The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Edward Onoja, is behind the ordeal and detention of two President Muhammadu Buhari-must-go protesters, Larry Emmanuel and Victor Udoka.
Emmanuel and Udoka were arrested and molested by thugs loyal to the Kogi State Government and detained by the police.
The duo have been detained since April 5.
SaharaReporters learnt from top sources on Monday that the state governor, Yahaya Bello, inquired about the release of the protesters on Friday, but his deputy, Edward Onoja persuaded him that the two activists were sent to attack the state and should be kept in detention.
SaharaReporters also learnt from sources that Onoja is wholly behind the detention of protesters.
"Onoja has fallen out with Governor Yahaya Bello who is said to be opposed to his desire to become his successor.
"So by doing what he is doing, he wants Aso Rock to see him as a worthy successor to Yahaya Bello," a source told SaharaReporters.
Another source who confirmed Onoja's role in the continued detention of Emmanuel and Udoka, said, “Onoja is wholly behind the detention of the protesters. On Friday upon hearing that one of the detained protesters was critically ill, officials met Bello in Abuja to warn him that the case is now a global embarrassment. And Bello said he thought they had been released but the Speaker said he knew they came to destabilise the state.
"Senator Smart Adeyemi and the Speaker (Matthew Kolawole) were in attendance.
“Over the weekend, Yayaha Bello reached out to his deputy and asked him why he did what he did. He promised Bello that he has scores to settle with (human rights activist, Omoyele) Sowore.
"Edward's (Onoja) told the governor that Sowore sent the guys to destabilise the state and that SaharaReporters hates Yahaya Bello.
“Meanwhile the detainees have spent 30 days in prison without trial and are very ill. Remember a commissioner was also killed on his way to Kabba late on Sunday."
Meanwhile, Onoja was in Lagos last weekend, to represent Bello at the 51st birthday celebration of the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams.
SaharaReporters had last Wednesday reported that the two protesters were denied medical treatment. Both of them reportedly fell sick.
“They are seriously ill and not getting treatment. The state government is hell-bent on keeping them, perhaps until they die in custody?” a source had stated.
Last Monday, global human rights' organisation, Amnesty International, had demanded the unconditional release of the two Buhari-must-go protesters, adding that the protesters' only crime was that they were “peacefully protesting against corruption and distributing posters that were perceived to be critical of the President.”
Amnesty International had said that the activists “were physically assaulted and tortured by unidentified men while peacefully protesting against corruption, and the poor human rights situation in Nigeria, and distributing posters that were perceived to be critical of the President.
“A few days later, they were turned over to the police and were subsequently transferred to the Nigeria Correctional Centre, located in Kogi State, in north central Nigeria, where they are currently being held.
“The two activists are being detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to protest and expressing their views. They must be immediately and unconditionally released,” AI statement partly read on Monday.
SaharaReporters had last week reported that the Kogi State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Richard Olorunfemi, stated that the protesters were not yet brought to court because the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria workers were on strike and all courts were closed.
The Chief Judge in an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday had said the protesters were not yet arraigned because of the strike and the judiciary could not account for their whereabouts.