An Ebonyi State-based journalist, Godffery Chikwere, is lying critically ill at the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital(AE-FUTHA), Abakaliki after his arrest by the state police command.
Chikwere was picked up at the weekend following a petition against him by the state government.
He was said to have slumped at the police station on Monday.
Chikwere, an On-Air Personality (OAP), was first rushed to the state Police Command headquarters clinic for treatment, but his conditioned worsened, necessitating his transfer to AE-FUTHA.
The journalist popularly called Baby Mouth was to be arraigned on Monday for making a publication on his Facebook handle, which the government considered offensive but for his illness.
Ebonyi Commissioner for Information had in a petition dated October 8, 2021, and addressed to the Police Command Commissioner Phillip Maku, accused the journalist of spreading fake news, hate speech, making incisive publication and cyber-bullying.
Orji made reference to an October 8 Facebook post by Chikwere titled “They (politicians) can pay a youth to murder a perceived political enemy but they cannot give such youth money to start a business.”
According to the commissioner, the post by the journalist was capable of causing “a breach of the peace in the state.”
He consequently prayed the Police Commissioner to “arrest and prosecute Chikwere for publishing rumours and statements capable of causing fear and false alarm under Section 4 of Ebonyi State Cybercrimes Prohibition Law 2021.”
Chikwere’s wife, Onyinyechi, confirmed the development to reporters in Abakaliki.
She said: “My husband fell sick last (Sunday) night when he was at the police station. His condition later deteriorated and the police clinic couldn’t handle it. He has been at AE-FUTHA since this (yesterday) morning.
“They couldn’t diagnose anything at the police clinic, but he was in serious crisis.”
Ebonyi Police Command spokesperson Loveth Odah said she was not aware that the journalist was at AE-FUTHA. She promised to go to the hospital to see him
There has been outrage and condemnation since the arrest of Chikwere, a former Technical Assistant to Governor Dave Umahi and presenter of a popular radio programme, Things of the Heart.
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The journalist is now the media assistant to the Senator representing Ebonyi Central, Obinna Ogba.