Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has ordered thorough investigations into the killing of his former aide, Chief Geoffrey Mgbada, a former member of the Abakaliki Capital Territory Development Board.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mgbada, who was the Secretary of the state’s Elders Council, allegedly died on Tuesday, in the hands of suspected members of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) state Department of Transport.
Umahi, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Uzor, described the death of the elder statesman as `callous’ and ordered that all those involved in the act be prosecuted according to law.
“The governor ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state to prosecute the suspects who parade themselves as VIO officers adding that he had in a town hall meeting, proscribed all task force groups using the government as cover.
“In the proscription order, the governor dissolved all revenue and tax agents in the state at all levels with a promise to convoke another town hall, where a new tax and other revenue will be agreed upon.
“The governor is yet to convoke such meeting before the ugly incident as he dissociates the government from the illegal activities of such groups which caused the careless death of the elder statesman,” the statement read.
The governor, according to the statement, commiserated with the family of the deceased and vowed to ensure that justice was done in the matter.
“The governor urged the public to resist the activities of illegal revenue agents as the only body legally permitted to collect revenue on the government’s behalf is the newly inaugurated Board of Internal Revenue (BIR),” it read.
The statement recalled that Mgbada met his death in the hands of the suspected VIO officers on illegal duty along the Presco-Ezza road, Abakaliki.
“The deceased who was driving with his wife, was intercepted by the VIO officers and an argument ensued which led them to push him.
“He fell from the push, hit his head on the concrete road and died as two members of the VIO team have been arrested by the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the state Police Command.
“The deceased’s corpse has been deposited at the mortuary of the Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki.
Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner in Ebonyi, Mr Awosola Awotinde, confirmed to NAN that two members of the suspected VIO team have been arrested and full scale investigation into the matter has commenced.
“We will leave no stone upturn to unravel the circumstances surrounding Mgbada’s death as the investigation will reveal all those involved in the act,” he said.
Efforts made by NAN to speak with the Head of VIO unit proved abortive as he was not available for comments.
Why Gov. Umahi is after me- Abia Onyike former Ebonyi Commissioner
Chief Abia Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation in Ebonyi, has explained reason behind his present ordeal with Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi.
Onyike in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abakaliki, explained that Umahi and his agents were after him due to his criticism against the governor’s style of administration.
NAN recalls that Umahi in his live COVID-19 weekly radio broadcast to update the people, had directed the Director, State Security Service to ensure that Onyike was compelled to under go compulsory COVID-19 test.
He was directed to isolate/quarantine Onyike for 14 days for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 protocol restricting order on inter-state travels.
The statement was captioned, ‘Harassment, Intimidation and Isolation/Quarantne: Gov. Umahi’s Tactical Maneuvers To Silence Me From Criticising His Government’.
The former commissioner who also was the General Manager of Ebonyi Publishing and Printing Press, alleged that Umahi had employed all subterranean tactics to muzzle him and stop him from constructive criticism of the administration.
Onyike, a former National Deputy President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and first Chairman, NUJ Ebonyi Council, has however vowed to resist any form of harassment, intimidation or persecution in his quest to get the government do the right thing.
The statement reads: “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 and his agents.
” Umahi has vowed to employ all sinister measures to silence and prevent me from being critical of his anti-people administration.
“On Tuesday, June 9, I was part of a three-man panel of discussants invited by 92.5 Dream FM Radio in Enugu.
“The live radio programme was to analyse 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 and analyse Gov. Umahi’s administration government in Ebonyi.
” I accused the government of being nepotic, as the governor 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 criticised his brother’s government.
“Then, Thursday, June 11, 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 a calculated 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 Local Government Area, 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.
” I wish to state that I will not be comfortable with any test being conducted by Gov. Umahi’s agents in Ebonyi as the governor and his brother, Austin had threatened to kill me.
Edited By: Obike Ukoh (NAN)
COVID-19: Umahi directs returnee former aide to isolate for 14 days
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has directed the former state Printing and Publishing Corporation’s General Manager, Chief Abia Onyike, to isolate for 14 days after returning to Ebonyi from a trip.
Umahi gave the directive on Thursday during a state broadcast, directing the state Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) to ensure that Onyike, who was a former commissioner for Information in the state, complied with the directive.
Umahi said that the directive was not a punishment but a measure to protect the people as it also applied to all ‘big’ men in the state who returned from various trips.
“A Local Government Area (LGA) Caretaker Chairman informed me that Onyike came from outside into the state and the chairman is insisting that he should not be allowed into the village.
“He is in another man’s village which is the capital city and this is dangerous,” he said.
The governor said that the DSS state director has been directed to take Onyike ‘as his property’ by making sure that with social distancing protocols, he complied with the directive.
“He should isolate in his house in the capital city and people should not disturb him.
“The LGA caretaker chairman should allow him if he wants to isolate in the village, but he must compulsorily isolate for 14 days.
“It will not be good if he does not do so as it will mean that we are respecting big men and compelling poor people to obey the law.
“There are many ‘bigger’ people who came into the state and we insisted that they must isolate for the peoples’ protection at all times.
“He can conduct his test in Enugu if he does not have confidence in our testing procedures in Ebonyi,” he said.
Umahi called on the people not to panic over the 152 reported cases of COVID-19 in the state as other states would have been recording higher numbers if they conducted tests such as Ebonyi.
“We conduct over 100 tests daily with two test machines and we record two positive cases in every hundred which is still manageable.
“Immediately someone shows up after testing positive, the person is treated immediately as people are discharged between seven days to 10 days of treatment,” he said.
Umahi also expressed dismay that religious organisations had breached the safety agreements reached with the government before worship centres were re-opened.
He warned that the government would no longer tolerate the non-use of nose masks.
“We will be forced to close worship centres and the state international market for a warning period of one week and will inaugurate a special task force to arrest those who don’t use the masks,” he said.
Onyike, who was a former ally of the governor, told the News Agency of Nigeria , in a telephone interview that he was just being informed of the governor’s directive.
“I see the governor’s statement as an advice and not a directive and hence he said I should isolate in my house, I will isolate there.
“I will continue criticising his government even if am quarantined for one year and it is appalling that he can discuss ‘my small person’ in public,” he said.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Gov. Umahi wants journalists, security operatives to undergo COVID-19 test
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has directed journalists and security personnel covering his activities and the state government’s meetings to go for COVID-19 tests.
Umahi gave the directive on Tuesday while addressing newsmen in Abakaliki, saying that it was just “for us to free ourselves”.
The governor, while thanking journalists for their supports in the fight against the deadly virus, said that being negative did not make someone not to contact the virus.
“The supports from journalists has helped us in the fight against COVID-19, as we have come to live with this situation until it pleases God to show us mercy.
“You should be careful and choose where you go while minding the surfaces you touch, the ones you can avoid.
“I don’t even touch every surface in my house, but above all, our faith in God and no one should be afraid,” he said.
The governor expressed his pleasure that most victims of the disease in the state were recovering, noting it was surprising that the state had recorded 142 cases.
“I never knew when we passed 100 cases, so I demanded to know the distribution.
Umahi said that the state government might be forced to stop all works to ensure that the 13 general hospitals across the state were renovated.
“We should make them ready for COVID-19 treatment centres, and we believe that our God will help us to achieve that,” he said.
Insecurity: Umahi tasks new police commissioner on night patrol
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has urged the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Philip Maku to focus more on night patrol while discharging his duties.
Umahi gave the charge on Tuesday in Abakaliki while receiving Maku on a courtesy call.
He charged government officials especially those in charge of security to follow such trend.
The governor said that presence of government officials’ vehicles and security agencies at night had serious impact and scare criminals away.
“I want the new CP to do that for me and will be happy to meet my commissioners among other officials during night inspections.
“We should have the same level of passion for the state as we do not want to hear of kidnap, armed robbery, communal crisis among others in the state any longer,” he said.
Umahi said that he was appalled with the current security situation in the state and had held serious deliberations with government officials in charge of security.
“Communities are concerned about security in the state and are currently pointing accusing fingers on people.
“They are saying that if we didn’t have incidences of armed robbery, kidnapping among others in the state for two years, why are we having such presently.
“Armed robbers raided the house of a bishop for three hours at Onwe road, Abakaliki and nobody came there,” he lamented.
He said that the government would formulate a process of securing court injunctions, to detain and not bail people who commit crimes until investigations were concluded.
“The people we granted pardon in February went back to armed robbery and this is why I will not offer unconditional pardon to anyone till I leave office,” he said.
The new CP, Maku, thanked the governor for receiving him and pledged to work assiduously in ensuring that the people of the state ‘sleep with two eyes closed’.
“The art of governance requires security and welfare of the people which will make us employ community partnership and technology in crime prevention.
“Security is everybody’s business as community partnership will reduce the unforeseen to the barest minimum,” he said.
He solicited the co-operation of the people to reduce crime, noting that there was no perfection in humans which made elements of crimes to exist.