Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has Monday given further details on the alleged attack on his convoy which now give a clearer picture which almost tallies with the narrative of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the state.
On Saturday, the governor, had likened the alleged attack to that of an antelope crossing the road while a lion was passing. Popularly called the white lion by his supporters, the governor was said to be referring to former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and now SDP’s gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Murtala Ajaka, whose convoy the opposition party said Bello’s convoy attacked, allegedly riddling he (Ajaka’s) Lexus SUV with bullets.
On Monday, a statement from the governor’s office, circulated to the media and flowing from the story he told visiting Kogi State traditional rulers, reads: “Governor Bello, in his remarks expressed his surprise at the conduct of those who attacked his convoy on Saturday.
“The governor explained that on his way to Abuja on May 25th, his convoy encountered a roadblock allegedly set up by protesting truck drivers who claimed to have issues with the task force.
“The governor stated that after waiting for hours, enduring untold hardship alongside other commuters who were unaware of the situation, he joined the security personnel in clearing the road.
“The perpetrators, who had subjected other road users to such harsh conditions, were subsequently arrested and charged by the security forces. The governor emphasized that such actions were meant to serve as a deterrent to others who may attempt to take the law into their own hands.
“He mentioned that he was originally scheduled to participate in the unveiling of the APC deputy gubernatorial candidate on Friday.
“However, due to a meeting of the Progressive Governors Forum with the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, he requested the party to reschedule the program for Saturday.
“Bello recounted that, as a result of a hectic week, he was taking a nap in his car while on his way to Lokoja. When he noticed that the convoy was not moving, he inquired about the reason and was informed by his security details that it was Muri’s (Murtala Ajaka) convoy causing the delay. Despite frantic efforts by his security details to find a way through, he had no choice but to follow behind Murtala’s convoy from Koto-Karfe to Lokoja, covering a distance of approximately 30 kilometers to the point his convoy was attacked.
“The governor described the attackers’ actions as criminal, emphasizing that such lawlessness would never be tolerated in the state.
“He called upon the security forces, including the traditional rulers, to play their part in ensuring the continuity of peace in the state ahead of the election.
“He stressed the need for collective efforts to combat criminality and firmly stated that there is no room for division in Kogi State.
“Governor Bello commended the traditional rulers for their proactive and fatherly guidance, expressing his appreciation for their visit and sympathy.
“He also highlighted the historical connection between the Igala and Ebira people, emphasizing that politicians campaigning along ethnic and religious lines were causing problems in the state.
“The governor assured the traditional leaders of his unwavering commitment to maintaining law and order in the state.”
Recall that on Saturday, the Director of Publicity for the Murtala Ajaka Organisation, Mr. Faruk Adejoh-Audu, said in a statement titled, KOGI SDP CANDIDATE ESCAPES GOV BELLO LED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT: “The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka this afternoon luckily escaped assassination when his motorcade was attacked by gunmen personally led by the Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
“Alhaji Ajaka and some vehicles accompanying him were approaching Lokoja at the vicinity of the ram market at about 3:00pm when two powerbikes and Toyota Hilux overtook his car and forced it to a stop.
“This assault was heralded by a Mercrdes Benz Limousine with Bellos official crest accompanied by an open pick- loaded with masked and hooded men bearing AK 47 Assault Rifles.
“The men jumped down an began shooting at Ajaka’s car and all other cars in the motorcade. They shot for over five minutes at Ajaka’s bullet proof car unprovoked.
“All this while Bello’s car was parked a few meters in front and was used to barricade the road while the gun men had a field day.
“When they ceased, Ajaka’s car, a Lexus SUV though a bullet proof was totally damaged and demobilised.”
Adejoh-Audu listed some persons described as “notorious thug” and a former member of the House of Assembly who was recently appointed for Fireams Recovery by Mr Bello. Also identified was a state commissioner who allegedly has a gross reputation for thuggery.
“Mr Ajaka, who was on his way to keep an appointment with the Mai Geri, the first class traditional ruler of Lokoja and the Attah Igala in Idah decided to abort the journey and return to Abuja after conferring with the Commander of the Lokoja Naval Base.
“This again is another low score… in the exercise of crude power and brute force….
“We appeal to the new President of the Federal Republic, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to demonstrate that his administration will not permit the brigandage of the last eight years which has led to the deaths of thousands of Nigeria.”
The Kogi government statement on Monday said the Kogi State Traditional Council of Chiefs, led by His Royal Majesty, Alaji Mathew Opaluwa Ogwuche-Akpa, Atta Igala, paid a visit to Governor Yahaya Bello at the Government House in Lokoja on Monday.
Atta Igala said the visit was to offer their sympathies to the Governor regarding the attack on his convoy by a political group on his way from Abuja to Lokoja on Saturday.
The Atta Igala strongly condemned the attack, labeling it as a criminal act that must not be repeated in Kogi State going forward.
Taking advantage of the occasion, Atta Ogwuche-Akpa, also cautioned politicians and their followers to ensure that their campaigns are conducted without resorting to violence or intimidation.
In his prayers for the continuous well-being of Governor Yahaya Bello and the progress of Kogi State, the Ohimege-Igu of Koto Karfe, Abdulrazaq Isah Koto, emphasized that the state, which has enjoyed significant peace and tranquility under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello, will continue to remain peaceful. He urged politicians to adhere to the established rules.