Enough Of Your Threats, Intimidations, Harassments”, Imo PDP Blasts Uzodimma
Imo PDP Press Statement
With the shocking order on June 9, 2020 by the Uzodimma regime for the withdrawal of two vehicles the Imo State Government donated to the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State in 2019, we of Imo PDP are compelled to produce this press statement in the face of the growing reign of intimidations, subjugation and repression of our party across the State. We would unequivocally state here that there is a grand design by Senator Hope Uzodinma-led Imo State Government to utterly clamp down on the members of the opposition political parties, particularly the major opposition party in the state, the PDP, using the instrumentalities of some security agencies such as the DSS. The resentment is manifestly designed to silence and stifle the opposition from expressing dissenting political views essential to evaluate and engage the drifting regime of Uzodinma and in so doing bringing it back to track for the interest of Imo people. The onslaught against the opposition is therefore viewed with worry and apprehensions and is unacceptable to our great party.
Although, the provocative and repressive actions being carried out by Uzodinma regime to weaken the opposition are evidence-based and in the public domain, we have nonetheless underscored them as follows:
(1) Arrest and Illegal Detention of Ambrose Nwaogwugwu: Since May 28, 2020, Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, the New Media Director-General of our great party has been illegally incarcerated by the Department of State Security (DSS) on the order of Governor Uzodinma. All attempts by his lawyers to have access to him have been rebuffed by the DSS. Last week Friday, June 5, 2020 his captors and the agents of government smuggled him into a Magistrate Court in a failed attempt to surreptitiously jail him without legal representation. Our legal team outsmarted them through their prompt appearance at the Court to defend Nwaogwugwu and to seek for his bail. This timely move forced the presiding Magistrate to adjourn the hearing on the bail application to 19th June, in clear endorsement of his continued illegal confinement. We have heard that our Nwaogwugwu is now reportedly on hunger strike in protest over his illegal detention.
At the Magistrate Court, the DSS hurriedly arranged seven trumped-up charges against Nwaogwugwu . As you would agree with me, the insubstantial nature of the allegations is instructive that he is being held unjustly.
It’s important to add that when he was invited by the DSS, the leadership of the party paid a visit to the office to enquire what the invitation was all about, since Nwaogwugwu is a state officer of our party. After our discussions, the Director of the DSS in Imo State, Mrs. Iquor Worrey, subtly told us that they only wanted to caution him on his criticisms on Uzodimma administration. Based on that, we decided to return to the DSS office with him the next day, May 28, 2020. Sadly, the DSS arrested him without any warrant. Initially, the Uzodimma regime denied knowledge of his arrest . However, three days later the Commissioners for Information and Strategy, and Justice, and Attorney General, Hon Declan Emelumba and Barr. C.O.C Akaolisa respectively, came out with statements claiming responsibility for the unlawful arrest and detention of Nwaogwugwu .
(2) Uzodinma Government’s Hit List: It’s public knowledge that the state government now has a list of opposition elements marked out for routine intimidations, arrest and illegal detention. Nwaogwugwu was number one on that list. He has thus been used to test the waters. Other names on the list include; State Secretary , Nze Ray Emeana, State Acting Publicity Secretary, Hon Ogubundu Nwadike, Hon. Aic Akwarandu, former SA on New Media to Ihedioha-led government, Hon. Frank Nwete and a host of others.
(3) Harassment of pro-active section of the Press: Some media organisations are now being labelled enemies of government because of their constructive reports about Uzodinma administration and appearance of key opposition elements as guests on some of the radio programmes. Such media organisations have been facing serial intimidations by government. Instances abound in Hot FM, Owerri, Trumpeta Newspaper and so on. The appearance of Hon. Barr. Uche Onyeagucha, (SGI Emmeritus) under Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha-led PDP government on Hot FM phone-in programme a few weeks ago attracted government agents invasion and hostility against the station in purported demand for the tape of the interview. As we speak, Chief Henry Ekpe, PDP Deputy National Financial Secretary and co-owner of Trumpeta Newspaper has been receiving threats to his life by the agents of Uzodinma government.
(4) Issuing of Threats: The agents of Uzodinma government have at various times made telephone calls and sent sms to former SA on New Media to former Governor Ihedioha, AiC Akwarandu, requesting him to hand over non-existing government vehicle purportedly in his possession or be dealt with. As at now, Akwarandu has been going through undue pressure and agony following the threat to his life and fear of being assassinated.
(5) Brutalisation of our Party Officials: Sometime in May 2020 at Obokwe, PDP Ward 1 in Ngor Okpala Local Government, the Ward Chairman, Hon. Obinna Eke was assaulted by the Chairman, APC Interim Management Committee of the local government, because the Ward Chairman organized a PDP Ward meeting. Both men are from the same Ward 1. The IMC Chairman who is apparently acting on the order from the state government has sworn to use security operatives to ensure that PDP members do not hold any ward meeting
Similarly, few days later, at Nguru Nweke, Aboh Ward in Aboh Mbaise LGA, Hon. Chidi Anyanwu, an Imo PDP Ward Leader, was brutalized by hoodlums reportedly detailed by the member representing Aboh Mbaise in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Eddy Obinna of the ruling APC, acting clearly on the script of the APC government of Imo state ruthlessly dealing with members of the opposition.
(6) Sponsoring of fake Press Releases: On April 20, 2020, the Uzodimma regime most maliciously accused Imo PDP of masterminding two separate fake Press statements using the name of Mr. Oguwike Nwachukwu, the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to issue the releases. The statements bordered on two related issues. The central role played by late Abba Kyari in making Uzodinma governor using the Supreme Court and the plan to rename Imo State University to Abba Kyari University . At that time we had raised alarm that the unfounded accusation was covertly designed to give our great party bad name so as to clamp it down. We were proved right when this turned out to be one of the whimsically amusing charges against Nwaogwugwu.
It is evident and incontrovertible from the foregoing that the Uzodinma regime has declared war against the opposition in the state using various secret, illegitimate and unconventional methods and tactics. We are therefore inclined to make the following submissions:
(1) We condemn in strongest term the orchestrated battle organized by Uzodinma regime to intimidate, harass, weaken, silence, stifle, repress and oppress the opposition elements, which culminated in the illegal arrest of Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, DG, Imo PDP New Media and his continued solitary incarceration for almost two weeks now.
(2) Nwaogwugwu’s continued detention is unconstitutional and a clear infringement of his fundamental human rights of freedom and free speech as provided in section 22 of the 1999 constitution as amended. Consequently, we demand for his unconditional release.
(3) The sweeping offensive and hostility against the opposition is most undemocratic and a clear sign of weakness, desperation, despotic and dictatorial tendencies antithetical to liberal and modern democracy.
(4) We are inclined to believe that the intensified assault against the opposition is an indication of an idle and vision-bereft government, whose preference is to chase the opposition elements around instead of engaging in resourceful and rewarding governance.
(5) It is also evocative of a government motivated by greed and the tendency to loot public treasury, and as a result popular voices and the guard dogs must be silenced to accomplish the fraud-imbued propensities, unchallenged.
(6) Understanding that virile and constructive opposition is critical to good governance and democratic development, we will resist the onslaught and will neither allow ourselves to be cowed nor browbeaten by Uzodinma government. We therefore promise Imolites the most coordinated, vociferous and productive alternative views and ideas desirable to check the drifting Uzodinma-led APC government.
(7) We consider the trumped-up charges of cyber terrorism and indeed all the seven allegations raised against Nwaogwugwu as being largely trivial and at best comic relief and laughable . This is indicative of the level of unprofessionalism of the DSS and Uzodinma’s Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
(8) DSS is a respected security outfit and should appropriately channel its energy towards shoring up the nation’s dismal security architecture instead of allowing itself to be a willing tool in the hands of desperate political office holders to score cheap political points.
(9) We are at a loss why the DSS and the government decided to sue Nwaogwugwu as a private individual instead of PDP as a corporate entity that hired him given that the allegations against him were committed in his official capacity as DG Imo PDP, New Media.
(10) We condemn the attempt made by the DSS and agents of Uzodinma government to fraudulently and clandestinely send Nwaogwugwu to jail using the Magistrate Court, even though the matter is purely civil. We appreciate and commend the timely intervention of our legal team.
(11) We condemn absolutely the DSS refusal of Nwaogwugwu of access to his counsels. He remains innocent until he is proved to be guilty, and for that he must not be denied access to his fundamental human rights in any way.
(12) As a law-abiding party, we have filed bail application at the Federal High Court, Owerri to seek Nwaogwugwu’s freedom. We are confident that the court will grant it because the allegations against him are bailable.
(13)The offensive that the Uzodinma government has also declared against the pro-active and progressive bent of the media is regrettable and smacks of ignorance of the central place of the media in democracy and good governance.
(14) We urge the Uzodimma regime to concentrate on settling the backlog of salaries and pensions, and the provision of infrastructural development projects, drawing on the efficient foundation laid by his predecessor, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha, instead of this resort to clamping down on imaginary and perceived political enemies.
(15) This party enjoins and challenges the civil society organisations, professional bodies such as Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigeria Bar Association, organized labour, the diaspora community and other relevant stakeholders to rise in defence of our democracy, rule of law and fundamental human rights by saying no to Uzodinma’s illegal detention of Nwaogwugwu over his views and dreadful clamp down on political activists, media organisations and opposition elements. It’s by so doing that Uzodinma’s unbridled intolerance to alternative political views can be mitigated.
Ag. State Publicity Secretary,