BY CHARLES IWUOHA
The Ebonyi State Government on Tuesday declared a former federal lawmaker, Hon. Linus Okorie, wanted for alleged defamatory publication on Facebook.
Okorie, a two-term lawmaker who represented Onicha, Ohaozara, and Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi, is a member of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ebonyi State Government at a joint press briefing by the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Barrister Cletus Ofoke, and the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barrister Uchenna Orji, accused Okorie of inciting statement on his Facebook page which led to the murder of Ebubeagu security personnel in Ikwo Local Government Area of the state.
Orji said: “Council considered a report presented to it by security agencies on the beheading of an Ebubeagu official in Ikwo local government area on 9th of January 2022.
“The council noted the report on the issues and the revelation contained that report and therefore resolved to declare wanted one Hon Linus Okorie for the publication of an inciting statements some of which were posted on Facebook that were traced to be part of the inflammatory publications that really incited that very tension that led to the beheading of the Ebubeagu official.”
Mr Orji said the council noted that some other persons were accessories to the gruesome murder of the individual.
He said the council urged security agencies to expedite action on the investigation with a view to bringing all those involved to face the law.
In his swift reaction, Okorie noted that there were no particulars of the allegation leveled against him to warrant the defamatory declaration by the state security council.
His words: “If, indeed, such a decision was arrived taken by the Security Council, one would doubt that the police and other security agencies were represented at such a meeting.
“This is because it is the duty of the Nigerian Police to investigate crimes and invite all named suspects for interrogation and even when a suspect fails to honor an invitation, there is a clear procedure that must be followed before such a person can be declared wanted by the police and not any security council meeting.
“Let it be known that I have never been invited to answer to any allegations by the Nigerian Police or other security agencies anywhere in Nigeria”.
“Two, without so inviting by the police, I cannot lawfully be declared wanted by any authority for such an alleged crime by the police or any other authority under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Again, going through the excerpts of the media briefing, I find no particulars of the allegation leveled against me to warrant the defamatory declaration by the said state security council.”