Government declares former rep member wanted

Ruth Oginyi

The government of Ebonyi State, Tuesday declared a former House of Representatives member in the state, Hon. Linus Okorie wanted.

This was made known to journalists by Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji while briefing journalists after the state security council meeting in Abakaliki.

According to the commissioner, the council discovered that Okorie who represented Ohanivo federal constituency between 2011 and 2019, made provocative publications on his Facebook page which according to the council led to the beheading of Ebubeagu official, Sunday Nwafor in the Ekawoke community, Ikwo local government area of the state by gunmen on the 9th of January.

“Security council considered a report presented to it on the beheading of Ebubeagu official in Ekawoke, Ikwo local government area of the state exactly on the 9th day of January 2022.

“Security council noted the report clearly issued and the revelations contained in that report and therefore resolved to declare wanted, one Hon. Linus Okorie for the publications and incisive statements some of which are posted on Facebook that were traced to be part of the inflammatory publications that invited that tension that led to the beheading of that Ebubeagu official”, Orji said.

But in a reaction, the accused Okorie said his life was in danger in the state.

He describes the action of the security council as a tricky plot to silence opposition in Ebonyi.

“My attention has been drawn to an alleged media briefing by the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, after what appears to have been a state security council meeting; in which he was reported to have announced that the Security Council declared one Linus Okorie wanted; an impugning that I am the one so declared wanted.

“I wish to alert the world that this is another of the artful schemes of Governor Umahi to silence all opposition voices in Ebonyi state by criminalizing its high profile leaders, use Ebubeagu to kill me on the excuse that I was evading arrest and also a veiled excuse to close down CitiHub event center which has long been the desire of the governor and his close aides and family members. It is also a ploy to distract attention from the Carnage that Ebubeagu has been wrecking on the people of Ebonyi state as symbolized by the riots and killings in Akaeze in the past few days. Governor Umahi is simply looking for a high-profile scapegoat to take attention away from the many lives being lost to Ebubeagu operatives across the state, and he has chosen me using his State Security Council.

“I, indeed, such a decision was arrived taken by the Security Council, one would doubt that the police and other security agencies were represented at such a meeting. This is because the Nigerian Police must investigate crimes and invite all named suspects for interrogation and even when a suspect fails to honor an invitation, there is a clear procedure that must be followed before such a person can be declared wanted by the police not any security council meeting.

“Let it be known that I have never been invited to answer to any allegations by the Nigerian Police or other security agencies anywhere in Nigeria.

“Two, without so inviting by the police, I cannot lawfully be declared wanted by any authority for such an alleged crime by the police or any other authority under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Again, going through the excerpts of the media briefing, I find no particulars of the allegation leveled against me to warrant the defamatory declaration by the said state security council.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the law demands that before making a Wanted Declaration on a public platform or any other for that matter, the police ought to obtain a warrant of arrest duly signed and endorsed by a competent court. The said warrant must also be presented at the point of arrest and in it, the particulars of the arrest ought to be spelled out. Where a person sought to be arrested makes a run for it or evades arrest, then a declaration informing the public of the accused person’s status may be made”

The serious implication of these presumptions makes every deviation from the above process, as exemplified by this reckless declaration by the state security council, an abrogation of lawful processes, a clear indicator that the said agency (the State Security Council) seeks to appropriate to itself powers vested singularly in the courts and also a gross disrespect of my dignity of self, especially as I am neither on the run, in hiding nor have any knowledge of the summon, an invitation or intended arrest.

“Why impute that I am on the run or evading the police when the police had extended no formal invitation to me? Even a recruit in the employ of the police force can fault this spurious action of the Security Council in declaring me wanted just to create the opportunity for the Ebubeagu agents to attack and kill me on the excuse of executing an illegal declaration”

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