Festus Keyamo, spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, has condemned the arrest and detention of Ebikpoemi Ebikibina Ugo, APC publicity secretary of Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA in Bayelsa.
Ugo was arrested on the orders of Duoye Diri, governor of Bayelsa, over a Facebook post.
Reacting to the development, Keyamo who described the arrest as illegal asked the governor to immediately order the release of Ugo.
He said: “(1)We are extremely disturbed by the actions of Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State in respect of the arrest, charge and remand in prison custody of the APC Publicity Secretary of Kolokuma/Opokuma L.G.A of Bayelsa State, Mr. Ebikpoemi Ebikibina Ugo. Incidentally, this gentleman is also the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (ABAT) Media Center Co-ordinator, Bayelsa State.
“(2)We have been reliably informed that, following a compliant by Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa State to the Police, Mr. Ugo was arrested by the Bayelsa State Police Command on the 18th of October, 2022 for making two Facebook posts as follows:
“(a)“What about the Federal Government N150m sent to the State?
“(b)“Shameful broadcast and you still have mind begging Muhammadu Buhari for more money when the one he brought was pocketed.”
(See the facebook posts attached).
“(3)Mr. Ugo was then detained illegally for several days before he was arraigned in court for “Defamation of Character” and “Conduct Likely to Cause Breach of Peace”. He was subsequently remanded in prison custody, where he remains till date under terrible conditions.
“(4)To say we are shocked by the conduct and complaint of Governor Diri is an understatement. Here is an opposition Governor who is at the forefront of the call for State Police already misusing the Police to oppress a hapless and harmless citizen just asking valid questions (even without mentioning the Governor’s name). These are the same leaders of the opposition that are quick to cry blue murder at the slightest provocation if the act had been that of an APC Governor or the Federal Government. These are the same opposition Governors that are begging Nigerians to re-elect them because they have allegedly turned a new leaf. Alas! The leopard cannot change its spot.
“(5)It is on record that despite the deluge of misinformation and abuses against President Muhammadu Buhari on a daily basis on social media, he has NEVER FOR ONCE used the Police to clamp down on anyone as a result of a mere defamatory post on social media. Instead, he even conferred some of them with National Honours recently. If the APC Governors retaliate in their various States by clamping down on officials of opposition parties, it will be an invitation to total chaos across the country.
“(6)It is unfortunate that there is always a tendency to see it as “oppression” only if it is an act of the ruling party. However, the Press and the entire gamut of Civil Society cannot apply a different standard because this dastardly act is being perpetrated by an opposition Governor.
“In the light of the foregoing, we make the following SPECIFIC DEMANDS:
“(1)That Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa State IMMEDIATELY withdraws his compliant to the Police, which in turn should IMMEDIATELY withdraw the Charges and discontinue the trial of Mr. Ugo and set him free; or
“(2)Gov. Douye Diri should IMMEDIATELY instruct the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State to take over the matter from the Police and enter a nolle prosecui (discontinue the trial).
“(3)The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, should IMMEDIATELY instruct the Bayelsa State Police Command to withdraw the Charges against Mr. Ugo forthwith and set him free.
“Anything short of any of these options above will be oppressive, barbaric and undemocratic and would be consequently unacceptable to us and we shall respond fully in a lawful and legitimate manner.
“A word is enough for the wise.