Prof. Benard Odoh, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the March 11 gubernatorial election in Ebonyi has urged the public to discountenance police publication describing him as a ‘wanted’ person.
This is contained in a statement personally signed by Odoh and made available to newsmen on Monday in Abakaliki.
The governorship hopeful was reacting to a press release issued by SP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) at Ebonyi State Police Command dated March 6, 2023.
According to the police press release, Odoh alongside nine other suspects has been declared wanted over alleged involvement in the murder of Ezeogo Igboke Ewa, the traditional ruler of the Umuezekoha community in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
The traditional ruler was killed by gunmen suspected to be political thugs at his Palace on Monday, Feb. 26.
However, reacting to the statement, Odoh noted that the allegations against him in the said publication were all false in every material fact; malicious, baseless, spurious and should be discountenanced by the general public.
Odoh explained that a High Court sitting in Owerri, Imo state gave an order restraining the police or its agents from arresting or harassing him.
He further alleged that the persons listed in the said police publication were APGA supporters and members from the Umuezeokaoha community just as APGA has supporters in all villages and polling units across the 13 LGAs of Ebonyi.
Part of the statement read: “Nigerian law still presumes an accused person innocent until proven guilty by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“I have already obtained an order from the High Court, Owerri in No: HOW/194/2023 dated March 3, restraining the police and other security agencies from harassing or arresting me until the matter brought before the court is determined by the court.
“That the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and other security agencies have been served with the court order accordingly.
“The IG upon being served the said order stopped all actions in the matter concerning the Court but the Commissioner of Police (CP), Ebonyi who is under the IG has continued to take action contrary to the orders of the IG.
“Further, the Family of the late Ezeogo filed a suit in Suit No. HBA/47MC/2023 alleging that CP Ebonyi has compromised by failing to arrest me.
“Ebonyi High Court has not determined the matter, yet the CP of Ebonyi continued to take steps over the subjudice matter.
” That I am not on the run and cannot be said to be on the run for any reason whatsoever but pursuing and seeking the resolution of the false and misleading allegations brought against me through legal and peaceful means.
“That the allegations are politically motivated and intended to undermine my chances of winning this Saturday’s governorship election in Ebonyi which I am leading.
“I sympathise with the family over this very painful, unfortunate and tragic loss; I reiterate my earlier positions in the media that I know nothing, absolutely nothing about the assassination of my traditional ruler, HRH. Ezeogo Igboke Ewa of Umuezeokaoha in Ezza North LGA,” Odoh said.
Odoh urged his supporters across the state and beyond to remain calm, focused and resolute in their efforts to win the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Our correspondent reports that the slain Royal Father was the chairman of the Ezza Traditional Rulers Council.