By Augustine Anioke
The Police and Ebonyi state government have come under attacks for the alleged arrest of one Godfrey Chikwere for alleged Cyberbullying and other allegations.
This followed a petition said to have been written by the state Commissioner for Information and state Orientation, Uchenna Orji to the Police against Mr Chikwere.
In the petition, dated 8, October 2021, and This Newspaper, Mr Orji, a Lawyer, titled it, ‘Report of publication of fake news, hate speach and incisive (sic) publication and cyber bullying by Godfrey Chikwere.
The Commissioner in the petition accused Chikwere, a former Technical Assistant to Governor David Umahi, of spreading fake news against the military and politicians which he said were inciting.
The petition reads: “I write to inform your esteemed office as follows: that on 8th of October 2021 at about 14:44 hours, one Godfrey Chikwere with phone number 0806157**** did publish a fake news and incisive (sic) in facebook profile called Godfrey Chikwere and other media platforms and stated as follows “Nigerian Army is seriously and willingly losing respect”.
Mr Orji further said: “that on the same 8th of October 2021, Godfrey Chikwere in the Facebook profile made a dangerous and disturbing publication and stated as follows: they(politicians) can pay a youth to murder a perceived political enemy but they can(sic) give such youth money to start a business”.
“That that this false, fake and incisive(sic) publication is intended to cause fear, cyber bullying, riot crisis and breach of the peace in the state.
The Commissioner further alleged that Mr Godfrey Chickwere by the said publications has acted in violation of the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes (Prohibition)Laws No 012 of 2021.
He urged the Commissioner of Police to arrest and prosecute Mr Chikwere.
“I urge your good offices to arrest and prosecute Godfrey Chikwere for publishing rumours and statements capable of causing fear and false alarm under section 4 of Ebonyi State Cybercrimes law of 2021”, he said.
Mr Chikwere spoke briefly to Our Reporter on phone from the Police station.
He told the reporter that he had been at the State Police Headquarters, Abakaliki since morning.
He did not say if he was arrested or invited.
Police:’We did not arrest him’
Spokesperson for the Police in Ebonyi, Loveth Odah said Mr Chikwere was not under arrest.
“I spotted him yesterday (Saturday) at the station and I think he left. If he came back today I am not aware”, she said.
Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Garba could not be reached.
He did not respond to calls at the time of this report.
Also, Mr Orji when contacted refused to to confirm or deny writing the petition or commenting on the matter.
He said: “Wait till tomorrow when I will confirm it” after which he cut the call.
Condemnations trail arrest
Meanwhile, condemnations have continued to trail the arrest of Mr Chikwere.
Reacting to the alleged arrest, a social commentator, Pauline Ucha admonished the state government to focus on tackling the security challenges facing the state.
She said: “This prattle cum hogwash peddled here by Uchenna Orji doesn’t worth the arrest of Mr Godfrey Chikwere. What he said on his facebook page is nothing but the truth!
“Ebonyi State government drives much joy in intimidating / humiliating people, please free Godfrey Chikwere he is not the problem facing southeast right now!”
“Your concentrations should be focused on the incessant killings in the land especially the most recent one that happened at Onicha Igbeze, all these menace needs government action instead of diverting their attention to irrelevant issues”
“From all indications, this present day administration in Ebonyi State detest criticism and I ask, what is the need of democratic governance since one is no longer entitle to freedom of speech, this is very pathetic government want everyone to clap for them even in the face of evil.
‘Free Godfrey Chikwere, he committed no offence to warrant his arrest because a lot of people have written something more inciting than his”, she said.
Sacked in December by Gov. Umahi
Mr Chikwere was one of the retinue of Aides sacked in December last year by Governor David Umahi following his defection to the All Progressive Congress from the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).
He was a Technical Assistant on Media, to the governor before his removal.
Secretary to the State Government/Coordinating Commissioner had in statement announcing his sacking said that Chikwere was sacked in order to enhance service delivery.
However, Mr Chikwere said he was sacked because he refused to insult elders and equally discourage others from doing so on Facebook on behalf of the state government.
He also said that he was sacked for being close to National Assembly members elected under the platform of Umahu’s former party, PDP especially Senator Obinna Ọgba who represents Ebonyi Central District as the Senate.
He, however, noted that he knew that he will soon be sacked from office.
He further thanked Governor Umahi and asked for God’s blessings upon him for the opportunity to serve the State.