A group under the aegis of Ebonyi New Media Practitioners Forum (ENPF) says that recent attack by agents and privies of the state government against members of the opposition people’s Democratic Party (PDP) constitute grave threat to democracy in Ebonyi.
The group which accused state government of intolerance to opposition also accused Gov. Dave Umahi of allegedly being behind the shutting down of a hotel in Abakaliki belonging to the former governor of the state, Dr Sam Egwu .
According to the group, the governor is bent on tarnishing the image of PDP stalwarts in the state, who refused to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), with him.
The group stated this in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Nwede Martins, on Friday a copy was obtained by our correspondent on Saturday in Abakaliki.
Grace Court Hotels, located on ‘Nna’ Street, Abakaliki, owned by Dr Egwu, was on Monday, March 15, sealed by operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for allegedly harbouring drugs traffickers.
For the members of the public who may not know anything about the facility, the hotel came into function before 2007 when the owner left office as governor of state and since then had not been suspected to be a safe haven for criminal elements.
Part of the statement reads: “The Ebonyi New Media Practitioners Forum has received with shock the news of the shutting down of the Grace Court Hotel at Nna Street, Abakaliki.
” The hotel owned by the first executive governor of the state and senator representing Ebonyi North Zone, His Excellency, Sen. Dr Sam Egwu through a surrogate government agency on the excuse that the hotel harboured drug users.
“We wish to bring to the knowledge of the public who may not know anything about the facility; the hotel came into function before 2007 when the owner left office as governor of Ebonyi and since then has not been suspected to be a safe haven for criminal elements.
“Though sealed from use by the NDLEA, we are aware of the plot by the Ebonyi government under the superintendency of Umahi to allegedly plant implicating objects on property owned by the PDP stakeholders in the state and use same as subterfuge to clamp down on such property .
“This is in tandem with the alarm raised by the National Vice Chairman of the PDP South-East, Chief Ali Odefa.
“The chieftain raised the alarm that State Government had perfected plans to plant implicating objects on his establishments in the state to seal them from use.
” We have come to the realisation that in order not to manifest such a sinister action on the property of the zonal party helmsman, the government resorted to channeling the action on the Grace Court Hotel.
“This action, we believe was done to spite the former governor and a serving Senator whose track records remained unassailably unbeaten by any government in the state since he left office.
“We wonder why no report of such criminal activity was linked with the hotel until the present governor left the PDP for the APC which distorted the relationship he enjoyed with the first executive governor.”
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi government in a swift reaction, said the allegation was not only baseless, but unfounded, adding it was the handiwork of mischief makers.
Mr Stanley Okoro-Emegha The Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace stated this in a telephone interview with our Correspondent, wondering when the job of the NDLEA, became that of the state government.
He said: “What sort of stupid and dirty allegation is this? What business does State government have with the NDLEA ? Is there connectivity?
“What has the state government got to do with the running of the NDLEA? Are they not doing their job?
” This is agency of the Federal Government is charged with the responsibility of investigating and arresting drugs dealers and that’s what it has done and will still do.
“Is it the duty of the state government to do that? What kind of allegation is that, that’s coming from mischief makers and those who hate good things?
“Doesn’t Sen. Obinna Ogba have hotels in this state? Don’t other National Assembly members have investments in this state?
“How many times have their investments been shut down by either the state government or the NDLEA? Please, regard this allegation as unfounded and baseless”.