EU and others to independently investigate the assertions here and where there is merit impose far-reaching sanctions, including visa restrictions on the governor and his foot-soldiers to serve as a deterrent to others who may be inclined to anti-democratic conducts before, during and even after Nigeria’s 2023 general elections.
“May wisdom reign supreme and peace prevail in Ehugbo, the rest of Afikpo North and indeed, the entire Ebonyi State and Nigeria before, during, and after the 2023 general elections!
Meanwhile, the All progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), has partitioned the Inspector General of Police, Attention AIG Zone 9 Umuahia, Abia State, the presidency, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Defence Staff, INEC Chairman, Nigeria Intelligence Agency, NIA, National Security Adviser, NSA.
Others include; the Department of State Services,(DSS), Civil Defence, GOC 82 Division Nigerian Army, Senate Committee Chairman on Defence, the Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Coalition of Political Parties, CUPP, Senate Committee Chairman on Police Affairs, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria.
Including in the petition are; British Deputy High Commissioner, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Victor Oye, National Chairman, APGA, President of CAN, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, General Overseer, Christ Embassy church, House Committee Chairman on Police Affairs, President Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, House Committee Chairman on Defence, Amnesty International, Civil Liberty’s Organisation; Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), Human Rights Watch, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE).
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