EBONYI State Governor, David Umahi, on Wednesday insisted that his ex-Technical Assistant on Media, Godfrey Chikwere (aka Baby Mouth), must face the law.
Umahi, who said it was expedient for citizens to know that the Cybercrime Law was in existence in the state, observed that the society was doomed without it.
The state government had urged the police to arrest and prosecute Chikwere, owing to his activities on social media.
The state Commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, had while addressing journalists in Abakaliki, on Tuesday, said Chikwere’s activities on the social media were against the state’s Cybercrime Prohibition Law 2021.
The police were said to have planned to arraign him before he became sick.
Orji had said the state government was enforcing the law of the land as passed by the House of Assembly and assented to by the governor.
According to him, the suspect published on social media, among others things that “it is clear that the Nigeria Army is seriously losing respect from the public” and that “politicians will instigate the youths to kill themselves and still be the ones to give their families money to set up businesses”.
But the governor, while speaking in his office at the Centenary City, Abakaliki, on Wednesday, said, “People are talking about Baby Mouth. I didn’t arrest Baby Mouth; it’s the law that arrested him.
It’s important to know that we have a law now on fake news, which my ‘journalists’ and aides should know that fake news coming from anybody must be answerable. The Federal Government has theirs and we now have our own; the Cybercrime Law.
“Unless we deploy this, our society will continue to go bad. You don’t just wake up and begin to tarnish people’s image.
“The young man is from Enugu State. They carried out an army activity in Enugu, he didn’t comment on it. But when it was carried out in Ebonyi, he now started to incite the people of Ebonyi State against the army, so that the army will now begin to have confrontation with our people here.
“Our people needed to be very sensitive and this is very important. It (army activity) was done in Anambra; it was done in Enugu and why is it that it was when it was done in Ebonyi that someone from Enugu State was hired to start commenting about it?
“People have been begging for his release, but it is not in my hands. We must test the law. He must go to court. We will test the efficacy of Mr Speaker’s law. They can call me any name, but that my seat, nobody can touch it.”
In a swift reaction, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has condemned the state government action towards the radio presenter, saying his arrest was not only inhuman, but also barbaric.
The opposition party stated this in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Silas Onu, a copy of which was made available on Wednesday.
Describing his arrest as unlawful, the PDP claimed that the Ebonyi State Police Command was not deploying its duty of crime detection and investigation before moving into arrest of innocent citizens.
The statement read in part, “The PDP, Ebonyi State, has kept vigilance over the unlawful arrest of Mr. Godfrey Chikwere by the Nigeria Police based on a trumped-up, watery complaint signed by the state Commissioner for Information.
“While we totally condemn his arrest by the police based on a flimsy complaint, we wish to call on the police to be an institution that is truly for the people. The entire drama is totally embarrassing to an institution as the police.”