Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called for the immediate suspension of Ebubeagu, the security unit originally set up to fight crime in the South East of Nigeria.
The human rights organisation says the group may be illegally empowered by incumbent state governments in the region to fight opposition as the 2023 general elections approach.
HURIWA wants the security unit to be disbanded in Ebonyi State, pointing out that it now constitutes a danger to the lives of opponents of Governor Dave Umahi.
Ebubeagu Security Network was recently inaugurated in Ebonyi State and since the launch, HURIWA says there has been a rash of violent attacks launched on leaders of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State.
The human rights advocacy group also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba and the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Magaji Bichi to investigate without delay the alleged threats to the lives of leaders of the Ebonyi State Chapter of the PDP.
HURIWA called on the security heads to ensure that the life of the former member of the Federal House of Representatives from Ebonyi State and a leading light in the state PDP, Representative Linus Okorie is not imperilled or endangered following alleged threats against him made by the security network, Ebubeagu.
HURIWA in a media statement authorised by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said the Ebonyi State government has constituted one of the worst threats to political pluralism in the country.
The group regretted that a statewide vigilante group set up purportedly for the protection of the lives and property of the good people of Ebonyi State is, unfortunately, now being used for political vendetta and politically motivated violent attacks targeting members of the political opposition in Ebonyi State.
“HURIWA wants the EBUBEAGU security outfit in Ebonyi State disbanded since the Ebonyi State government allegedly has turned it into full-fledged armed political thugs of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Ebonyi State,” the statement said.
“The offices of the IGP and DG of DSS should activate mechanisms for the clinical investigation of all the violence unleashed on members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and even journalists for expressing contrary positions to that of the Ebonyi State government.”
HURIWA said it is in receipt of a petition addressed to it by the former member of the Federal House of Representatives from Ebonyi State, Linus Okorie in which he expressed fear that his life is facing imminent danger from the Ebubeagu security outfit in Ebonyi State following an announcement by the Ebonyi State government that he should be arrested for making a social media post critical to the government of Ebonyi State.
The rights group said it wonders how the exercise lawfully of the constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedoms of expression and association are now criminalised in Ebonyi State under Governor Dave Umahi as if the state is not covered by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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