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HURIWA knocks Umahi over attacks on PDP leaders in Ebonyi

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) has condemned the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, over his veiled attacks on leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after his switch to the All Progressives Congress (APC) a few days ago.

HURIWA, which faulted Umahi’s attempt at “hoodwinking the public into believing that the tension brewing up in the state following his defection to the APC, was the handiwork of PDP chieftains,” in a statement issued on Saturday by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko, chided the governor and urged him to concentrate on delivering quality governance instead of engaging in the war of words with the opposition.

Umahi had in a broadcast after a meeting with security agencies in Abakiliki, the state capital, on Friday, assured members of the PDP of peaceful coexistence provided they in turn, live peacefully with others instead of engaging in acts capable of causing breach of peace in the state.

He said: “I have reported allegations of some Ebonyi people engaging cultists and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, members to start killing and instigating crisis in the state. This is in the name of fighting the governor and the state government.”

He went further to accuse government officials in the state, former and serving, of being behind the recent tension in the state.

“I decided to share this information with security agencies because every governor in the state has been fought by these same people. A stitch in time saves nine. We are bringing this information to the public so that if it is true and starts happening, it will be known that I shared it with security agencies and the public.

“I also tasked security agencies to implement policies on vehicle-tinted glasses, use of siren and police escorts.

READ ALSO: Despite Umahi’s defection, PDP remains strong in South-East —Secondus

“Many people who use escorts are not entitled to them and these set of people show power when they get to the communities with their security escorts who shoot into the air.

“We do not want this to continue and the security agencies should dispossess them of such security details used to harass innocent citizens,” Umahi added.

However, in its reaction to the broadcast, HURIWA warned the security agencies to resist the temptation of allowing themselves to be used for witch-hunting of perceived enemies by anyone, regardless of his status in the state.

The advocacy group urged well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the governor to focus on governance instead of pitching security agencies against the public and his perceived enemies.

The HURIWA statement reads:

“The police and the military are still battling to clean up their bad image following the #EndSARS protest. Let the Ebonyi State governor not be allowed to drag the heads of the nation’s armed forces into partisan politics and thereby scuttling their professional and institutional pride of place.

“Umahi cannot be the judge and prosecutor in his own case. He can’t be allowed to use what he even admitted to as being fake news to accuse innocent Nigerians of sponsoring armed cultists to destabilize peace in Ebonyi State.

“Is he the Chief of Defence Staff or is he the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces that he now determines who gets police security or not?

“HURIWA is calling on the Nigerian Police Force to keep Mr. Dave Umahi on their watch list so that he can defend why he had to frame up allegations as weighty as sponsorship of armed cultists against persons who refused to defect with him to his newly found political family of All Progressives Congress.”

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