The Human Rights, Liberty Access & Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the attempted abduction and threats to life of the Ebonyi State Correspondent of The Punch Newspapers, Edward Nnachi.
Also petitioned by the group, are Amnesty International, Police Service Commission, Minister of Interior, and National Human Rights Commission.
In the petition, titled “Human Rights abuses, threats to the life of Edward Nnachi and other Journalists in Ebonyi State by agents purportedly working for the Ebonyi State Government and a demand for thorough investigations into the matter in the interest of justice”, the group urged IGP Adamu to investigation to unearth the whole truth about the human rights abuses on journalists and media practitioners in Ebonyi State.
A suspected member of Ebonyi State Neighborhood Security Watch, had on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at about 6.30pm, allegedly attempted to abduct Mr. Nnachi at the Udensi Roundabout, Abakaliki, where he was to board a tricycle home after his daily news gathering.
He alleged attempt was averted by the Police on patrol.
On interrogation, the suspect reportedly said he was acting on the orders of the Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Mr. Stanley Emegha.
But Emegha has since denied ever sending anybody on such assignment, adding that the Ebonyi State Government under Governor Umahi, had cordial relationship with journalists in the state.
It was gathered that the policemen were to bundle the suspect into their van as he could not provide identity card, to prove his claim to be a member of the State’s Neighbourhood Watch.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youths Mobilisation and President, Akubaroha Youths’ Assembly, Mr. Mark Onu, was said to have surfaced at the scene to intervene and in the process, asked the policemen to release the suspect, which they did.
HURIDE in its petition to IGP Adamu alleged that there are threats to life of Mr. Nnachi by agents of Ebonyi State Government and urged him to judiciously look into it and unravel the persons behind it.
The petition read in part, “Ebonyi State is quickly turning to a state of nature envisaged that is nasty, brutish and short, owing to the activities of these henchmen who are hell bent on soiling the image of the state government even though they purport to work for it.
“The life of Mr. Edward Nnachi is not only being threatened by these agents of darkness but also that of his family for reporting the dilapidated state of Ezzagu community, in the Ishielu Local Government Area of the Ebonyi State and the sorry state of the non-existing social amenities in the area.
“The security agencies in the State seem to be helpless as none of the incidents reported to them saw the light of the day and we have it on strong conviction that this, too, may go the same way and as such, we implore your office to come to the aid of Ebonyi State, Mr. Nnachi and other media practitioners.”