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Police confirm arrest of Labour Party senatorial candidate in Ebonyi

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THE Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of Linus Okorie, the Labour Party senatorial candidate for Ebonyi South.

The Command noted that Okorie, a former member of the House of Representatives, was not abducted, as alleged by his campaign team earlier on Sunday.

A statement released on Monday by the Command’s spokesperson Chris Anyanwu said Okorie was initially apprehended by the Ebubeagu Security Outfit before the police took over the case.

The statement said Okorie was arrested over drug-related matters and several other offences.

“Sequel to initial viral rumours renting the air, cum a press release accredited to one Dr David Ogbonna of Linus Okorie CaringHeart Foundation, purporting that the former member of House of Representatives, was abducted on Sunday.

“The State Police Command swung into action and later traced the said Okorie, who had evaded many police arrests/invitations, to the head office of the Ebubeagu Security Outfit at the Old Government House.

“Police detectives were briefed on why he was arrested which includes his activities and utterances that incited and provoked the violence that engulfed Onicha Community which led to suspected gunmen to unleash mayhem in the area in 2021.

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“Hence, the case has now been taken over by the Police Command for a scrupulous investigation.”

The police said Okorie was severally invited by the Security and Intelligence Bureau of the Command over a petition dated March 23, authored by the State’s Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, alleging that he was spreading fake news against Governor Dave Umahi.

Okorie refused vehemently to report to the SIB over the allegations/petition and instead filed a case in court against the Command, the police said in the statement.

“It is also pertinent to mention that Okorie also have a pending case in which he is implicated in a drug-related offence where the suspects purported to be his agents were arrested for Hard drug sales and use at his City Hub Inn, Mile 50, Abakaliki,” the statement added.

The ICIR had reported that Okorie was said to have been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

Okorie was reportedly kidnapped on Sunday morning in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State capital.

According to the Director of Linus’ CaringHeart Foundation, David Ogbonna, 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.

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However, the accused, Onisha LGA chairman, denied the allegation, stating that Okorie was arrested by NDLEA.

The NDLEA in Ebonyi State also 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.”

Author profile

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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