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Alleged defamation: Free Tinubu's media coordinator, Keyamo tells Diri

  The Spokesman for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has demanded the immediate release of the Ba...


 

The Spokesman for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has demanded the immediate release of the Bayelsa State Media Coordinator, Ebikpoemi Ugo, from the state police custody.

 

This is as he knocked Governor Douye Diri for being allegedly intolerant of criticisms from the opposition and his unnecessary show of force through the use of state security agents.

 

Keyamo made the call in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday.

 

Ugo, who is also the Publicity Secretary of Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was allegedly arrested by the Bayelsa State Police Command on October 18 following a petition by the governor.

 

In the petition, Diri accused Ugo of making two unfounded claims through his Facebook posts.

 

The first social media post, which the governor said was targeted at him read, “What about the Federal Government N150m sent to the state?” while the second stated “Shameful broadcast and you still have mind begging Muhammadu Buhari for more money when the one he brought was pocketed.”

 

Consequently, Ugo was picked up by security operatives and detained for several days before he was arraigned in court for “Defamation of Character” and “Conduct Likely to Cause Breach of Peace”.

 

The APC council spokesman was later remanded in prison custody, where he allegedly remains under terrible conditions.

 

Reacting to his travail, Keyamo knocked the state governor who he said was using the state police to attack the opposition.

 

His statement read, “We are extremely disturbed by the actions of Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State in respect of the arrest, charge and remand in prison custody of Mr. Ebikpoemi Ugo.

 

 “Incidentally, this gentleman is also the Tinubu Media Centre Coordinator, Bayelsa State.

 

“To say we are shocked by the conduct and complaint of Governor Diri is an understatement. Here is an opposition governor who is at the forefront of the call for State Police already misusing the police to oppress a hapless and harmless citizen just asking valid questions (even without mentioning the governor’s name).

 

“These are the same leaders of the opposition that are quick to cry blue murder at the slightest provocation if the act had been that of an APC governor or the Federal Government. These are the same opposition governors that are begging Nigerians to re-elect them because they have allegedly turned a new leaf. Alas! The leopard cannot change its spot.”

 

The Minister of State for Labour stated that it was on record that despite the deluge of misinformation and abuses against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on a daily basis on social media, he did not succumb to using security agencies to clamp down on the opposition over ‘mere defamatory posts’ on social media.

 

Keyamo disclosed that the president instead went further to even confer people including his critics with National Honours.

 

According to him, if the APC governors retaliate in their various states by clamping down on officials of the opposition parties, it will result in an open invitation to chaos across the country.

 

He, therefore, called on Diri to instruct the Bayelsa Police Command and Attorney-General of the State to effect the immediate and unconditional release of the suspect.

 

“That Governor Diri of Bayelsa State should immediately withdraw his complaint to the police, which in turn should immediately withdraw the charges and discontinue the trial of Mr. Ugo and set him free. He can also choose to immediately instruct the Attorney-General of Bayelsa State to take over the matter from the Police and enter a nolle prosecui (discontinue the trial).

 

​“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, can also immediately instruct the Bayelsa State Police Command to withdraw the Charges against Mr. Ugo forthwith and set him free.

 

“Anything short of any of these options above will be oppressive, barbaric and undemocratic and would be consequently unacceptable to us and we shall respond fully in a lawful and legitimate manner. A word is enough for the wise,” he said.

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