By Douglas Okoro/Abakaliki
Chief Abia Onyike, former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, has accused Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi of harassment and intimidation.
In a statement, Onyike explained that Umahi and his agents were after him due to his criticism of the governor’s style of administration.
Umahi during a COVID-19 radio broadcast asked the Director, State Security Service to ensure that Onyike was compelled to undergo compulsory COVID-19 test.
He also asked the DSS director to ensure that Onyike was quarantined for 14 days for breaching the COVID-19 protocol, banning inter-state travels.
Onyike’s response on Saturday was captioned :‘Harassment, Intimidation and Isolation/Quarantne: Gov. Umahi’s Tactical Maneuvers To Silence Me From Criticising His Government’.
The former commissioner who also was the General Manager of Ebonyi Publishing and Printing Press, alleged that Umahi had employed all subterranean tactics to muzzle him and stop him from constructive criticism of the administration.
Onyike, a former National Deputy President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and first Chairman, NUJ Ebonyi Council, has vowed to resist Umahi’s intimidation.
“I want to seize this opportunity to draw the attention of the public to the incessant intimidation and harassment which I have been subjected to by Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi and his agents.
”Umahi has vowed to employ all sinister measures to silence and prevent me from being critical of his anti-people administration.
“On Tuesday, June 9, I was part of a three-man panel of discussants invited by 92.5 Dream FM Radio in Enugu.
“The live radio programme was to analyse the issue of Leadership and Democracy in the South-East geopolitical zone, as part of the celebration of 21 years of uninterrupted democratic governance in Nigeria.
“In the one-hour programme, I took time to dissect and analyse Gov. Umahi’s administration government in Ebonyi.
”I accused the government of being nepotic, as the governor had converted the state to a private family dynasty.
“After the programme, I returned to Abakaliki and was confronted same day by Mr Austin Umahi, the governor’s younger brother who is the National Vice Chairman of PDP.
” He sent a message to my WhatsApp and threw caution to the winds by calling me names amidst other unprintable and derogatory comments, and sought to know why I criticised his brother’s government.
“Then, Thursday, June 11, Umahi used his live broadcast to issue an order that the security agencies should compel me to be isolated and quarantined.
“I wish to state categorically that the present step by Umahi is a calculated witch-hunt aimed at curtailing my fundamental human rights and freedom of speech.
”It was based on a letter issued by the Caretaker Committee Chairma of Afikpo South Local Government Area, my LGA of origin.
” But, this process is shrouded in mystery and contradictions. First and foremost, I am resident in Abakaliki and not Afikpo South LGA.
” I wish to state that I will not be comfortable with any test being conducted by Gov. Umahi’s agents in Ebonyi as the governor and his brother, Austin had threatened to kill me.”
Governor Umahi was yet to respond to Onyike’s statement.