Monday, 28 July 2014

How abductors tortured the kidnapped Ebonyi State Majority leader?

Nwali on his hospital bedThe impeachment saga, rocking the Ebonyi State House of Assembly took a disturbing dimension on Thursday, July 24. That was the day the majority leader of the House, Hon. Sam Nwali, who was among the 18 mem­bers that impeached the former speaker, Rt. Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku, was ab­ducted by some youths, who stormed his residence early that morning.
The invaders, who were allegedly armed with guns, whisked the majority leader away from his home to an unknown destination.
Hon. Nwali, who represents Ikwo North Constituency in the Assembly, escaped from his abductors later that same day, battered and brutalised.
In an interview with Daily Sun in Enugu, Nwali narrated his ordeal, insisting that it was God who saved his life.
His words: “It was on Monday, July 21 that we undertook our legislative procedure by changing our speaker through a constitutional provision. We impeached the former speaker, Rt. Hon. Nwazunku and replaced him with Mrs. Helen Nwobasi. It was a peaceful and successful impeachment without an iota of violence. It was peaceful because it was an impeachment where 18 members (more than two-thirds) voted in favour of the impeachment. We invoked Section 101 of the 1999 constitution as amended, which empowered us to regulate our proceedings, including summoning a recess, which we did after which we dispersed and adjourned to a latter day.”
“It’s, however, unfortunate that the former speaker has refused to accept his fate and is still calling himself speaker. This is a man accused of embezzlement, incompetence, misuse of funds in the assembly, and these are allegations he accepted willingly. Even before the governor, he accepted that he mismanaged our funds.
“When the House earlier impeached Hon. Ikechukwu Nwankwo, the same Nwazunku was there and we made him speaker. All we did was to protect our democracy. We don’t have any personal grievances against one another. Ebonyi Assembly, I can assure you, is still peaceful till tomorrow and the way it stands now, there is no going back. He has no option but to accept the change that has occurred in Ebonyi State House of Assembly.”
“On Thursday, when I dressed up to go out, I came down from upstairs only to see that some hoodlums besieged my house and kidnapped me. When I tried to resist, they tore my clothes and took me to the parlour of the former speaker. They stripped me bare and laid me on the sitting room of the former speaker.
“As they took me away, one of the boys, named Bone, placed a call to a PDP youth leader in the state (names withheld), telling him that they had gotten the “baga.” From the conversation, he told him to bring me to the former speaker’s lodge, which he has refused to vacate, following his impeachment. So, they took me to his sitting room and laid me bare on the floor and started beating and torturing me. They made me look inferior before them. It was in that process that one of them inside the room brought a wrapper to cover me. The PDP youth leader, on his part, went and brought boxers for me to put on. He was there supervising the beating and telling them when, how and where to hit me. I called him by his name and he answered, and I asked him what I did. He said I refused reversing the impeachment. But I told him that only one person could not do what he was talking about, that it needed a collective effort. So, they continued beating me until I lost consciousness.
“After sometime, I heard them go out to talk. I had the feeling that they thought I had given up. That was when he came again with one Ifeanyi, one of the former speaker’s aides, another man also called Ifeanyi, and the former speaker’s brother, Friday. They held me and put me into a Toyota Corolla. I called the PDP youth leader by his name again and asked where he was taking me to. He said, ‘don’t worry, don’t worry, Honourable.’ I said, ‘so you remember I am an honourable member and you are detailing your boys to beat me in this manner?’ He said I should not worry, that they were taking me back to my house. That was when they blindfolded me and I couldn’t see again. And when we got to a place, I sensed that they had exceeded the distance to where I used to branch to my place. I told them that they had passed my place, that I knew the direction to my house. He said, ‘don’t worry; that they are now taking me to Ikwo.
“At a point, I complained of pains in my eyes, and they untied me but forced me to bend downwards and never to look up. When we reached Enyigba, he ordered that they should stop. Because, we were moving with three cars. The vehicles stopped and he came out and peeped into the car that was conveying me. I reminded him that he promised that they were taking me to my house. He said, ‘don’t worry. I have instructed them not to beat you any longer. Just cooperate with them.’ He said he was returning to town but he would still meet us wherever they were taking me to.
“The other two vehicles continued the journey; the one that was carrying me and a bus with the inscription, ‘Ikwo Legislative Council.’ The bus led the way and we were following. When we got near the Royal Salt Company, they stopped again and were discussing among themselves, leaving me in the vehicle with two persons guarding me. They said they wanted to hear from their boss to know the road, leading to where they were going. That was where they branched off to the left, into a road called Iketube Road. It’s a road you can drive for two hours without seeing anybody. That was where I gave up because I had lost strength. They got another call and gathered again to discuss, maybe about the directives he was giving to them. Thereafter, they took off and drove some kilometres into the bush where they gave me the real beating.
“At a point in the bush, one of the boys received another call and was shouting, ‘oga, do you mean police?’ Then he ordered the other boys to take cover. I laid there for some time. When I discovered that they were hiding, I began to crawl with the last strength towards the road. In fact, my life was saved by God. I lay by the roadside until a motorcycle passed by, and I flagged him down. He stopped and took me to the junction where I saw Dr. Nwokpuru, who now made phone calls and the Chief of Staff in the Government House sent a vehicle, which took me to the office of the State Security Service (SSS). My fear was that policemen were at Nwazunku’s house where they were beating me and they were just watching, as spectators. It was unbelievable that members of the Nigeria Police were watching while an honourable member was being tortured. They watched while I bled profusely. So, I did not have the confidence to go to the police. I rather asked to be taken to the SSS. Because these are people I believe can still help. My brother, I would have been a dead man but for God’s intervention, who, I believe, put confusion in their midst at the point I escaped.”
But while reacting, the embattled Speaker, Hon Nwazunku, who spoke to our reporter on phone, dismissed the allegations. He said he had never planned evil against his fellow man.
Said he: “I am surprised at what you are saying, if ever he said that. I have never been associated with violence or ever been reported to the police for any crime at all. I have never thought evil for my fellow human being and not even their purported impeachment will make me change my way of life because the measure you use for others will be used for you.”
“I am from Izzi and he is from Ikwo. I don’t I have any political issue with him. If not that you are saying this, because I am just hearing it from you, and I don’t believe he will say such a thing. People go to unimaginable extent in the quest for power and they forget that it is only God, who gives power. My brother, like I said, I don’t know anything about what you are saying. Thank you.”

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