RE: PROTEST AGAINST THE TRANSFER OF THE ABIA STATE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, CP ENEH OKON
On Wednesday April 22, 2020, a letter with the above caption was written by the Governor of Abia State, Dr, Okezie Ikpeazu and sent to the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.This letter made many weighty allegations against me including that I am a sponsor of IPOB, that I set up the attack at Ohafia where a policeman shot a young man and the youth of the community carried out a reprisal attack on a police station and that I caused the removal of the CP again for refusing IPOB and detractors of the government to riot in Abia.
DELAY IN RESPONSE. I would have responded immediately I saw this bizarre letter but I learnt that the Governor and his team were strategizing on how to deny the letter and christen it “fake”. Somehow, they have not responded officially close to one week after. I believe they have realised that I have more information than they thought. This letter was masterminded by three people, the former CPEneh Okon, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Anthony Agbazuere and the Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi Kalu. They subsequently sold the evil plot to Okezie Ikpeazu who had no problems lending his name and signature to it. I will reveal more information on this if any of them denies.
PROCEDURE. I was miffed at the level of mediocrity in the state where none of these people knew that this letter which shouldn’t have been written in the first place should have gone to the Inspector General of Police and not the Police Service Commission as the latter is the board that approves or declines appointments recommended by the IG amongst other functions. May be they had a problem with the office of the IG and had to go above him to his board. I am also surprised that the governor did not know that it is above his pay grade to determine who would be posted or retained in his state as CP and that his brief is to work with whoever the Police authorities send to him as CP.
THE ISSUES. The main issue here is that the Governor and his Chief Of Staff had formed the habit of intimidating and unlawfully arresting people who are opposed to them using the former Commissioner of Police and some policemen at the legal department of the State Command. Once they decide on who to incarcerate, the police would arrest the person, based on petitions raised by the private Chambers of the Chief of Staff, and bundle the person to a compromised magistrate court. The charges are normally cybercrime, threat to the life of the governor or terrorism. The Magistrate knowing fully well that he has no jurisdiction over matters like these would remand the victim to Afara Prisonin Umuahia. The family of their victim would start running around and would be advised by the same captors to go and beg the governor and write an undertaking not to criticize the governor again. Failing which, the matter would then move to the appropriate court, sometimes after one month of being held in prison where the victim would now be granted bail. The case of Emperor Ogbonna that the Governor mentioned in his letter is still live as he is still being held in Afara Prison. The governor attached Emperor’s facebook posts where he criticized the federal government and cunningly refused to attach the recent posts for which he ordered his arrest. Why did Ikpeazu not arrest him when he made the attached posts before the election of last year? Why didn’t Ikpeazu attach his current posts against himself in the petition? Why is it that it is only now that he criticized Ikpeazu that he ordered his arrest? The charge made and filed in the Magistrate court and the Information at the Federal High court made no reference to the President rather allegations of intimidation and threat to the life of Ikpeazu. A defenseless lawyer , who merely asked questions. Meanwhile this gentleman who he is still being kept in prison 6 weeks after even in this pandemic period is presumed innocent by our laws until proven guilty. To set the records straight, I do not know Emperor Ogbonna. I have never met nor spoken to him. So the allegation of him being sponsored by me is laughable. When the plight of the young man was brought to my attention and by then he had been incarcerated for about 3 weeks, I picked up my phone and called CP Okon. I started by telling him that I did not know Mr. Ogbonna but as an Abia citizen, I thought I should intervene. I reminded him that this is a democracy and warned him about being used by the Governor and his co travelers to abuse the fundamental human rights of Abians including Emperor Ogbonna.
There was a similar experience with another Abian, Mr. Don Norman Obinna, a journalist who was also picked up about a year ago under similar circumstances.The petition against him was also written by the same law office of the Chief of Staff, again to the Commissioner of Police, Abia State. When I intervened,CP Okon claimed he did not know about the plot. Investigations showed that indeed, he was at the centre of the plot. Towards the end of last year, another Abia citizen, this time one of Ikpeazu’s former aides, Dr. Chris Nwagboso was also picked up for criticizing Ikpeazu. They humiliated him and got him to write letters of apology and undertaking to the governor before he was released. There are lots of other such illegal arrests and detention under CP Okon.The truth is that as an enlightened Abia Citizen, I will not keep quiet when I see things going wrong. It doesn’t matter If I know the victim or not. Just like Frantz Fanon said, “every on looker is either a coward or a traitor” and I am neither. I believe that is the problem Ikpeazu has with me, and I am sorry to disappoint him as no amount of blackmail, intimidation, petitions or falsehood will make me change. If there’s any one that has to change, it is him.
On the other puerile allegations, I make bold to challenge Ikpeazu to come up with proofs to show that I am the sponsor of IPOB or forever hide his head in shame. I consider this as a cheap attempt to pitch me against the authorities which will fail. It was actually his incompetence in dealing with the small insurrection that ballooned into the python dance. Simply put, Ikpeazu was the one that called for the python dance. On the Ohafia incident, even his CP Okon admitted that the policeman that pulled the trigger was not only under the influence of alcohol, but was on an illegal duty. Ikpeazu sent a “high powered” delegation to the family of the deceased to commiserate with them. The revisionist Ikpeazu in his petition turns around to accuse me of setting up an ambush that led to the unrest in Ohafia. Pray, how did that happen? While it is not my concern about who is commissioner of Police in Abia, it will be nice for Ikpeazu to tell the world why he was pleading that CP Okon be left with him for another six months? Are there things that have been hatched that will need six months to mature?
CONCLUSION. It is clear that something is terribly wrong with the government in Abia state. That as the world is battling Covid 19 and just two days after the index cases in Abia, the governor found the time to write a letter laced with a lot of lies and blackmail against his citizen is to say the least very reprehensible. It is important to remind Ikpeazu that I am not a violent person. If I was, he won’t be governor today because he didn’t win any elections in Abia State. He still rules on a stolen mandate. But even at that, he will do himself a lot of good if he begins to transit from primordial interests to serving the people. Punishing them for not voting for him would not help him in any way. He also needs to realise that power is transient. He is governor today and he will be ordinary citizen tomorrow. Having said all these, it is important to make the following demands:
- That Ikpeazu withdraws this odious letter to the Chairman, Police Service Commission and its members (and I’m aware that all members got copies via email).
- That Ikpeazu sends letters of apology to the aforementioned people for misleading them.
- That Ikpeazu sends an unreserved apology to me for defaming my character and false accusation.
- That Mr. Emperor Ogbonna who is still unlawfully detained in Afara prison be set free immediately, together with all others that are incarcerated in Abia Prisons for criticizing the governor and his God fathers.
- That the governor ensures that people working under him stop harassing innocent Abia Citizens for airing their views about governance in Abia State.
- That the governor deals with the conflict of interest situation where a public servant uses his private law chambers to harass tax paying citizens of the state.
Let me reassure Ikpeazu that I have no personal grudge against him, after all, I neither knew him nor had any thing to do with him before he came to contest the governorship elections. His attempt to wage a personal war with me, is simply childish. All I’m interested in is good governance. I’m aware that he has immunity as a governor. I, however, wish to remind him that immunity and irresponsibility don’t go together. I may not be able to prosecute him because of his immunity, but it is not the same with the incompetent people mentioned above that he has chosen to surround himself with.
Let me end this release with a famous quote from General Collin Powell thus “out of all the manifestations of power, the one that appeals to me most is restraint”. My dear brother, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, PHD, apply restraint. Power is transient. You were a pauper, just like me, yesterday. You have power today. You will become an ordinary citizen tomorrow. Think and think again.
Dr. Alex Otti, OFR.
Abia State Citizen.