Senator Jibrin Isah Echocho of Kogi-East senatorial district is lamenting the gruesome murder of Ibrahim Iyioma Adegbe, a youth leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), even as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) is claiming to have unveiled a plan by the State Government to work for the release of five notorious thugs allegedly arrested by a Task Force of the Nigerian Army in Anyigba, Dekina LGA of Kogi State on Saturday evening.
“The thugs known to be working for (a state executive) were arrested around the Unity Square in Anyigba while exchanging fire with rival gangs in the town,” Mr. Faruk Audu-Adejoh, the spokesman of the SDP Campaign Council said in a statement on Saturday evening. He did not say if the rival gang was that of another political party or the SDP which has been in a running, violent face-off with APC across the state.
Other sources said they were rival gangs within the same party fighting over largesse.
Last week, the ancient town of Koton-Karfe on the Abuja-Lokoja expressway witnessed violence allegedly perpetrated by APC thugs, but the APC called for an investigation after it turned it was a female supporter of its gubernatorial candidate, Usman Ododo, that was killed..
SDP said on Saturday: “The sustained gunfire (in Anyigba) was said to have attracted the military task force made up mostly of the Army and some Navy personnel who quickly sealed off the area.
“In a mop-up operation that lasted over one hour between 2:00 p.m to 3:20 p.m the task force was able to capture five of about 12 armed thugs who were driving in two Toyota Sienna Bus.
“The soldiers shackled the armed thugs after disarming them and then impounded the two Sienna Buses with Ododo 2023 illegally written on the space for registration numbers.
The Muri/Sam Campaign Organisation claims that a top state executive is making desperate contacts to set the thugs free.
It also claimed that another top executive of Dekina Local Government Area who oversees the state executive thugs and executes his violent operations in Kogi East was seen driving behind the convoy of military vehicles conveying the disarmed thugs.
“We are calling on the Nigerian Army with their reputation for professionalism to resist the pressure to set these enemy combatants free to harm the Kogi Public.
“We plead with the Federal Government to ensure that these dangerous bandits are not unleashed to kill and maim our people in imminent November 11  Governorship Elections.
“So far the bandits are still in the custody of the military . We are monitoring developments and we shall keep the public posted,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Senator Echocho in his own statement Friday, that the slain Adegbe, a youth leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Odu Ward II, Dekina local government area of Kogi state, has been his strong supporter over the years.
The lawmaker described the killing of Adegbe as heinous and dastardly, wondering if it’s sinful to have ideological or political differences.
The lawmaker said he has never denied knowing the deceased as he has been a strong supporter of his political adventures and a loyal member of the APC who has contributed to success of party in Ajiolo-Ojaji and beyond.
Recal that a week ago, the senator and his supporters were accused of initiating a violence in Ajiolo-Ojaji that led to the killing and maiming of persons opposed to the senator’s group.
Echocho denied the allegation then, but on Friday challenged were behind the murder of Adegbe to prove his participation in the killing of anyone, either at Ajiolo-Ojaji or elsewhere.
He said the late Adegbe’s relationship with the Chairman of Dekina Local Government Area, Ishaq Okolo, was an issue that was used against him.
Echocho invited security officials to investigate the killing starting with a post on social media.
His statement says: “It is incumbent on me as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a political leader to make reference to a toxic Facebook post by one Viva Abaro Victoria titled: A group of notorious thugs are on rampage in my village, Ajiolo-Ojiaji in Dekina LG of Kogi State.
“The post was not only a false alarm, it was spurious and satanic to the extent for which it is causing crisis in the community.
“Anyone who knows Ajiolo-Ojaji well, knows we are all one big political family before political differences set in among them, but amid politics and politicking, where one’s right stops, another person’s right begins.
“I call on security agents to investigation the killing of my party supporter – Ibrahim Adegbe and bring perpetrators to justice,” he insisted