The CaringHeart Foundation has raised the alarm over an alleged plan to re-arrest the “hostage” Ebonyi State senatorial candidate of the Labor Party, Linus Okorie, and press fresh charges against him.
Okorie was reportedly abducted on October 17, 2022, while he was driving from his Abakaliki residence to Onicha Local Government Area of the state where he was supposed to have a meeting with his supporters.
His whereabouts were unknown all Sunday until news broke that he was arrested on Monday morning, October 18, by members of the Ebubeagu Security Group in conjunction with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged illegal drug trafficking.
But the NDLEA State Commander, Iyke Uche, denied knowing the whereabouts of the former lawmaker, saying the agency neither recognized him nor arrested him.
However, the Ebonyi Police Command, on the same day, insisted that the LP leader was quite arrested for his involvement in illegal drugs in the state, saying he was neither abducted nor abducted.
He has been detained at the Nigerian Correctional Services facility for the past month.
The latest allegation was contained in a statement signed and issued by the Director of the Foundation, Dr. David Ogbonna on Monday, that the suspect was no longer safe in the NCS prison.
The statement read in part: “There is an alleged plan by the Ebonyi State Government in conjunction with the Nigeria Police to re-arrest Linus Abaa Okorie and arraign him in the Ebonyi State Court with a fresh charge/petition on whatever day the court grants him bail or if he is still in custody.
“Latest developments in court appearances. Linus Okorie hints at Ebonyi State Government’s clandestine plan to re-arrest him every day the Court grants him bail.
“The last two times Hon. Linus appeared in Court, the police refused to provide security for prison officials from prison to court, but preferred to mobilize their men heavily to court premises and courtrooms as well.
“The other day, we all saw how the police retreated from Hon. Linus court to the Center Center, thereby making him vulnerable to attack by actors in Ebonyi State. It took the weak and gallant intervention of the DSS to secure him, the vehicle he was carrying was Ebubeagu Security Network men that day after being ambushed by suspected gunmen.
“We are aware of an enhanced plan by the Attorney General of Ebonyi State acting on the strict orders of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Hon. Okorie before a High Court of the state on Wednesday, November 23, 2022 or henceforth Monday, November 21, 2022, his attempt failed through the manipulation of divine hands. .
“Our intelligence gathering within the state unequivocally revealed that should the first option fail, the Ebonyi State Government is said to have already raised a second option working in collaboration with the State Commissioner of Police to re-arrest Hona. Linus Abaa Okorie, any day the Court grants him bail, the application / to file fresh charges and come back full circle to keep him in custody after the 2023 general election.”
Reacting, Governor David Umahi dismissed the allegation as ridiculous and baseless, saying he did not need any underhand tactics to win at the polls in 2023.
His Special Assistant on Media and Strategy, Mr. Chooks Okoh disclosed this in a telephone interview with our Correspondent on Tuesday.
He said: “It is ridiculous to say that Governor David Umahi is not popular in Ebonyi South. Very ridiculous. What politician, living or dead, can point to achievements in the area or the state more than Umahi? Campaigns are based on the background of the players.
“What will another contender point to as an achievement next to Umahi? He does not need any underhand tactics to win an election that is already his. As for the case of the Labor Party candidate, I certainly cannot comment on a matter that is clearly sub judice. It is before various courts. As for the senatorial seat, Umahi’s work will take him there.”
The Ebonyi Police Command could not be reached for comment at the time of filing this report.
The state Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba, who told our correspondent that he was in a meeting, said: “There is no problem anywhere in the state. Everywhere is fine. But I am in a meeting with the Civil Defense Commander. I will get back to you.”