A civil rights group called Future Hope Initiative; (FHI) has expressed dismay over Governor Martin Elechi’s broadcast saying that the governor’s failure to condemn the abduction and attempted murder of the majority leader of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Sam Nwali, “is a grave omission pregnant with a lot of hidden meanings”.
Governor Elechi had in a press conference condemned an advertorial published in one of the national dailies on Tuesday 29th July, stressing that the publication “was a calculated attempt by the sponsors to ram his head against the Lawmakers and his in-laws in Izzi clan over the impeachment of the embattled Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Chukwuma Nwazunku.
The Ebonyi Chief Executive also informed the journalists that efforts were still on to reconcile all the House members to ensure peace and stability across the state adding that since the impeachment of the former Speaker, people have reacted differently; in some cases reaction bordered on peace and security.
But in a statement made available to newsmen, FHI described the governor’s position as an attempt to play the ostrich over the abduction and attempted assassination of Mr. Nwali pointing out that a lot of people in Ebonyi believe that the sponsors of the advertisement were behind the kidnap of the majority leader.
In the statement signed by Ezekiel Nkwuda and Dr. Ikpa Agwu, Executive Director and Publicity Secretary respectively; the rights group noted that by avoiding any mention of the criminal abduction and mayhem meted on the majority leader, the governor “seems to weaken the gravity of the crime and its implications on peace and security in Ebonyi State.
Part of the statement read: “We listened to the press conference addressed by Ebonyi State Governor Chief Martin Elechi on the attempt by some people to use a sponsored advertorial in a national daily to dismiss the recent impeachment of the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Chukwuma Nwazunku, as an attempt to impeach Governor Elechi.
“The Governor succeeded in his clever use of words to show the negative intentions of the sponsors of the advertorial by stressing that ‘their intention is evil and all it is about is condemnable’. But we are pained that the governor did not spare a word or sentence to draw attention to the crime of abduction and attempted assassination on the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Mr. Sam Nwali”.
FHI noted that by failing to make any comment on the abduction of Nwali after he personally visited the victim at the state headquarters of the Department of State Security Services, the Governor has left the impression in the minds of citizens that he sanctioned the attack as being claimed by the suspects.
“We are compelled to point out the worrying implications of this seemingly deliberate oversight especially in the light of the approaching elections in the country. The situation becomes very disturbing when the suspects are left to walk the streets freely after just three hours of police interrogation,” the statement added.
The group therefore called on the new Inspector General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, to match his vow to fight criminals to a standstill by ordering “fresh investigations into the kidnap of Ebonyi majority leader and the attempts to cover up the crime on the pretext of political competition”.