Gov Chime, This Is Mean! | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Gov Chime, This Is Mean!

Posted: May 26, 2015 at 4:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Late last week, I was jolted by a recent report I stumbled upon about the brutal abduction, terrorisation and illegal detention of a hapless young man in Enugu by Gov Sullivan Chime’s bodyguards. The crime of 30-year-old Mr. Anthony Okeke which earned him such dehumanising treatment, according toThe Guardian of April 1, 2015, was that while on his way home after dropping off a friend about midnight on February 22, he overtook an “unmarked” convoy of Gov Chime.

Obviously, this is a very grievous crime in the territory of “His Excellency” and security agents attached to him wasted no time in meting out “appropriate” punishment. They ran after the “offender” with every zeal they could muster, fired some shots at his car to demobilize his tyres and captured him. And after giving him “the beating of his life,” they dumped him in prison for six days, after which he was taken to a magistrate court and charged with attempting to kidnap the governor. The charge sheet (number MES/03c/2015) reportedly reads that Mr. Okeke, “suspected to be armed with dangerous weapon/weapons, did attempt to kidnap” Gov Chime “along Ogui Road by Fire Service office, GRA, Enugu…”

The magistrate court soon, reportedly, claimed that it lacked jurisdiction over the case but ordered that Mr. Okeke “be remanded in prison custody, where he had been since then.”

The Guardian quotes a human rights group, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), which has taken up the case, as saying that the Enugu governor was “driving around that Sunday at about 11 p.m. in an unmarked vehicle followed by about four unmarked vehicles, without the normal siren or fanfare that normally heralds his movement.”

Now, I do not have an update on this case. This incident took place in February and it is very sad that by April when the report was published, the young man was still in detention for daring to overtake the convoy of “His Excellency.” And he may still be there as I write now for committing no offence known to our laws. Mr. Chime should order the unconditional release of this young man immediately. He should not only apologise to him and his family for the trauma he made them go through, but must take appropriate steps to compensate them for such grievous abuse of their rights as free citizens of the country.

Now, even in a Nollywood movie, it is virtually impossible to imagine how a man driving alone at such an hour could have hoped to kidnap a governor guarded by a band of heavily-armed security men. How Chime and his spin doctors expect any sane human being to buy such a weird story is what I find difficult to comprehend. Chime should realize that in a couple of days from now, he would become an ex-governor, and it is not unimaginable that a “king who does not know Joseph” could become Enugu governor tomorrow and subject him to the same brutal treatment (or even worse) that he has meted out to somebody he knows full well committed no crime, just to massage his fragile ego. While I consider it egregious that he would relish being crowned a veteran of unlawful detentions, Chime should be wary of setting a precedent that might turn around tomorrow to haunt him or his loved ones. Indeed, this is lawlessness and meanness stretched beyond every bound of decency and civilised behaviour.