Ebonyi gov’t reveals why popular radio presenter was arrested
Government of Ebonyi state has disclosed that it asked the Police to arrest and prosecute Godffery Chikwere, a former Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor David Umahi because of his activities on social media.
This was disclosed on Tuesday by the commissioner for information and state orientation, Uchenna Orji while addressing journalists in Abakaliki.
He said Chikwere’s activities on social media were against the State cybercrime prohibition law 012, 2021.
Recall that Chikwere, popularly known as Baby Mouth, was arrested by the police few days ago following a petition against him by the State government.
On Monday, he was rushed to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) after he reportedly fell sick at the police headquarters, Abakaliki where he was being detained.
The Police was said to be planning to arraign him in Court before he took ill.
The news of the arrest and subsequent hospitalisation of the social critic led to condemnation and attacks on the Police and the state government.
But Orji said the State Government was enforcing the law of the land as passed by House of Assembly and assented to by Governor David Umahi.
According to the Commissioner, Godfrey Chikwere published on social media among others things that “it is clear that the Nigeria Army is seriously losing respect from the public’’
He noted that Chikwere, a former programme presenter at the Ebonyi State Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC), also mentioned that politicians would kill the youths and still use the youths to ascend to power.
Orji noted that these posts by Chikwere, which he maintained were fake news, hate and inciting speeches were capable of pitching the army as well as a government against the people.
He said that following the passage of the law, the State Government has swung into action to arrest and prosecute purveyors of fake news.
According to him: “My attention has been drawn to social media post and speculation that the office of the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation , Ebonyi state caused the arrest and detention of a journalists in Ebonyi state.
“I want to use this opportunity and medium to categorically state that the person that is being referred to, Godffery Chikwere is not a journalist known to Ebonyi state. I had to confirm from the NUJ and they clearly stated that he is not a journalist.
“As a matter of fact, Ebonyi state Government has passed a law on this and it is my duty as the Commissioner for Information to sensitize the members of the public and also ensuring the implementation of those laws.
“The Ministry of Information in keeping with its mandate of ensuring orientations of the people against all forms of bad habits and also in keeping with its duty of sensitizing the people and ensuring the implementation of the law we made, the Ebonyi state law on Cybercrime prohibition 2021 which is law 012 of 2021, we had to swing into action in ensuring that we track all persons that are spreading fake news either through publications or howsoever or any other means.
“Incidentally, this Godffery Chikwere happens to be one of those that we found to be in the habit of posting fake information and also spreading hate speech.
“And it happened that Godfrey Chikwere is one of the persons that have been suspects in this regard.
“Let me mention that we have had two cases where people were seen to be circulating fake information were arrested, they were quizzed.
‘We have a case of a PA to a Vice Chancellor who was arrested, quizzed and was charged to court. So, the case of Godffery Chikwere cannot be treated exceptionally or separately.
“I want to enjoin members of the public to join us on the crusade against fake news and hate speech. It has been an evil wind that is doing us a lot of bad in the society.”