A former media aide to Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Godfrey Chikwere, has been arrested over alleged fake news.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Chikwere allegedly made a post on his Facebook account that the Nigerian Army had lost self respect and that politicians were the ones behind killings and would be the ones to give victims’ families money to start up businesses, in the state.
Rumours making the rounds, which were read on several social media platforms, on Sunday, said the Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Uchenna Orji, was behind his arrest.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that he was to be arraigned in court, on Monday, by the Police, but reportedly slumped at the Command’s Headquarters, as a consequence of ill-health.
The suspect, popularly known as Baby Mouth, it was further learnt, is reportedly at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, receiving treatment.
His wife, Onyinyechi, confirmed his ill-health to journalists, in Abakaliki, on Monday.
According to her, “My husband started falling sick, on Sunday night, when he was in the Police station. So, it became worst and the Police clinic couldn’t handle it. He has been at AE-FETHA, since morning.
“They (Police) couldn’t diagnosed anything at the Police clinic but he was in serious health crisis. So, now we are at AE-FETHA. From the explanations on ground now, what is wrong with him is acute Appendictis. But I don’t know yet.”
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer, Loveth Odah, said was not aware that the suspect was at AE-FUTHA, for treatment.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Uchenna Orji, said the suspect was neither a journalist known by the State Government nor the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
Orji observed that the suspect was one of those spreading fake news and hate speeches across the state, adding that the Government was tracking those perpetrating such acts.
The Commissioner said, “My attention has been drawn to the publications in the social media that the Office of the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, in Ebonyi State, caused the arrest and detention of a journalist in the state.
“I want to use this medium to categorically state that the person being referred to as Godfrey Chikwere is not a journalist known in Ebonyi State. I had to confirm from the NUJ and they clearly stated that he is not a journalist.
“But the truth of the matter is that the Ministry of Information and Orientation in Ebonyi State, in keeping with its mandate of ensuring the orientation of the people against all forms of bad habits, and in keeping with its duty of sensitising the people and ensuring the implementation of Ebonyi State law on Cybercrime Prohibition (012) 2021, we had to swing into action by ensuring that we track all persons spreading fake news.
“Incidentally, this Godfrey Chikwere, happens to be one of those found to be in the habit of posting fake information and also spreading hate-speech.”