As Nigerians are about to enter another electioneering year come 2019, two prominent political parties in Kogi State have already started waging wars against each other. The recent one being the Sunday night attack on the houses of Senator Ahmed Ogembe, former member of Representatives, Abdulkareem Salihu and three other members of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) in Okene, Okehi and Adavi Local Government Areas respectively.
It was gathered that the thugs allegedly invaded the Senator’s house at Obehira in Okene Local Government Area of the state and destroyed property worth several millions of naira.
This was sequel to the attack on the Senator and over 1,200 women in Okene last Saturday during the empowerment programme organised by the senator which left many people injured.
An eye witness said similar attack was also allegedly carried out by the same thugs at the resident of a former member of house of representatives, Abdulkarem Salihu in Ihima, Okehi Local Government Area of the state.
BusinessDay gathered that the suspected thugs who invaded the area with dangerous weapons were said to have scared people away by shooting sporadically into the air. It was also alleged that they looted his property and destroyed several cars belonging to the former House of Representatives members.
The thugs also invaded the residents of the states finance secretary of the People’s Democratic Party, Jude Sule, the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party in Okehi, Adinoyi Aroke and that of PDP youths leader, Haruna.
But in a statement issued yesterday in Lokoja, Senator Ogembe said those behind the attack are the coordinators of killers squad being trained to harass, intimidate and unleash mayhem on members of the opposition party in the central senatorial districts.
Ogembe also emphasized that except those behind the crisis are quickly made to face the wrath of the law, the dangerous trend could continue, which he noted would not palatable to the people of Kogi Central.
“We are not only calling on security agencies to effect the arrests, we are also asking for their prosecution because we have enough evidences to sue those behind the crime.
After they tried severally to stop the programme from holding and were resisted by youths and team of security men that were with me, they later in the night led same thugs to destroy houses and property belonging to members of my party (PDP) and left many injured,”
The senator who said the security challenge forced him to make night trip back to Abuja due to threat to his life urged public to also hold the state government responsible should anything happen to him.
“It appears these boys have the support of the state government because 24 hours after this sad incident that was widely reported by media, no official statement has been issued by the government to condemn the act or caution the said thugs“, he said.
Abdulkarem Salihu who also spoke with newsmen said his resident was invades by the suspected thugs, adding that the hoodlums vandalised four of his vehicles and also looted his property.
When contacted, William Ayah, Police Public Relation Officer, Kogi State Police Command, said they are still making contact with the divisional police officer in Kogi Central.
But in a press statement issued on Wednesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Petra Akinti Onyegbule, Governor Yahaya Bello condemns in its entirety the recent alleged attacks by hoodlums on some political leaders in the central senatorial districts of Kogi State and vows to bring perpetrators of such heinous act to book.
The governor has since directed the relevant security agencies to ensure a thorough investigation into the allegations and bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to justice irrespective of political parties or personalities involved.
The statement also disclosed that the Governor Yahaya Bello has sent a high-powered state delegation led by Abubakar Ohere, his Special Adviser on the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who also doubles as the leader of appointed government officials from Kogi Central Senatorial District, to Okene in pursuance of lasting peace and tranquility in the land and assure them of his commitment to ensure the safety of lives and property of every resident of Kogi.
Ohere who visited the homes of the PDP chieftains who were attacked gave them the Governor’s assurances that their attackers will be apprehended and prosecuted.
“This government under my watch will not condone any form of crime or violence in any part of the state, the government is responsible for the security of lives and property of all residents of Kogi irrespective of political affiliation; it is a core responsibility that shall never be compromised.
Perpetrating violence, destruction of properties and disturbing the public peace and security that this government has invested so much to attain all in the name of political support and thuggery is alien to our great party APC and especially to government. We will therefore not condone any act of violence or attack against innocent persons who are law abiding,
We are assuring the general public that appropriate actions are being taken by the security agencies to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice”.
Bello equally appeals to the good people of Kogi State to embrace peace, unity, love one another, be law abiding and go about their normal businesses.
The Governor also refutes the allegations by the opposition party Peoples Democratic Party, accusing the ruling party of masterminding such attacks and advised the PDP to stop playing to the gallery, while assuring the PDP that his administration would never indulge in political violence which he said was a constant feature of PDP leadership as he advised them to start learning the decency of never playing politics with issues of security as they involves life and property.
Victoria Nnakiaike, Lokoja