Chief Abia Onyike, a one time Commissioner for Information and State Orientation said that the refusal of Ebonyi government to comply with a Federal High Court Judgement which disbanded Ebubeagu security outfit was a direct invitation to anarchy.
Our correspondent recalls that a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki had on February 14 declared the Ebubeagu security outfit establishes by an act of the State House of Assembly illegal and thereafter disbanded the security organisation in a declaratory judgement.
However, Onyike in a statement on Friday in Abakaliki accused the state government of failure to comply with the court judgement saying that the Ebonyi government has not hidden its disdain for the judiciary and rule of law.
“In their Press Conference of Wednesday, February 15, 2023, the Government, led by Gov. David Umahi indicated their preparedness to disobey the orders of the Court.
“They described the judgement as “biased, miscarriage of justice and judicial rascality”. Then, they went ahead to assert that EbubeAgu operations will continue to exist and nothing will stop their operations in the state.”
Onyike noted that he felt obligated as the one who took the State Government and EbubeAgu to court ( Plaintiff) to draw the attention of the State Government and the general public to the fact that the orders by the Federal High Court which disbanded EbubeAgu was a declaratory order.
He also noted that the issues involved were weighty human rights issues with proven and documented cases of human rights abuses, dehumanisation of citizens, torture, and in some cases extra judicial killings in some parts of the state.
The former commissioner recalled that on March 10, 2022, shortly after he appeared on Arise TV to render comments relating to the governance in the state that men suspected to be Enubeagu operatives attacked his residence in Abakaliki and rained a volley of bullets on his house shattering windows and glasses .
“When I reported the matter to the appropriate authorities and accused EbubeAgu of being the masterminds of the gun attack on my residence, their headman accused me of feigning the attack.
“He said that nobody attacked me, that I was the one who master-minded it.
“They continued their evil plot. On November 9, 2022, I was abducted and taken to the old Government House, where I was held hostage and subjected to merciless torturing. It was on this basis that I took the matter to court,” the statement added.
According to the statement, the orders of the Federal High Court are clear and unambiguous; the orders carried the message of immediacy and were intended to restore normalcy to a horrible and terrible situation occasioned by the excesses of the EbubeAgu killer squad, now declared illegal and unlawful.
“For the Umahi government to arrogantly inform the Ebonyi citizens that they are not willing to accept the Court ruling which the people were already celebrating, shows that Umahi has lost touch with reality.
“It could be true as suggested in some quarters that Gov. Umahi has transformed himself into a warlord who may have vowed never to compromise on his continuous dehumanisation of Ebonyi people, which has resulted to numerous communal wars with the accompanying loss if limbs and lives across the state.
“One would have expected the state government, if it were a popular Government, to apologise to the citizens and then retrace its steps away from citizens oppression.
“Instead of giving peace a chance, the Umahi Government has opted for continuing acts of impunity by organizing fake demonstrations in Court premises in the state capital.
“This disgraceful and shameful act is an affront and a calculated act of intimidation and harrasment on the Judicial Arm of Government.
“The use of government-sponsored youths to march round the Courts is the height of political rascality and impunity by the the Umahi Government.
“This is infantilism and fascism at work. Afterall, every one knows that EbubeAgu was created as Gov Umahi’s personal instrument for keeping his critics at bay and for silencing his political opponents.
“Moreover, it was Umahi’s tactical maneuver to deploy force and intimidation for bulldozing his way against opposition forces in the state, so as to create room for him to manipulate the 2023 elections to his advantage.
“Gov Umahi’s latest strategy now is to create a new Vigilante outfit with similar features as EbubeAgu to continue terrorizing Ebonyi residents.
“But, that wicked and selfish plan cannot work as the moribund State House of Assembly which Umahi grounded must not be recalled to service such an evil plot.
“I hereby condemn all acts of political hooliganism aimed at subverting the popular Judgement of the Federal High Court which has liberated Ebonyi and her people from the bondage of internal terrorism, created and foisted by Gov Umahi’s anti-people Government.
“Ebonyi people have distanced themselves from Umahi’s unfortunate
reputation as a discredited local tyrant.
“I humbly wish to appeal to the Security Agencies, the Police and the State Security Services to immediately embark upon the implementation of the disbanding of the unlawful and illegal terror outfit.
“Any attempt to undermine the judgement of the Federal High Court banning the EbubeAgu Militia in Ebonyi state may snowball into anarchy and crises in the state.
“The time has come to dismantle Gov Umahi’s tyrannical strucures and to expunge his use of cruelty, raw aggression and elephantine furry in the running of Government in the state.
“The orders of the Federal High Court in EbubeAgu was automatic and already in force. Let the state Government go on appeal if they wish, but until a superior Court rules otherwise, EbubeAgu remains disbanded in the state.
“Gov Umahi’s desperate effort to create another killer squad to replace EbubeAgu should be resisted by the people through all legal and legitimate instruments at their disposal,” Onyike said.