Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, thursday condemned the arrest and imprisonment of 180 indigenes of the state based in Lagos for hawking in the state.
The governor however noted that his administration was doing everything possible to ensure the release of the arrested indigenes.
Umahi stated this while playing host to a delegation of indigenes of the state living in Anambra State at the governor’s conference room, Government House Abakaliki.
He said the 180 ebonyians were charged and convicted under a law that was promulgated after they were arrested.
Represented by his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, the governor said the leadership of Ebonyi State Development Association, Lagos branch, had on a courtesy call to the state government recently, painted a gory picture and story of how indigenes of the state living in Lagos were being hounded and humiliated.
“In some cases, they round up these boys who are hawking on the streets, pack them to prison accusing them of contravening one offence or the other. A case in point was when about 180 persons of Ebonyi State extraction were held in prison in Lagos and their offence was street trading and the law they were charged with was a law that was promulgated after they were arrested and incarcerated in prison. While they were in prison custody which some of them have spent two years, a law was just enacted and they were charged under that law and sent to prison,” he said.
He directed the group to forward the names of 300 Ebonyians resident in Anambra State to be included in the ongoing youth and women empowerment of his administration with at least 20 persons from each of the 13 local government areas that make up the state.
The governor added that 130 tricycles would equally be procured and given to Ebonyi indigenes hawking in the streets of Anambra State as part of the government efforts to allocate the lives of Ebony people living in Anambra State