Tension in Ebonyi PDP as groups clash
– Youth leader arrested
By Ruth Oginyi
There was chaos in the Ebonyi state PDP office at the early hours of yesterday, when men from the Ebonyi state police command took over the party secretariat to dispatch supporters of two PDP groups, separately, led by the caretaker chairman, Fred Udogu, and the dissolved committee chairman, Onyekachi Nwebonyi.
The police had stormed the party office located along the Enugu-Abakaliki highway, shooting into the air to dispatch the youths.
The drama, however, led to the arrest of one Bar Obinna Iteshi, the PDP youth leader in the state.
Recall that Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja had, in January 2021, issued an order restricting Onyekachi Nwebonyi and his members from parading themselves as PDP members and the leadership of the party. The court also restricted the Independent National Electoral Commission from dealing with them as PDP members.
A report has it that, based on the order, the Udeogu-led committee tried to take over the secretariat on Monday but the police in the state restricted them, arresting Iteshi from the secretariat.
Orient Daily observed the heavy presence of policemen and men in military uniform with armoured personnel careers and other police vans.
While both the Udeogu and Nwebonyi groups mobilised youths to the secretariat, it was alleged that the Akubaraoha Youth Assembly, the youth organisation of the state governor, also mobilised youths to the party office, ostensibly to rescue a family said to be under attack, as directed through a text message.
The text message read, “AYA members are directed to rush to beside People’s Democratic Party State Secretariat at Enugu-Abakaliki express road now. A nearby family is being attacked.”
When contacted on phone for police confirmation, the police commissioner in the state, CP Aliyu Garba, said he was on the matter, ” Call me back. That is the issue I’m acting on now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party Caretaker Committee in the state has condemned the whole Monday morning drama that played out at the party office.
In a statement issued by the publicity secretary, Barr Silas Onu, accused the police of bias.
The party, while appealing to the Department of the State Service to do the needful by protecting the party members in the state, also urging the police to do same.
“Today, we are deeply saddened to report that the lives of Ebonyi people are no longer valuable to those mandated to protect them.
“Upon a valid court order, which restrained Nwebonyi, we duly notified the police of our intention to access our secretariat today.
“Upon arrival, the police were ordered to frustrate that effort and they swung into action. Firstly, the deputy commissioner in charge of operations asked that we go and obtained an “Enforcement Order” as if the case is one requiring further order(s) to give validity to the initial order – this is laughable!
“The police came and began to arrest our members on a spurious claim that the already vandalised secretariat is now being vandalised today.”
“It is very interesting how the police are now being used to play out a script that promotes disorder and fuels crisis in Ebonyi state.
“If the Ebonyi police command is no longer the Nigerian police, it will be good for us to be notified as we can no longer trust a public institution that is working to create division, crisis, and disorder through the overt act of subverting a valid court order and encouraging a renegade to cover his crimes.
“Now, we are only left with the option of pleading with the DSS to do the needful and restore order in Ebonyi state as this little spark is not a healthy sign. It may appear innocuous, but only God knows how such senseless attacks end. The lives of many people are a stake here.