*We Will Investigate The Alleged Threat Against Silas Onu’s Life – NBA Abuja Branch
The publicity secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Caretaker Committee, Ebonyi state, Mr. Silas Joseph Onu, has petitioned the Department of State Security Services (DSS) over an alleged threat to life in the state.
Onu, in a petition sighted by TheNigeriaLawyer dated 25th February, 2021 signed by himself, alleged that since the day he accepted to serve as Publicity Secretary of PDP, he has come under direct attack of Governor David Umahi and his many loyal appointees.
Onu said the Governor ordered the Director of DSS to arrest him (Onu) for a statement he made on behalf of PDP on the crisis between the people of Effium and Ezza Effium community, Ohaukwu local government area of the state which has continued unabated
He reproduced the press release in question as follows:
“PDP EBONYI STATE PRESS RELEASE
“IT IS NOW MORE OBVIOUS WHO HAS BEEN KILLING EBONYI PEOPLE
“SUNDAY JANUARY 24, 2021*
“The PDP in Ebonyi State is saddened as innocent lives were lost, properties worth hundreds of millions were destroyed in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State, all because of the need of government to control small town Unions and transporters Union in Ebonyi State.
“We thank the newly deployed Commissioner of Police for swiftly ensuring that the State agents who have become laws onto themselves have been duly apprehended.
“No one needs further evidence to know that the entire violence is being orchestrated and sustained by officials of the Ebonyi State government who all answer to the Governor.
“With the arrest of the Chairman, Ohaukwu LGA – Clement Idaho; The member Representing Ohaukwu North State Constituency – Hon. Chinedu Awo; the two Coordinators from Effium Development Centres – Sunday Agbo and Eucharia Ogwale, respectively – Including many other past and present appointees of this government, it is safe to assert that the government knows more than what is being seen or heard. Therefore, the government must be held responsible for all these needless deaths and wanton destructions.
“In a saner clime, the State Governor should presently be tendering his resignation letter for allowing his appointees reign such a level of violence, death and destructions in the State.
“The ongoing attacks and destructions led by another legislator in Ntezi is also of an urgent concern as lives are also at stake there. The Police should equally swing into action in Ntezi.
“We will be keeping up with the investigation of this heinous atrocious attack on innocent people and will not keep quiet should the investigation be shoddy or swept under the carpet. Every action has consequences. If these ones have done what led to the murderous activities in Ohaukwu, they must face the law as required – no one is above the law.
“We commiserate with the families that lost their loved ones in this senseless carnage. We also sympathize with all those who lost their properties to this uncivilized criminal activities of government appointees. We call on all Ebonyians to shun violence and be their brother’s keeper.
“We are a peaceful people.
“Thank you all.
“Barr. Silas Joseph Onu, MCIArb (UK)
PDP Ebonyi State Chapter”
Onu emphasized that all the persons he mentioned in the above petition, including the Chairman of the Local Government and House of Assemblymember from the Local Government whom the governor accused of causing the Ohauwa Local Government due to Supremacy battle, have been arrested
According to Onu, those that the governor has identified as key actors in the crisis are freely engaged in governance in the state. He accuse the governor of being more interested in silencing all opinions that are critical of how the crisis being handled
Onu said the governor “unlawfully and unconstitutionally” declared him (Onu) wanted in February 25. “he has continued to display personal hatred and anger over a legitimate, lawful and measured press release that was 100% factual. He had done so to clear the path for his thugs to eliminate me and thereby his completely silence me from speaking. This threat is real and imminent.”
Other threats from the governor, according to Onu, came through his (Onu’s kinsman who is a followwer of the governor) and text messages
“I am concerned that if the Governor truly is law abiding, then he should have made a formal complaint to the necessary security agencies to investigate and, if found culpable, prosecute me instead applying a brute tactic to create a cover for my elimination – calling a dog bad names in order to kill it.
“Reports have it that the Governor has seriously compromised the Ebonyi State Judiciary to ensure that any political opponent that is arraigned before the court for whatsoever reason, must be remanded in prison. Once the remand is achieved, the case can then be delayed or frustrated for as long as possible. Within the prison, it is easier for them to procure the assassination of someone who detest more.
“I am also worried that maybe your good office has not taken any action against on the petition sent by my lawyer on the 27th of January, thereby making the Governor bolder in this regard for law and order. Sir, we are in a Democracy and there are minimum expectations from elected officials that cannot be overlooked. A situation where a Governor feels entitled to break the law and even kill simply because he enjoys immunity cannot be allowed. Also, no politician should be allowed to put the life of any other person in danger because of political differences.” Onu said
He therefore sought for protection adding that the governor should be held responsible for whatever will happen to him (Onu)
He said, “I strongly seek protection from the federal government as Governor Umahi is out to kill me. If that is not his intention, why then is he declaring me wanted when he does not have such a power? What he has done is to create an excuse for mob action. He has made that declaration in order to use it as an excuse to say that it was in the process of arresting me that things went out of hand and I was shot while trying to escape – that is his evil intent.
“Therefore, until Governor Umahi leaves office, whatever happens to me must be ascribed to him and him alone. He has shown that I represent something he cannot tolerate politically and that is not a quality of a democrat.”
He has copied the petition to President Buhari; the National Security Adviser; the Inspector General of Police; the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria; Nigerian Bar Association; Open Bar Initiative; People’s Democratic Party; All Progressives Congress; the Nigerian Senate; the House of Representatives; the Ebonyi State House of Assembly; the United States Embassy; the British High Commission; the Canadian High Commission; the European Union; the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights; and the Conference of Diplomatic Corps in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch (Anselm Bulus) has confirmed to TheNigeriaLawyer that the Branch has resolved to write the DSS, IGP, AGF, AG Ebonyi State and to take all necessary steps to investigate the threats Mr. Onu is exposed to and to ensure his protection from harm by either state or non-state actors
He said the decision was made pursuant to a motion moved by Prof. Chidi Odinkalu during a monthly meeting of the Branch. He said the Branch reckoned that every citizen has the right to freedom of expression within the bounds of the law and no one should be harassed or threatened on account of exercising such rights, especially lawyers.
The motion was moved for the above resolution and seconded by Stanley Ofoegbu.