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APC body condemns arrest of Benue Assembly member

The arrest and continuous detention of the member representing Katsina-Ala East Constituency in the State Assembly, Jonathan Agbidyeh by the Department of State Services (DSS) has been condemned.

 

A group known as the All Progressives Congress Group condemns the arrest of Benue Assembly member (APC) Stakeholders in the Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.

The spokesman of the group, Fanen Ihyongo, who addressed a press conference held in Makurdi on Sunday, also described as a misleading report by an online publication that alluded to the involvement of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, in the matter.

Ihyongo decried the two publications by the online platform on March 18, 2024, with the headlineSankera Killings: Akume moves to free detained Benue lawmaker from DSS net and the second report, “Why is SGF Akume protecting Agbidyeh, a man accused of Sankera crimes,” which was published on March 19, 2024.

The spokesman accused the online publication of bias, mendacious propaganda and damaging fiction with the intention to slander the lawmaker and the SGF.

According to him, “Journalism entails public trust; therefore, it is morally imperative for a journalist, as a purveyor of information, to always diligently observe in his reportage the cornerstones of journalism ethics, which include truth, accuracy, fairness, objectivity, and balance. In its reports, which did not carry bylines (reporter’s name), Concord Newspaper showed nothing but

“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered about these reports. However, to set the records straight, we are here to debunk the mischievous reports by Concord online and offer clarification to those who don’t know what is going on and those who may wish to know.

“The truth is that no group exists as “Concerned Shitile Movement for Peace” in Shitile land. The names Tordonga T. and Igbazenda Michihe, mentioned in the report as Chairman and Secretary of the group who signed the purported press statement, are fake.

“Tor Donga is the name of the market in the headquarters of Shitile constituency, while Michihe is the name of the council ward where Agbidyeh comes from.

“In fact, the name Michihe was gotten from a stream in that area. So, you can see how Concord Online concocted the fiction, using faceless people and ghost names.

He added, “We are fully aware that Rt Hon. Jonathan Agbidyeh, was on Monday, March 18, 2024, around 2: 00 pm Nigerian time, arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS).

“However, the agency has not disclosed their reasons for arresting him. It is a surprise that Concord has already passed judgement.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11, states that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

While given the online newspaper 24 hours to retract the reports and apologise to Sen. George Akume and Rt Hon Jonathan Agbidyeh, the group threatened to institute legal action against the paper.

“It is true that Hon Agbidyeh was at some point in the past accused of being behind the crimes in Sankera.

The arrest followed petitions written against him by his political foes. However, it should be noted that he was tried at the High Court in Makurdi and discharged and acquitted.

“The Certified True Copies of the proceedings and judgement are there as proof that all the charges against Agbidyeh were dropped, as he was not found guilty of the charges,” Nyiyongo said.

The lawmaker was arrested on March 18, 2024.

 

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