The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has raised alarm over the safety of the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, saying his life is in danger.
Ugochinyere was reportedly arrested on Thursday, June 18 by the police in Abuja over the comments he made about the controversial Infectious Disease Bill. Ugochinyere had released a statement in May, condemning the bill and also alleging that some forces were planning to give the lawmakers some money to quickly pass the controversial bill.
The House of Representatives denied the allegation and also invited him to come forward to substantiate his claim. He never did. The lawmakers said a warrant of arrest would be issued for him if he failed to appear before the house. Ugochinyere immediately approached a Federal High Court and secured an order from the court barring the police from arresting him.
However last Thursday, he was reportedly arrested and has been in police custody.
At a press conference over the weekend, the CNPP Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu, alleged that investigations by the parties shows Ugochinyere is kept in a crowded cell of about 40 people, exposing him to COVID-19.
“Our major fears at the moment is that Mr. Ikenga may not come out of police detention alive. Our findings show that not only that Mr. Ikenga is kept in a crowded cell of about 40 people, people arrested for contravening the COVID-19 protocols and curfew have continued to be added to the cell.
This may be part of a plot to ensure that Mr. Ikenga does not leave the police custody alive. It is surprising that at a time the Police authorities are expected to decongest detention facilities nationwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the contrary is the case.
The CNPP therefore alert all Nigerians of good conscience that Ugochinyere’s life is currently in danger and the police authorities should be held responsible if he tests positive for COVID-19 after 14 days of his release.” he said
Speaking further, Ezugwu said
“We also found that there is a well thought out plan by anti-opposition elements to keep Barrister Ikenga in perpetual detention in police custody. This became evident at the weekend when the police came up with an administrative bail option, demanding as part of the bail terms, a Permanent Secretary, who owns a landed property in the Federal capital Territory (FCT).
How on earth can an opposition spokesman get a Permanent Secretary, who was appointed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government, to sign a bail bond?
Is it not even more of an impossible task when the instigator of the arrest of Mr. Ikenga, the Speaker of the House of Reps, is serving the APC interest in the National Assembly? This is a calculated attempt to keep Ikenga in custody as long as possible.”
He called on the Inspector General of Police to immediately obey the order of the court or step aside.
“For us, it is better to resign than to allow yourself to be misled by anti-democratic forces in the House of Reps. More so, we are aware that the current Inspector General of Police has worked hard in redeeming the image of the police, but the current disobedience to a clear court order will definitely erase all his positive achievements so far.
We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to use his remaining three years in office to change the narrative of oppression against his government and order all security agencies to henceforth obey all court orders in the land.
We will not hesitate to mobilise all pro-democracy forces and civil society groups for a lockdown of the National Assembly if the Speaker of the House of Representatives is not immediately called to order by Mr. President and the APC.
The Speaker cannot be a judge in his own case; he cannot be a lawmaker, a law enforcement authority and interpreter of the law all at the same time in a country where there is separation of powers. In this matter, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has clearly demonstrated how undemocratic and manipulative his leadership can be in the next three years.” he said