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Nigerians React As Umahi’s Orderlies Flog Civil Servants In Ebonyi

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An alleged video showing suspected military men flogging civil servants and others at the site of the ongoing Ebonyi Airport, Onueke, in the Ezza South Local Government Area of the state has sparked outrage on social media.

 

It was alleged that the military men executed the act on Tuesday under the instruction of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state.

 

This is as the State Government debunked the claims, saying those shown in the video were miscreants who planned to enforce sit-at-home orders and instill fear in workers on the site while the governor was on inspection.

 

Commenting on the video, a lawyer and human rights activist, in the state, Barr Steve Ugama, described it as unfortunate, adding it was demeaning of an elected governor.

 

He said, “I have watched the video and it is clearly evident that it happened right in the presence of the governor. It’s utterly disgusting. There are better ways of punishing civil servants who came to work late.

 

“For an elected governor to order the flogging of citizens in the manner as portrayed in the video is very unfortunate. It should never have happened and all right-thinking citizens of the state have to condemn it. It’s so demeaning.

 

“Our governor keeps doing things that will rubbish the good works he has done. It’s my hope that those he flogged will take steps to seek redress in appropriate courts.”

 

The Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Chika Nwoba, said, “Governor David Umahi ordering his military security men to beat workers in Ebonyi State, shows the state is becoming a junta of a regime.

 

“Umahi is becoming a military ruler in a democracy. His APC gubernatorial candidate, Francis Nwifuru, is watching and probably learning the art of brutish governance.”

 

He added, on his Facebook Page, on Tuesday night, “Governor David Umahi visited the Ebonyi airport site in Onueke by 7:30 am today. He ordered that the gate be closed against workers arriving at the site after him. He ordered his military men to flog each of them with 7, 12, and 18 strokes of the cane. All the workers and civil servants rolled on the muddy floor and were flogged like common criminals. The elders amongst them cried aloud to no mercy.

 

“Is it wrong having a worker coming to a construction site by 8 and 8:30 a.m from Abakaliki to Ezza South/North LGAs, where the site is located?

 

“If a governor could treat his elders including a Permanent Secretary that way, what about his wife in the house? What about those working for him in the house?”

 

On his part, a former Commissioner for Information in the state and PDP stalwart, Abia Onyike, said the situation further portrayed the governor as “brutal, primitive, and barbaric”.

 

“It’s extremely unfortunate that such a practice can take place in the 21st Century in this part of the world because flogging civil servants is barbaric, primitive, and brutal. And this is what Umahi typifies.

 

“The civil servants allegedly came to work late or violated laid down rules of the service; then there are laid down rules also, about measures that should be taken with regards to punishment. They are supposed to be queried by their unit heads. It’s the civil service rule that stipulates the punishment that should be handed out to them, not the governor.

 

“I have always held the view that Governor Umahi is a very lawless leader. And maybe, if he has his way, he can even become a brutal dictator. So what we are seeing is a manifestation of those very crude tendencies that we have often talked about. And it’s very regrettable that up till this moment, he is yet to be refined, and has continued in his old ways even few months to the end of his 8-year tenure, as governor of Ebonyi State.

 

“Ebonyi people should get ready to vote against the governor’s party, which is the APC. They should vote against candidates of the governor’s party because the governor is very ‘influential’ and he influenced the primaries of the APC. Some of the leaders, who have been given tickets are people who have the same mentality as the governor and so, there is no way the state can develop properly with people like that who are still desirous of taking over from him. The crises we have witnessed under Umahi will continue if we allow people like him to take over the state as the next leaders. Let Ebonyi people vote against his party and give PDP a chance to reclaim the state as before. Umahi is fighting to be a Senator in Ebonyi South Zone; he should not be allowed. I employ Ebonyians not to vote for him,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, the state government debunked the video, saying it was a “manipulation of an aborted attempt by miscreants to block the Airport gate.”

 

The Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, stated this in a statement, on Tuesday.

 

“Our attention has been drawn to doctored footage purporting to be Civil Servants rolling on the ground and being flogged by security personnel in the presence of the Governor of Ebonyi State while on inspection at the Government House gate, Abakaliki as reported in Sahara Reporters publication and shared widely in different social media platforms and accepted line hook and sinker by the gullible.

 

“We wish to inform members of the public that the purported footage is a video manipulation of an aborted attempt by miscreants to block the Airport gate and inflict fear on those working at the ongoing International Airport and possibly embarrass the Governor who was on a routine inspection visit to the Airport project, in guise that they were enforcing sit-at-home- order at the premises of the Airport on Tuesday, 4th September 2022.

 

“It would be recalled that miscreants had in the past tried to attack those working at the Airport site and their plots were neutralized

 

“Contrary to the fake report that the incident happened at the gate of the Government House in Abakaliki while the Governor was under supervision, the miscreants were dispelled at the gate of the new Airport under construction. It is to be noted that no Civil Servants or employees whatsoever have been recruited to work in the Airport and so no Civil Servant was flogged at the Airport gate, contrary to the impression in the trending report. We are therefore surprised at the basis of the unintelligent fabrications of the mischief makers.”

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