Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
About 72 hours to Saturday’s Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections in Ebonyi State, Police in the state have withdrawn its officers assigned to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Bernard Odoh.
The police had on Monday declared Odoh wanted over the murder of the traditional ruler of Umuezeokaha community, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state, HRH Igboke Ewa.
The state police command withdrew Odoh’s security details on Tuesday night.
Odoh raised alarm over the withdrawal, saying his life was in danger.
“I wish to formally raise the alarm and draw the attention of all men of goodwill that the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Command has withdrawn all officers officially assigned to me,” he stated.
Prof Odoh stated this in a statement he issued on Tuesday night in Abakaliki, capital of the state.
The withdrawal is coming barely 24 hours after the Police declared him and 9 others wanted over the killing of a Monarch in the State.
Mr Odoh further recalled that a few hours after the gruesome murder of the monarch, Ezeogo Christopher Igboke Ewa in cold blood at his Umuezeokoha palace, the Ebonyi State Government was the first to raise an alarm and accuse him pointedly of masterminding the killing.
“The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Hon. Uchenna Orji and the State’s Publicity Secretary for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Simbad Chidi Ogbuatu both made direct and indirect accusations on my person geared not only at tarnishing my soaring image and reputation but also frustrating our campaigns,” he said.
He alleged that since then, the Ebonyi State Police Command has become more of the devil’s advocate – a very willing tool in the hands of a conspicuously desperate Umahi-led APC administration in Ebonyi to harass, intimidate, coerce and arrest his supporters with himself being hunted extra-judicially.
“He said the Police in connivance with the State Government have been plotting to put him out of circulation.
“My teeming supporters and the rest of concerned Ebonyians have been aghast as to why the government’s restlessness to rope me into a murder mess is becoming more fiendish when I should ordinarily be doing the last lap of reach outs to the Ebonyi electorate who have freely and willingly received and welcomed our campaign gospels”
“Doubtless the fact that some members of the deceased monarch ‘s family have made a statement in the Police mentioning me, the fact I wish to reiterate here for the benefit of the reading public is that I have already approached a High Court in suit No: HOW/194/2023 dated 3rd day of March, 2023 secured an order restraining the Police and other security agencies from harassing or arresting me until the matter brought before the Court is determine,” he said.
Mr Odoh noted that both the Inspector General of Police and other relevant security heads have been duly served with the Court order.
He said that the IGP upon being served with it ordered that all actions in the matter be stopped but the CP yet carried on with the matter as though he is serving other interests against that of his boss and superiors.
Mr Odoh lamented that the officers attached to him, including the ones from the State’s Police Command were officially assigned by the IGP.
He expressed worry that following the withdrawal of officers from his residence in Abakaliki and Umuezeokoha village, incriminating evidence may be planted in the residences in order to frame him up.