The Imo State Government has debunked the speculation that it ordered the arrest of a radio presenter, Nonso Uba, because of his criticism of the Governor Hope Uzodimma administration.
It explained that rather the police in Abuja arrested him on allegations of criminal libel bordering on threat to state security.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba in a statement in Owerri regretted that commentators have been blinded by emotions, such that they have completely ignored the alleged offence of the radio presenter.
He noted that neither the style of his arrest nor the contents of his radio programmes was the issue but the defamatory statement by Uba that Governor Hope Uzodimma and Asari Dokubo were responsible for the killings in Imo State.
According to Emelumba, the government as a law abiding institution sought the help of the police to investigate and substantiate the veracity or otherwise of the allegations.
“His Excellency swore an oath through the constitution to protect lives and property of the people and here you have someone accusing him of breaching that oath which is an impeachable offence. It is only natural for the institution charged with investigation to look into the matter,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that since it is trite in law that he who alleges should provide proof, it was necessary for the police to invite Uba to prove his allegations.
He said that nobody should teach the police how to go about their assignment, insisting that those who arrested Uba were on uniform and didn’t hide their identity.
Emelumba said it was regrettable that instead of people to address the real issue which is criminal libel against the governor, they are now presenting Uba as the victim.
“The real victim here is Governor Hope Uzodimma. If it were in some society, people would have taken arms against him based on that seditious publication by Uba. Free speech does not give him the license or immunity to set the state on fire. Being the so-called activist is not a license to destroy the state. Let him hand the proof of his allegations to the police,” he insisted.
The Commissioner also insisted that those calling on the government to release Uba missed the point as the case is between him and the police.
According to him, “I am sure that the police will not hesitate to release him today if he gives them the proof that Uzodimma and Asari Dokubo are responsible for killing people in Imo state.”