Ex-govs, PDP Leaders Accuse Kogi Govt of Raising Private Army

Governor Yahaya Bello
  • SDP demands probe of political killings

Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Kassim Sumaina and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

Former governors of Kogi State, Capt. Idris Wada, Ibrahim Idris; former acting governor, Clarence Olufemi; Senator Dino Melaye and other leaders of the Kogi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have raised the alarm that the Kogi State government is stockpiling weapons and training 3,000 private army in the guise of vigilantes ahead of next month’s elections.

Similarly, worried by the upsurge in recent political assassinations and incessant harassment of its party loyalists, the state branch of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has called on the Acting Inspector General of Police, Idris Adamu, to as a matter of urgency, probe spate of political killings in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja yesterday on behalf of the PDP leaders, the Kogi State Chairman of PDP, Dr. Sam Uhuotu, called on the security agencies to take urgent actions to avert the looming political upheaval and widespread destruction of lives and property in the state. He urged the military high command to investigate the ease and frequency with which officers and men are dragged into issues in which the state governor has special interest.

According to him, “We call on the National Peace Committee under the eminent leadership of Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar (rtd), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Inspector General of Police, the National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, the Civil Society Organisations and the international community to pay special attention to the veritable flash point, which Kogi has become in the forthcoming elections and prevail on the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to desist from promoting state-sponsored violence in order to spare the innocent people of the state from inexorable catastrophe that is now unfolding like a Greek tragedy.”

Uhuotu also expressed concern about the increasing brazenness and ferocity with which violence is being unmeshed by the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) thugs.

He added, “There is an indication of active connivance or tacit endorsement by state functionaries, especially the local government administrators, who now function like commanders.

“There have also been more recent revelations of arms build-up in the state as well as arming and training of 3,000 strong military disguised as vigilantes at the Kogi Confluence Stadium, Lokoja. We believe these militias are being prepared for full-scale deployment to unleash violence and disruption during the forthcoming elections.”

Also speaking yesterday, the Acting Chairman, Kogi State, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Muktar Atimah, deplored the level of insecurity in the state, alleging that the APC-administration had deployed thugs to attack and maim political opponents.

In his speech, the senatorial candidate of the SDP for Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti, asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to call the state governor to order.

Akpoti said that the governor was breeding thugs and using them to intimidate perceived opponents ahead of the general elections, saying that he has not hidden his disdain for opponents whom he has vowed to crush.

She expressed confidence that President Buhari would not want be party to the shedding of anyone’s blood in an attempt to deliver Kogi to him in the forthcoming Presidential election.

Atimah who specifically drew the attention of Inspector General of Police to murder of the state party Youth Leader, alleged that “On Saturday, January 12, 2019, SDP Youth leader in Obeiba Ihima, Okehi Local Government Area, Mr. Ojo Enesi was murdered by a gang of Kogi APC thugs.”

According to him, “On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, SDP Youth Mobiliser, Friday Ovoro, was abducted in his residence at Ohueta, Okehi Local government area, whose whereabouts is still unknown.

“Though, information reaching us has it that, he is being detained at Kogi State Boat Security (personal security of Kogi state governor.”

Speaking further, he added that, “On January 11, 2019, eight supporters of the SDP, canvassing for Natasha Akpoti, the senatorial candidate of the party from Kogi Central District, were stabbed, butchered and beating by know Kogi APC thugs. “

The State SDP Chairman further revealed that the party has at various times, alerted the security agencies with information of the heinous activities of top appointees of the state government