Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Tuesday, asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun to name and shame the perpetrators of the politically motivated violence and killings in Kogi State no matter how highly placed they are.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the trend of violence before and during elections in Kogi State is now a disturbing trend that is recycled at every election.
The group warned that the IGP must put in deliberate efforts and necessary security measures to forestall any recurrence of politically motivated attacks and killings synonymous with Kogi especially in the forthcoming November 2023 governorship poll.
Violence has resumed in full scale in Kogi as Governor Yahaya Bello’s two-term tenure of eight years ends in November. Earlier in April, Bello’s nephew and former Auditor General of Local Government in Kogi State, Usman Ododo emerged as the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state. Ododo is in the race alongside SDP’s Ajaka and Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), amongst others.
Just on Sunday, hoodlums invaded the State Campaign office of the Social Democratic Party’s governorship candidate, Murtala Ajaka and vandalised the complex and pulled down the big billboard and set it on fire
Earlier in June, Ajaka’s motorcade was attacked by gunmen, his campaign vehicles vandalised, and some of his followers injured.
Also, in the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections in Kogi, there were reports of thugs attacking polling units in Anyigba and Dekina in the Kogi East and Mopa in the Kogi West as well as parts of Kogi Central, where voting materials were carted away by the thugs.
Four years ago, the state’s PDP women leader, Salome Abuh was shot and her residence set ablaze in Ochadamu in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State during the state’s governorship election in 2019. Unfortunately, the killers got a slap on the wrists for the heinous crime.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The string of politically motivated attacks and killings in Kogi State is disturbing, especially in the last eight years of the Governor Yahaya Bello administration.
“IGP Kayode Egbetokun should carry out a comprehensive investigation of all the killings of political dimension in Kogi State with the view to naming, arresting and prosecuting the suspects and their sponsors no matter how highly placed.
“The police should also put in efforts to stop political violence that may mar the November governorship election in the state. Thugs must not be allowed to intimidate voters from exercising their franchise thereby allowing the powers that be foist and rig the election for their candidate.”