Representative of Kogi Central senatorial district, Ahmed Salau Ogembe, has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of sponsoring thugs and policemen to destroy over N200 million worth of empowerment materials meant for distribution to his constituents.
He alleged that his multi-million Naira empowerment programme at Ageva on Okene-Ogori-Magongo road in which cars, motorcycles and sewing machines were to be distributed, was disrupted at the weekend by suspected thugs allegedly sponsored by Governor Bello.
Ogembe, who made the allegation, while speaking with newsmen in Lokoja, described the development as dangerous, saying it would create anarchy in the state if not checked.
He said the intimidation and harassment of opposition members was unbecoming, adding that it would result to breakdown of law and order if the President Muhammdu Buhari-led government fails to call Bello to order.
He urged the Federal Government to wade into the matter and address the incessant harassment and intimidation of members of the opposition in Kogi.
He explained that before the commencement of the empowerment programme at Ageva on Okene-Ogori-Magongo road, he applied and got approval from the Inspector General of police (IGP) for security.
He said he also notified the state Commissioner of Police in the state, and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the council area.
“We also sent letters to the Commissioner, the area Commander and the DPO and we have their acknowledgements. We discussed on the phone and they assured us that they will provide enough security,” he said.
He explained that the matter was reported to the police and the Area Commander, who said there was tension in the place only for the Local Government Administrator to say “we did not seek Bello’s permission nor consulted him before holding the programme.”
Ogembe added that it took the intervention of the military to quell hostilities between the people and the thugs but that armed thugs stole most of the materials.
But reacting to the allegations, the state’s APC Publicity Secretary, Jibril Abu, said sometime in March this year, a similar incident happened and the state government did not only condemn the act but also sent delegates to appease Ogembe over it.
“One will, however, question the sanity those who link such acts to Governor Bello because the senator was given a red flag by security operatives when the information got to them that he was coming to Okene for an empowerment programme,” he said.
He added that insider reports linked PDP thugs loyal to Ogembe to the incidence, saying, “they manipulated the security situation to cause mayhem in order to attract public sympathy to their principal.”