A group, Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE) has condemned the alleged abduction and torture of a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Abịa Onyike, along Waterworks Road, Abakaliki in Ebonyi State by operatives of Ebubeagu Security Network.
The state chairman of the group, Mr Sampson Oko Nweke, expressed sadness that after his abduction, Onyike, a former national deputy president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and commissioner for information in the state, was taken to Government House and was tortured by operatives of the security network.
Nweke who described the incident as a gross violation of Onyike’s fundamental rights as a free and law-abiding citizen, called on other human right groups, civil society organisations (CSOs) and others to condemn the incessant attacks of members of the opposition by Ebubeagu.
“The Nigerian government, civil society organizations and the National Human Rights Commission should as a matter of urgency come to the aide of ordinary Ebonyians,” he said.
The group insisted that members of the Ebebuagu Security Network must be tamed and their excesses curbed adding that, “only that will put a stop to the recurrent unprovoked harassment and intimidation of Ebonyi indigenes and residents alike”.
Similarly, a former commissioner for information in the state and senior lecturer, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Prof John Otu described the attack on Onyike as worrisome, pathetic and unfortunate.
Otu while reacting to the alleged attack called on journalists in the state to eschew biased and unbalanced reportage but to ensure that they report the facts as it were to sustain the profession.
Onyike is a key spokesperson for the PDP governorship candidate in the 2023 general election in Ebonyi State, Dr Ifeanyi Odii, and was reportedly taken to Ebubeagu Office at the Government House Abakaliki, where he was ordered to remove his clothes and brutally beaten up, until a call came for his release.
In his reaction, the commander, Ebebuagu Security Network in the state, Mr Friday Nnanna, said Onyike’s arrest was the case of mistaken identity adding that he was mistakenly arrested having been seen at a location where a suspect was trailed to.
“Immediately after his name, place of origin and personality was ascertained, he was released. The place they said Abia was caught was where a criminal element we have been looking for usually stays.
“We have satellite everywhere. That’s where the suspect usually come to collect arms and ammunition and rifles kept for him. He normally comes from outside the state.
“You can ask the victim what we did immediately he was asked his name, and where he came from; We ordered them to leave him immediately. People have been putting surveillance where he was arrested,” he said.
Narrating his ordeal, Onyike said he was given over 30 slaps, while lying down naked and planks and other weapons were used on him by the operatives.
He said, “As I talk to you now, I can’t hear well with one of my ears. I was slapped over 30 times. They asked me to lie down naked and beat me up severally with different dangerous objects.
“They even threatened to shoot me and bury me there. I can’t hear well again,” he said.