Ebonyi State in Eastern Nigeria is fast becoming Nigeria’s most dangerous killing field largely due to the 2023 presidential bid of Governor Dave Umahi.
Concerned indigenes, among them, elder statesmen, professionals and community leaders, are ringing the alarm over alleged incessant killings and harassment of political opponents in the state.
While noting with dismay the deteriorating security situation and rising political tension across various local government areas that could lead to a breakdown of law and order, they are arguing that since Umahi left Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the state has been on the boil.
Governor Umahi who is running for All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket, defected to his new party last year. Since then, local sources say he has been having a running battle with opposition parties, particularly PDP, and allegedly using Ebubeagu to attack rising voices against his administration and presidential ambition.
There are alleged gruesome killings in Ikwo, Akpoha and Akaeze as well as abductions, torture and detention of citizens over social media posts.Persons alleged to have been attacked include Darlington Onwe and Solomon Ukpai, an engineer.
They were allegedly attacked for demanding accountability on the disbursement of Ebonyi State EndSARS Youth Fund and insulting the governor on social media.
In a statement by the Conveners of Oganihu Ebonyi, a socio-cultural group, Dr Laz Ude Eze and Dr Ezeh Emmanuel Ezeh as well asAni, Nwachukwu Agwu, its Director of Research and Strategy, they strongly condemned the recent beheading of an operative of Ebubeagu in Ekpelu, Ikwo community, violent protests in Akaeze and other alleged human rights abuses, torture and extra-judicial killings in the state.
According to them, rather than criminalising dissenting views on state policies, the Umahi administration should better applaud those who proffer alternative views on public policy as most of them have wisdom.
They are urging the governor to “go beyond describing the killings as barbaric and take concrete steps to reviewing the Standard Operating Procedure of Ebubeagu and expedite action on the Ebonyi State Security Tracker Project (ESSTP) which collates and documents cases of violent deaths and political violence in the state.”
The group urges all state and non-state actors to prioritise public peace as they go about their legal and constitutionally-protected businesses. God bless Ebonyi State. God bless Nigeria.
Equally raising alarm on the activities of Ebubeagu, a security outfit, Presieent of Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID), Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, said in the last two weeks, no fewer than 10 persons have been arrested and tortured by the state security outfit.
He condemned the alleged arrest, torture and continuous detention of the spokesman of PDP, Nwoba Chika Nwoba, on the orders of an Ebonyi Magistrate Court that he should be allowed to first go and receive treatments.
He then called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to sack the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, for his alleged inability to curtail the activities of “illegal Ebubeagu security outfit terrorising innocent citizens of the state.”
The group also called on the police high command and the Nigerian government to arrest the Ebubeagu members, disarm and disband the group for allegedly “terrorising Ebonyians.”