May 25, 2024

Kogi East Elders decry state sponsored insecurity in Kogi State

By Daniel Adaji

Kogi State would hold its governorship election in November 2023, all things being equal. As the day draws closer, series of state sponsored killings and destruction of properties perceived to belong to opposing voices have been witnessed in the state.  The Kogi East Elders’ Council (KEEC) met in Abuja on Tuesday 11 July 2023 to address this onslaught at a press conference.

Key points
  • Radio Kogi Ochaja vandalised for carrying news of the heinous attack on Alhaji Murtala Ajaka
  • Calls for removal of INEC REC, Police CP and Naval Commander
  • More killings and destruction of properties are still going on in the state
  • Kogi State is the least developed in Nigeria
  • The federal government to ensure a level playing field for all contestants in the forthcoming election

Read the full text below:

Gentlemen of the Press
As the count-down to the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election in Kogi State draws near and based on the recent happenings in our state, we find it necessary to draw the attention of Nigerians and the International community to the terrorism being sponsored and unleashed on Kogi State in general and Kogi East senatorial district in particular by agents of the Kogi State political leadership.

You May wish to know that, shortly after the Kogi East Elders Council endorsed the candidature of Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, for the November 11 gubernatorial election which was based on studies and the aspirations of the people of Kogi East in particular, there was a security breach caused and supervised by the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello along Lokoja – Abuja highway where Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka,s car was shot at multiple times .

For carrying the news of the heinous attack on Alhaji Murtala Ajaka, the Kogi State radio station at Ochaja, Dekina Local Government Area of the state was vandalized and looted by thugs suspected to be agents of the political leadership in Kogi State.

Not long after that, the mayhem was taken to Ejule town, Ofu Local Government Area, Kogi East senatorial zone, where a hotel belonging to late Mr Kabiru Bala ( aka Okwo ) was razed down and few weeks later, he himself was killed extra judicially . His offense was that he had decided to leave the political camp of the state governor to that of an opposition political party. Regrettably, the state commissioner of police who is supposed to know better, rather than conduct investigations into whatever allegation were leveled against the deceased, opted for war. He could have invited the deceased or gone on arrest. Instead, he sent men to kill and maim members of the community. His unprofessional press conference after the dastardly act attest to his compromised position.

During that senseless breach of the peace of Ejule, an innocent woman, Mrs Atima Abdullahi was murdered by agents of the state.
In the last two weeks, two vigilante men were gunned down by unknown gunmen conveyed in a Toyota Hilux vehicle at the gate of the Palace of Ejeh of Ankpa and another at Chairman’s Quarter junction, Owele, Ankpa.

More killings and destruction of properties are still going on in the state . In the early hours of July 9 2023 (06:30am-07:05 am), political thugs suspected to be agents of the Kogi State government violated the campaign office of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Lokoja and burnt billboards, and damaged doors and windows .

Gov. Yahaya Bello has threatened all traditional rulers in Kogi State of consequences and repercussions if they receive certain politicians paying courtesy visits

Gentlemen of the press, the current atmosphere of fear, intimidation and insecurity being created by Governor Yahaya Bello and his minions all in preparation for the November 11, 2023 gubernatorial election does not augur well for Kogi State. He has consistently and unabashedly targeted Kogi East for harassment using the instruments of state. Governor Yahaya Bello rather than being the chief security officer of Kogi State has become the security threat to Kogi state itself. All of this is in his efforts to foist a particular candidate on the state to cover his eight years of ineffectual and ineffective administration in the state. Kogi State is the least developed in Nigeria. Lokoja, its capital is the most rural state capital in Nigeria despite the huge sums of money that have accrued to the state in the last eight years.

While no one can deny the governor his preferred choice of candidate in an election, he must realise that Kogi State is not his private estate. His tenure lapses in a few months and he needs to take cognizance of the consequences of his current delinquent actions. Citizens lived in harmony until he became the governor. Today, he has polarized the state in unimaginable terms using the twin weapons of poverty and ignorance against the people he is supposed to lead. The polarization of the citizens has reached the extent that Ebira traders in Yahaya Bello’s Kogi Central are now afraid of coming to the regional markets in Ejule , Abocho and Anyigba in Kogi East. As Elders in Kogi East, we wish to use this opportunity to inform our brothers and sisters in Kogi Central that Kogi East is safe to all Kogites and Nigerians . We therefore call on them to resume their trading activities in Kogi East as we have never seen them as enemies or adversaries.

Citizens of Kogi State must be allowed to choose whoever they want to lead them, regardless of party affiliation. The use of sponsored thugs and terrorists against the people must cease. Heads of security agencies and paramilitary bodies must call their Kogi State officers to order, warning them not to allow themselves to be used against the people they were sent to protect. The harassment of our citizens by whatever means and by whoever must stop forthwith. Make no mistake about this, there will be a day of reckoning as rules of engagement for military and para military men/women, as codified under the international humanitarian law are well known . They should realize that at appropriate time they would be personally held responsible for actions taken outside these internationally known rules of engagement.

Kogi State is not his private estate

As at the time of this briefing, Gov. Yahaya Bello has threatened all traditional rulers in Kogi State of consequences and repercussions if they receive certain politicians paying courtesy visits. This naked abuse of power may not go on unchallenged as Kogi State is not the private estate of Alh. Yahaya Bello.
For the records, the following are some of the many negative antecedents in Kogi State by the state governor Alhaji Yahaha Bello :

Yahaya Bello had dug up roads leading to the community of a perceived political opponent in Kogi Central during the 2023 general elections.

There was a bomb blast at the palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene during the visit of the immediate past president in April 2023 . That this traditional ruler was later queried by the state government spoke volumes, as no investigation was carried out on the bomb blast till date.

Mrs Salome Acheju Abu was burnt to death in her house at Ochadamu, Ofu Local Government of the state during the 2019 elections by people known to be close associates of Yahaya Bello.

The use of a police helicopter to shoot voters on the voting queue during the 2019 pointed to the active involvement of Alh. Yahaya Bello.
Killing of two voters on a queue in Abocho, Dekina Local Government Area during the 2019 elections by people in police uniform but suspected to be fake police. Some of Yahaya Bello’s associates are now in court accusing each other on who invited the police to kill.

An undergraduate of Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Dekina Local Government Area was killed while on a queue to vote in 2019 and many more .

In particular, we call for the immediate replacement of Kogi state INEC Commissioner and his Administrative Secretary, Eng. Tanko who we consider no longer unbiased and as such unqualified to remain in these important positions .

Many of the INEC Electoral Officers (EOs) have become landlords, and millionaires having remained in Kogi State for more than eight years doing the biddings of the powers that be to the detriment of our democracy. Most of them should also be transferred.

We demand the removal of the current Commissioner of Police who supervised the recent extra judicial killings in Kogi East senatorial district.

The Director, State Security Service, Kogi State should also be replaced. His ineffectiveness has led to the escalation of violence in the State.

Another person we demand be removed and investigated immediately is Navy Commander Akalezi. He is Bello’s hitman and is based in Okene. We had requested severally that he be transferred out of Kogi State. Instead, he was sent to the Republic of South Africa for a senior division training and is now back in Kogi to continue doing the biddings of Yahaya Bello. We request again that he removed from Kogi state .

We call on the Federal authorities to pay attention to the goings on in Kogi State because any breakdown of law and order in Kogi State will not augur well for Nigeria. For the purpose of reminder, Kogi State shares boundaries with ten States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. It has the highest number of boundaries with other federating units in Nigeria. Kogi State is the southern gateway to the Federal Capital Territory. No one wants to imagine the chaos a breakdown of law and order in this state will have on the nation as a whole.

We call on the federal government to ensure a level playing field for all contestants in the forthcoming election through the appropriate mechanisms.

As elders of the people, we have spoken.

Thank you.

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