The police in Benue State believably acting on the orders of the state governor, Samuel Ortom, have detained an activist and social critic, Atsar Gundu, over one of his Facebook posts where he x-rayed the governor’s handling of insecurity in the state.
SaharaReporters learnt that Gundu was interrogated by the police on Tuesday and Wednesday and his phones were seized from him, after which he was locked up in a cell.
It was gathered that the police arrested Gundu in Jos, Plateau State and brought him to Makurdi, Benue State, for “serious interrogation.”
Already, aggrieved youths and activists in the state are organising a protest to demand the freedom of Gundu, perceived to be persecuted by the state government despite the guarantee for the freedom of speech in Nigeria's constitution.
One of his fellow activists, Elder Zege Orkwande, who shared the incident on his Facebook page, noted that Gundu must be freed and not charged to court as he had not committed any offence to warrant his being detained.
He said, “Gundu is in serious interrogation. Would he keep his mouth shut under interrogation? They seized his phones and locked him up. The young man was arrested in Jos, and taken to Makurdi, following the Benue State Government’s directives over his publication about Ortom.
“Your Excellency, thank you, this is the empowerment we are getting from you. Just yesterday, Benue hit another record, topping the chat of unemployment in Nigeria. Eunice Ortom, your husband is doing well. We need to jail more youths for talking.
“God blessings; 2023 is close. Well, we are staging a peaceful protest if he is not a free man within 48 hours. Gundu isn't a criminal. If there is a crime attached to "freedom of speech," then charge him to court. We are tired of this failed government.”
SaharaReporters learnt that Gundu has been in detention at the Benue State Police Command Headquarters, Makurdi.
“Your children are in (rooms fitted with) air conditioners in this hot period, other people's children are in cells under this Makurdi heat. Free Gundu, stop arresting Benue youths. Eunice, please advise your husband to strategise on how to fix issues affecting the state or allow people to talk,” another activist wrote.