Former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State and spokesperson for Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Chief Abia Onyike, has cried out over what he said is an attempt by the state governor, Dave Umahi to silence and harm him for criticising his government.
Onyike who raised the alarm in a statement he sent to this correspondent on Friday, said the governor has forced him into 21 days quarantine for Coronavirus and sent officials of the Department of the State Services (DSS) after him because he criticised his government when HE participated as a guest on a radio programme in Enugu.
“I want to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of the public to the incessant intimidation and harrassment which I have been subjected to by Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi State and his agents. Gov. Umahi has vowed to employ all sinister measures to silence and prevent me from being critical of his anti-people administration,” Onyike said. “Personal abuses, threats to my life by his brothers and members of his family are too numerous and dirty to publish here.”
Onyike who chronicled his ordeal in the hands of the state officials said, “On Tuesday, the 9th of June, 2020, I was part of a three-man panel of discussants, invited by Dream FM Radio in Enugu to analyze the issue of leadership and democracy in the South-East geopolitical zone, as part of the celebration of 21 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in Nigeria.
In the one- hour programme, I took time to dissect, analyze and criticize Gov. Umahi’s oppressive, dictatorial and lawless government in Ebonyi State. I rightly accused the govt. of being nepotistic as Umahi had converted the state to a private family dynasty.
“After the programme, I returned to Abakaliki and was confronted same day by Mr. Austin Umahi, the governor’s younger brother who is the National Vice Chairman of PDP. He sent a message to my WhatsApp and threw caution to the winds by calling me names amidst other unprintable and derogatory comments, and sought to know why I criticized his brother’s government. Later on, he called me on phone and threatened my life, saying that they were going to deal with me.
“Then yesterday, Thursday, 11th June, 2020, Gov. Umahi used his live broadcast to issue an order that the security agencies should compel me to be isolated and quarantined.
“I wish to state categorically that the present step by Umahi is witch-hunt aimed at curtailing my fundamental human rights and freedom of speech. It was based on a letter issued by the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Afikpo South LGA (my LGA of origin). But this process is shrouded in mystery and contradictions. First and foremost, I am resident in Abakaliki and not Afikpo South LGA, so how come the letter is coming from the Afikpo South Council office, which alleged that I am a suspected CODIV-19 patient. The Council Chairman, Okechukwu Ogbuagu Chima is not a medical doctor but a surrogate character being manipulated by his superior authorities. It is important to let the world know why they are using the Caretaker Chairman of my LGA.