By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Impeccable sources in Kogi State have hinted that the Governor Yahaya Bello-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the state is concluding plans to disrupt telecommunications services on election day, February 16.
But discrediting the allegation in a telephone chat with THISDAY, the Director General, Media and Publicity to Kogi State Governor, Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo, said the information was unfounded and deliberately orchestrated by opposition to tarnish the reputation of the administration.
Though he affirmed that the state haD in its possession, jammer vehicles, the governor’s spokesman said they were strictly to ensure the security of the governor when he moves around and were not designed to interfere with the electoral process.
The source had hinted THISDAY that the state government already procured three network jammers, mounted on two Toyota SUVs and a BMW vehicle for this purpose and that the cars were already parked within the Government House, Lokoja to be deployed next Saturday during the election.
He said the plan was to ensure that there will be no real time communication access on election day, to tally voter figures emanating from the various polling units and wards across the state and that the government had equally acquired telephone lines from MTN South Africa, to enable its officials communicate on election day, having disabled communication by the mass of voters on election day.
“We have it on good authority, that some operatives in the Yahaya Bello administration who resigned in recent months and weeks, were privy to some of the backstage schemes and shenanigans of the APC-led government in the state, left the employ of the state in good conscience, so as not to be morally complicit in the demonic designs of the government,” the source hinted.
The source added, “We equally request the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as regulators of the communications sector and related national institutions to urgently interrogate the illegal attempt by the Kogi State government to instigate disruptions in the national communication loop as this will be inimical to fundamental rights of Nigerians to communicate and freely express themselves.”
The people are particularly suspicious that recent clampdown on telecommunications service provider, MTN, by the Kogi State government, may not be unrelated to the more recent developments.
Fanwo however stated that, “Those allegations against the state government are quite unfounded. From the inception of this administration, jammer vehicles were part of the convoy vehicles because wherever the governor moves to, security wise, you tend to limit communication around that place to guarantee the security of the governor.
“So, from inception we have jammer vehicles. If they are seeing jammer vehicles now, it is not just a recent procurement. So, it is unfounded. And, we don’t have any reason to ensure that there is no communication. It is not it, honestly. It is not it at all. There was nothing like that. We are not hiding anything.”
He said instead, despite their unpopularity in the state, opposition members have orchestrated attacks on the ruling party and claimed they were being attacked.
“It is the opposition that the media would need to talk to that they should stop attacking our people. My vehicle was attacked yesterday (Friday) by opposition thugs. They smashed the windscreen. I also learnt that they rained bullets on the Speaker’s vehicle yesterday.
“The opposition people that know they are not on ground are the ones trying to orchestrate this violence and turn it as propaganda.”