Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Police in Ebonyi State has declared the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Professor Ifeanyi Odoh wanted.
Professor Odoh and 9 others were declared wanted on Monday over the murder of a Monarch, Igbokwe Ewa.
The Monarch was killed last week Monday in his country home by unknown gunmen.
He was until his death, the traditional ruler of Umu-Ezekoha Community in Ezza North Local Government Area.
Following his death last week, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had accused Odoh and his supporters of having a hand in the Monarch’s death.
But Mr Odoh had vehemently denied the allegations stating that the Monarch, who hails from same local government with him, was like a father to him.
However, on Monday, the Spokesperson of the Command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, in a statement declared Odoh and 9 others wanted.
“The Ebonyi State Police Command has declared the under-listed persons wanted in connection with the murder of His Royal Highness Eze Christopher Igboke Ewa of Umu-Ezekoha Community in Ezza North,” read the statement.
The Spokesperson listed others on the wanted list to include: Samuel Onyekachi Aligwe; Peter Orogwu (aka one boy); Chukwudi Aliewa (aka Ezza); and Chika Ezealigbo.
Others are: Nnaemeka Egede (aka Champaign); Nnabuike Okohu; Ogobuchi Agbom (aka Okiri); Nonso Obasi; Ikechukwu Nwoba (aka Solid).
“The Command urges the good people of Ebonyi State and the general public to assist in apprehending the suspects if seen or call the Command emergency number 07064515001 or the nearest Police station with any useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects,” the statement concluded.
Police statement subjudice – Odoh
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate for Ebonyi State, Bernard Odoh has said that the Police lacks the jurisdiction to declare him wanted.
According to him, a High Court in Owerri had barred the Police from harassing or arresting him.
Mr Odoh was reacting to a statement by the Police earlier on Monday declaring him wanted over the death of a Monarch, Eze Igboke Ewa.
The APGA governorship candidate maintained that he had no hand in the death of the Monarch.
“Wile I again, sympathise with the family over this very painful, unfortunate and tragic loss, I reiterate my earlier positions in the media that I know nothing, absolutely nothing about the assassination of my Traditional Ruler, HRH. Ezeogo Igboke Ewa of Umuezeokaoha in Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi State and the Chairman of Ezza Traditional Rulers”
“The allegations against me in the said publication are all false in every material fact, malicious, baseless, spurious and should be totally discountenanced by the general public.
“For the Nigerian law still presumes an accused person innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he said.
Odoh, a professor of geophysics noted that the other 9 persons listed in the said letter as being declared wanted are APGA supporters/members from his Umuezeokaoha community.
“I don’t have other inter-personal relationships or dealings with them except that being an urbane and accomplished figure, some of them look up to me as their role model and mentor,”he declared.
Mr Odoh revealed that he has already obtained an Order from the High Court, Owerri, in No: HOW/194/2023 dated 3rd day of March, 2023 restraining the police and other security agencies from harassing or arresting him until the matter brought before the court is determined.
He noted that the IGP and other security agencies have been served with the court order accordingly.
“The IG upon being served the said order stopped all actions in the matter in respect to the court but the CP Ebonyi State who is under the IG continued to take further action in the matter contrary to the order of court,” he said.
He noted that the family of the Late Eze filed a suit in Suit Number HBA/47MC/2023 alleging that the CP Ebonyi State has compromised by failing to arrest him.
He said that while the Ebonyi High Court has yet to rule on the matter, the Commissioner or Police Ebonyi State continued to take steps over the matter that are subjudice.
“I am not on the run and cannot be said to be on the run for any reason whatsoever but pursuing and seeking the resolution of the false and misleading allegations brought against me through legal and peaceful means”
“The allegations are politically-motivated and intended to undermine my chances of winning this Saturday’s Governorship election in Ebonyi State which I am the leading candidate,” he said.
Mr Odoh therefore, urged his supporters across the State and beyond to remain calm, focused and resolute in their efforts to win the coming gubernatorial election and liberate the people from the prevailing constant harassment and intimidation.
Increasing political violence
Ebonyi State has become notorious for political violence in the lead up to the general election with attacks on opposition candidates on the rise across the state.
Late last year, Mr Odoh and his convoy were attacked in Izzi Local Government.
Though no life was lost in that attack, one of the cars in his convoy was damaged by gunshot fired by the attackers.
Odoh, was again a victim of deadly attack in Ishielu Local Government Area, during which a police officer and his personal driver died.
The home of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives Candidate for Izzi/Abakaliki constituency, Barnabas Ofoke was also attacked by gunmen last month.
Cars and other valuables in the compound, which was to be used as campaign ground of the party’s governorship candidate, Ifeanyi Odii, were destroyed.
An APC supporter was also killed last month in Ishielu Local Government Area as gunmen opened fire on a campaign ground in the area.