Gunmen abduct Labour Party senatorial candidate in Ebonyi

THE Labour Party senatorial candidate for the Ebonyi South, Linus Okorie, has been abducted by gunmen.

Okorie, a former member of the House of Representatives, was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday morning in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State capital.

It was gathered that Okorie arrived Abakaliki from Abuja on Saturday to meet with his supporters on Sunday in the Onicha Local Government Area of the state.

He was said to have been kidnapped while driving out of his Abakaliki residence.

A statement released on Sunday by the Director of Linus’ CaringHeart Foundation, David Ogbonna, said the gunmen, alleged to be members of the Ebubeagu vigilante outfit, were sent by the Onisha Local Government Area chairman to kidnap the LP senatorial candidate.

The statement alleged that the former lawmaker was tortured.

Parts of the statement read: “The available information confirms that he’d been severely tortured to a near-death situation, made naked, and pictures of him taken by his abductors.

“The information available at this moment confirms that their end-point motive is to torture him to death and dump his body at Ebonyi river.

“His phones are currently with the team commander of his abductors.

“A professional tracking done on his lines reviewed Okoja Road, near Police Headquarters, as his current location. The second line showed Ebunwana, Edda.

“We’re believing that his abductors may have kept his half-dead body at old Government House where the previous actions of the indicted militia group usually take place.”

However, the chairman of Onicha LGA, Chidiebere Uzor, who was accused by Okorie’s supporters, debunked allegations that he sent the gunmen to kidnap the LP senatorial flagbearer.

A statement by the LGA chairman’s Special Assistant, Akpuru Anioke, said, “The attention of staff, management, and peace-loving indigenes of Onicha LGA has been drawn to a malicious allegation levelled on our executive chairman, Hon. Chidibere Uzor, by one Ogbonnaya David from Ohaozara LGA.

“I, on behalf of our amiable boss, wish to categorically inform the general public that the executive chairman of Onicha LGA has never and will never involve in the abduction or arrest of any law-abiding citizen.

“Our peace-loving chairman did not arrange for the alleged abduction/arrest of Hon. Linus Abba Okorie as timidly accused by the named room divider. Hon. Linus Abaa Okorie and Hon. Chidibere Uzor are true and patriotic sons of Onicha Igboeze, and I am vehemently convinced that one cannot plan any evil for the other irrespective of differences in their party ideologies and practices.

“Information on public space has it that Hon. Linus Abah Okorie and three other drug peddlers were arrested and not abducted by the state security architecture on a drug-related case and have been handed over to NDLEA for other necessary actions. For more information, one can contact the NDLEA office at Abakaliki.”



    The LGA chairman, Uzor, also told journalists that Okorie was arrested by the operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for harbouring drug dealers in his City Hub.

    But The Punch reported that the NDLEA in Ebonyi State said it did not arrest Okorie.

    The State Commandant of the NDLEA, Iyke Uche, said, “We never arrested (him) or was anybody with that name handed over to us. There is nobody like that in our custody.”

    Update: The police have confirmed arresting him. Read it here

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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