Ebonyi govt declares former House of Reps member wanted

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The Ebonyi State Government on Tuesday declared a former member of the House of Representatives, Linus Okorie, wanted.

The government accused Mr Okorie of making inciting comments on Facebook which it said contributed to the  beheading of Ebubeagu operative in Ivo Local Government Area two weeks ago.

Mr Okorie, who represented Ọhaọzara, Ivo and Onicha federal constituency from 2011 to 2019, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a critic of Governor Dave Umahi’s administration.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Uchenna Orji, who informed reporters of the government declaration, said the decision was taken after a report on the crisis in Ivo was presented to the State Security Council by security agencies.

“The council noted the report on the issues and the revelations contained in that report and therefore resolved to declare wanted Hon Linus Okorie for the publication of inciting statements, some of which were posted on Facebook that were traced to be part of the inflammatory publications that really incited that very tension that led to the beheading of the Ebubeagu official,” Mr Orji said.

Mr Orji said some other persons were accessories to the “gruesome murder”.

He said the council urged security agencies to expedite action on the investigation with a view to bringing to book all those involved.

The Security Council meeting was chaired by Governor Umahi and attended by heads of security agencies in the state.

The former federal lawmaker, Mr Okorie, in his reaction, said declaring him wanted was a ploy by Mr Umahi to silence opposition in Ebonyi.

He said the state government was planning to use Ebubeagu to “eliminate” him on the excuse that he was evading arrest.

He also said the government was planning to close down an event centre in Abakaliki owned by him.

“It is also a ploy to distract attention from the carnage that Ebubeagu has been wrecking on the people of Ebonyi State as symbolised by the riots and killings in Akaeze in the past few days.

“Governor Umahi is simply looking for a high profile scapegoat to take attention away from the many lives lost to Ebubeagu operatives across the state, and he has chosen me using his State Security Council,” the former lawmaker said.

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