Friday was a sad day for residents of the ancient city of Koton-Karfe, along the Abuja – Lokoja highway, as they watched in horror as thugs took over their town and unleashed mayhem; killing, injuring, and holding them to ransom.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) claims they were attacked by All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs backed by the ruling government in the state, but the APC and the state government were yet to react to the allegations at press time.
Photos and videos on social media were chilling, including one of a young lady who was allegedly gunned down by political thugs.
Governorship Candidate of the SDP in Kogi State, Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka on Friday, told how his security team successfully repelled gun attacks by thugs affiliated to a top state government official.
The spokesman for his campaign organisation, Mr. Faruk Adejoh-Audu, narrated in a statement, accompanied with photos of a bleeding aide and bullet-ridden Sports Utility Van how several supporters of Ajaka sustained bullet wounds after the attack.
The alleged attack, he said, occurred on Ajaka’s way from a rally to the town’s Central Mosque for his Jumat Prayers.
His words: “It was the second attack on the same day in Koton-Karfe.
“In continuation of his campaign of violence and intimidation (the elected executive’s) thugs had earlier opened fire at the rally venue at about 10: 30 am when supporters began gathering ahead of Ajaka’s arrival to flag off the event at 1:00pm.
“The rally was already underway, when thugs with sophisticated assault rifles arrived and started shooting sporadically.
“Party supporters scampered in different directions while the fiery thugs descended on the event equipments namely podium, canopies, chairs, Public Address Systems.
“They fired bullets into the giant speakers, smashed several hundreds of chairs and canopies, and then sustained the gun fire for over 15 minutes.
“Ajaka, who arrived at the venue about 2 hours later, praised supporters and party faithfuls who bravely returned to the venue despite the attack on hearing the approach of his siren. He condemned (the executive’s) appetite for violence and urged the supporters not to be intimidated.
“”This is to tell you the kind of people that have been ruling us and are desperate to continue to force themselves on us.
“”They have nothing else to offer except sorrow, tears, and blood. They don’t pay salaries. They have collected over 600 billion in eight years, yet they have no infrastructure to show. Instead, EFCC is arraigning them and confiscating their properties bought with our stolen money.
“”Even armed bandits in the jungle can’t be worse than these people. But I assure you they are desperate because they know we the people are resolved to chase them away this time for good. This is the last kick of a dying wild lion,” Ajaka told supporters.
Adejoh- Audu disclosed that it was while leaving the rally venue with supporters escorting his motorcade to Jumat Prayers that they ran into a barricade on the road.
He added: “Another round of sporadic gunfire started, but this time around, the security personnel (attached to Ajaka) began shooting into the air to warn the attackers, who later went silent.
“There were no immediate fatalities, but several people sustained gunshot wounds.
“The Murtala Yakubu Ajaka Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation has formally reported the attack to the Kogi office of DSS and the State Police Command.
“Indications that there will be trouble emerged earlier in the day when the Ajaka Campaign got reports that (two of the State’s top security chiefs) spent several hours last night pleading with (the state executive) not to suddenly stage a one-million-man March in Koton-Karfe Town today Friday to clash with the SDP Rally.
“Our intelligence indicates that the state security chiefs were able to persuade a reluctant (executive) that since Ajaka had already written to the security agencies of the event weeks earlier, the (executive) will be blamed if violence erupted between his supporters and those of Ajaka.
“The attacks by thugs under the control of (a) commissioner from the LGA, one … himself a dreaded thug before his appointment into … cabinet it is believed was (the) alternative plan to cause mayhem and intimidate the SDP candidate as he did on June 3, 2023, when he personally led his convoy to attack Ajaka in Lokoja.
“Since then, several SDP supporters have been killed, and many more maimed while properties, including the State Headquarters of the SDP and three LGA Offices, were burnt down by identified (his) thugs.
“The Murtala Yakubu Ajaka Gubernatorial Campaign Organization again calls on The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The Inspector General of Police, the DGDSS, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to rein in this outlaw … before he succeeds in wreaking genocide on the people of Kogi State out of desperation.”