A former media aide to Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, Godfery Chikwere, arrested and detained by the police following a petition by an Ebonyi State government official, slumped on Monday at the facility where he is being detained.
He was rushed to the state’s police headquarters clinic for treatment but his condition reportedly worsened as the clinic is said to be inadequately equipped to cater to his health challenge.
He was subsequently taken to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki(AE-FUTHA) for further treatment.
Mr Chikwere, popularly known as Baby Mouth, a former Presenter at the state’s radio station, Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation(EBBC), was arrested few days ago by the police following a petition against him by the state government for making a publication on his Facebook handle which the government considered as offensive.
According to a source, he was to be arraigned on Monday by the police before the court to face charges against him but was said to be in crisis following the sickness.
Another source told this reporter that at AE-FUTHA where he is being treated, police officers were said to have been deployed to prevent visitors from seeing him.
His wife, Onyinyechi, confirmed his ill-health to reporters in Abakaliki.
She said “my husband started falling sick yesterday night when he was in the police station. So, he became worst and the police clinic couldn’t handle it. He is here in AE-FUTHA since this morning.
“They couldn’t diagnose anything at the police clinic but he was in serious crisis. So, no we are in AE-FUTHA, from the explanations on what is wrong with him, I think it is acute appendicitis but I don’t know yet”.
Police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Oda, when contacted, said she was not aware that he was in AE-FUTHA and promised to go to the hospital to see him.
Mr Chikwere’s arrest followed a petition said to have been written by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji, to the police..
In the petition, dated 8 October, 2021, and seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Orji, a lawyer, titled it, ‘Report of publication of fake news, hate speech and incisive (sic) publication and cyber bullying by Godfrey Chikwere.
The commissioner in the petition accused Mr Chikwere, a former Technical Assistant to Governor Umahi, of spreading fake news against the military and politicians which he said were inciting.
The petition reads: “I write to inform your esteemed office as follows: that on 8th of October 2021 at about 14:44 hours, one Godfrey Chikwere with phone number 0806157**** did publish a fake news and incisive (sic) in facebook profile called Godfrey Chikwere and other media platforms and stated as follows “Nigerian Army is seriously and willingly losing respect”.
Mr Orji further said: “that on the same 8th of October 2021, Godfrey Chikwere in the Facebook profile made a dangerous and disturbing publication and stated as follows: they(politicians) can pay a youth to murder a perceived political enemy but they can(sic) give such youth money to start a business”.
“That that this false, fake and incisive(sic) publication is intended to cause fear, cyber bullying, riot crisis and breach of the peace in the state.
The Commissioner further alleged that Chikwere by the said publications has acted in violation of the Ebonyi State Cybercrimes (Prohibition)Laws No 012 of 2021.
He urged the Commissioner of Police to arrest and prosecute Mr Chikwere.
“I urge your good offices to arrest and prosecute Godfrey Chikwere for publishing rumours and statements capable of causing fear and false alarm under section 4 of Ebonyi State Cybercrimes law of 2021”, he said.
Condemnations trail arrest
Meanwhile, condemnations have continued to trail the arrest of Mr Chikwere.
Reacting to the alleged arrest, a social commentator, Pauline Ucha, admonished the state government to focus on tackling the security challenges facing the state.
She said: “This prattle cum hogwash peddled here by Uchenna Orji doesn’t worth the arrest of Mr Godfrey Chikwere. What he said on his facebook page is nothing but the truth!
“Ebonyi State government derives much joy in intimidating / humiliating people, please free Godfrey Chikwere he is not the problem facing southeast right now!”
“Your concentrations should be focused on the incessant killings in the land especially the most recent one that happened at Onicha Igbeze, all these menace needs government action instead of diverting their attention to irrelevant issues”
“From all indications, this present day administration in Ebonyi State detest criticism and I ask, what is the need of democratic governance since one is no longer entitle to freedom of speech, this is very pathetic government want everyone to clap for them even in the face of evil.
‘Free Godfrey Chikwere, he committed no offence to warrant his arrest because a lot of people have written something more inciting than his”, she said.
Sacked in December by Umahi
Mr Chikwere was one of the retinue of aides sacked in December 2020 by Governor Umahi following his defection to the All Progressives Congress from the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).
He was a Technical Assistant on Media to the governor before his removal.
The Secretary to the State Government had in a statement announcing his sack said Mr Chikwere was sacked in order to enhance service delivery.
However, Mr Chikwere said he was sacked because he refused to insult elders and equally discourage others from doing so on Facebook on behalf of the state government.
He also said that he was sacked for being close to National Assembly members elected on the platform of Mr Umahi’s former party, PDP, especially a senator, Obinna Ọgba, who represents Ebonyi Central District as the Senate.
He, however, noted that he knew that he will soon be sacked from office.