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Kogi National Assembly members claim intimidation by governor, petition Buhari

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Kogi Assembly

National Assembly members from Kogi State have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over alleged intimidation by Governor Yahaya Bello.

The lawmakers are senators Dino Melaye, Ahmed Ogembe and Atai Aidoko.

Others are members of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Yusuf, Benjamin Ikani Okolo, Karimi Sunday, Emmanuel Egwu and Omale Hassan.

They alleged that the governor has been using state resources to illegally import military hardware for his thugs to cause violence against political opponents.

According to them, the petition became necessary because persons holding contrary political views can no longer move freely in the state

They added that they have had problems holding political activities, including town hall meetings and constituency empowerment programmes, without violent interruptions

The lawmakers stressed that the National Assembly was investigating the governor’s importation of military hardware, in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service.

The petitioners also accused Bello of not conducting local council election since 2016 when he assumed office.

“Mr. President, we cannot continue to fold our arms, while the governor sponsors armed militia to silence the voice of opposition in the state. It is undemocratic and it may lead to large-scale anarchy.

We, therefore, urge that you intervene immediately.

“It is imperative to note that Section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), provides that the security and welfare of the people is the primary purpose of government,” they said.

They urged the president and the international community to intervene so that it did not degenerate into a security crisis.

Reacting, the office of Director General, Media and Publicity to the governor, said Bello has been doing his best in tackling the state’s security challenges.

“For a group of legislators in the National Assembly to allege that the governor is arming thugs, is a reflection that they are either blinded by bitter partisanship, or do not know what they are saying.”

“Political assassinations were on the rise and opponents of government were living in fear until the current administration came on board to guarantee security for all Kogi people, irrespective of their political beliefs,” he said.

He added that the governor had since blacklisted the use of thugs in the state, even though past administrations had used it to cause violence against the opposition.

The director general urged the lawmakers to address whatever differences they have with their constituents, rather than over heating the polity.


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