A former Commissioner for Information in Ebonyi State, Abịa Onyike, has narrated how he was arrested and tortured by officials of Ebubeagu Security outfit in the State. He said he was abducted on Wednesday night in Abakaliki, capital of the state and taken to Old Government House where he was tortured for over an hour.
Onyike, the spokesperson of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ifeanyi Odii is a known critic of the All Progressives Congress-led State Government. Mr. Onyike said he was arrested along the popular Water Works Road where he went to buy some drugs from a popular pharmacy in the state. He said: “I went to buy medicine at the popular Octovia Pharmacy at about 8.25 pm. After buying the drugs, I saw two armed Ebubeagu men enter the pharmacy.
“They came straight to me. One of them dragged me into their vehicle (a red coloured Toyota Sienna). They fired gunshots into the air to scare people.“They drove me to the old Government House and subjected me to torture. I was canned and beaten with wood. They threatened to bury me alive while one of them threatened to shoot at my leg.
“After about one hour of intensive torture, their commander told me to stand up and wear my dresses. He said it was a case of mistaken identity. “They returned some of my items seized by them such as my car key, phone, drugs, and ATM. I was then told to go,” he narrated. Mr. Onyike said he learned that the Commissioner of Police had ordered that he be released.
Ebonyi State Ebubeagu Commander, Mr. Friday Nnana, said Abia’s arrest was a case of mistaken identity. He said the PDP governorship candidate spokesperson was arrested at a location where a suspect was being trailed.
According to him, immediately his name, place of origin, and personality were ascertained, he was released. “The place they said Abia was caught was where a criminal element we have been looking for usually stays. Oga, we have satellite everywhere. That’s where the suspect usually comes 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 to provide his name, where he came from. We ordered them to leave him immediately. People have been putting surveillance where he was arrested,” he said.
Formed about a year ago by Governors of Southeast to help fight criminality in the region, the Ebonyi State chapter of Ebubeagu has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate arrests and torture.
The month before, the Ebonyi South Senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, Linus Okorie, was abducted by the group. The group denied the allegation after family and associates raised alarm. However, 24 hours later, the Police and the State Government said the group arrested him and handed him over to the police.Mr. Okorie, another vocal critic of the State Government, was later arraigned in court and remanded in custody.
Last year, the spokesperson of the PDP in the State, Chika Nwoba, was arrested in Abakaliki by the same group. He was later charged to court and remanded in prison custody but was later released after pressure mounted on the State Government by Nigerians and rights groups.
News sources: Ikenga online