The Deputy Majority Leader of Nigeria‘s House of Representatives, Leo Ogor Okuweh, has allegedly sent thugs after one Linus Ezuzu for daring to question the lawmaker about empowerment of his constituents. Mr. Ezuzu who received a sound beating is still in hospital. Find the full report below.
SaharaReporters has learnt that thugs working for the Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor Okuweh, brutally beat one Linus Ezuzu for daring to question the lawmaker about empowerment of his constituents.
The federal lawmaker was reportedly visiting the town in what he billed as a “Thank You” to youth “canvassers” who had assisted him during the 2011 election. However, several sources said the legislator’s aim was to kick-off campaigns to return for the fourth time to the federal legislature. One source who witnessed the beating of Mr. Ezuzu told SaharaReporters that most of his community was opposed to the legislator’s ambitions. He alleged that Mr. Okuweh’s associates were boasting that the legislator had put together more than N1 billion to enable him to buy the next election, whether voters like it or not.
At the event, Mr. Okuweh handed out gifts of N1,000 and N2,000 to some of the youths, even though others left empty handed. However, sources at the “thank you” tour told our correspondent that the situation turned tense when Mr. Ezuzu commented on the lawmaker’s consistent failure to empower his constituents. “Chief Okuweh immediately flared up and wanted to pounce on Linus Ezuzu, but some elders prevailed on him to calm down,” said a source.
However, Mr. Ezuzu’s luck did not hold the next day as a group of thugs allegedly hired by the irate lawmaker cornered him in his house and dragged him off to a bush where they beat him mercilessly. A relative of the victim confirmed to our correspondent that Mr. Ezuzu was rushed to the Ofagbe General Hospital for treatment.
In an interview at the hospital, the assault victim said he was nearly killed by the legislator’s thugs for merely asking a question. According to him, the question that earned him the savage beating went like this: “Honorable sir, we have a lot of graduates and unemployed youths in our Ellu, Ofagbe and Ovrode wards. No developmental project has been sited here since you have been representing us in government. The people are suffering. What are you doing to ameliorate the suffering of the people?”
He stated that the lawmaker stood up in anger and rained insults on him, adding, “he was about to attack me before he was stopped.” Mr. Ezuzu stated that the youths were so dismayed by Mr. Okuweh’s reaction that they booed him. “While leaving he threatened to deal with me,” said the hospitalized victim.
He claimed that ten young men hired by the legislator came to his house the next day. “They forcefully carried me to the bush where they wanted to kill me, but I recognized one of the boys who came to join them in the bush; his name is David Onojega, a personal assistant to Honorable Leo Ogor Okuweh.” He credited the thugs’ sparing of his life to the fact that he and a few others in the community recognized some of the assailants. “But they really brutalized me to a point of death,” he said.
The victim also stated that his attackers took him to the lawmaker’s country home in Ozoro, claiming that Mr. Okuweh asked why the attackers “did not kill me, that if they had done that, he would only spend some money to close the case.”
When contacted on his mobile phone, Mr. Okuweh denied sending any thugs after the victim. He stated, however, that the victim had been rude to him in the past and he had not done anything in response.
“Why are you people always seeing me as a violent person?” the legislator asked. He wondered how the victim reached the conclusion that he had ordered his beating. “He is not my canvasser,” he said. “He didn’t work for me; in fact I don’t even know what he is talking about as far as I am concerned.” He claimed that there was a huge crowd at his weekend event and that he had not identified Mr. Ezuzu. “I don’t know when Linus has become another issue to Honorable Leo,” he said.
Mr. Okuweh attributed the allegation that he ordered the beating of Mr. Ezuzu to political posturing, adding that he stood to gain nothing from sending any thugs after Mr. Ezuzu. “2015 is by the corner and anything that happens in Isoko they will mention Honorable Leo. Everybody wants to drag me to the mud. Very soon I will leave the political arena for them. Let them bring out the people that will be able to carry out some of this infrastructural development for Isoko. Whatever the Isoko people want, I wish them well but wouldn’t want my name to be dragged to the mud for whatever reason. Politics is not a do-or-die. I have been able to campaign and convince people in line with my achievements. Let other people come and beat those records.”
Last year, Mr. Okuweh had engaged in a physical brawl with an Isoko youth leader at a constitutional review public hearing held at Ozoro, the headquarters of Isoko North local government area.
Culled from Sahara Reporters