The Coalition of United Political Parties has sent a strongly-worded petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to investigate certain politicians in Kogi State over an alleged attempt to cause unprecedented mayhem and insecurity in a bid to disrupt the coming elections.
The petition, signed by not less than 15 leaders of the group, has been forwarded to President Buhari for action.
In it, the CUPP urged the President to use his constitutional powers as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure that politicians whose actions are geared towards making the Nigerian political space conducive for terrorists to thrive are arrested and brought to book.
In the letter, titled: URGENT NEED TO ARREST AND PROSECUTE POLITICIANS TRYING TO SCUTTLE THE 2023 ELECTIONS BY BLACKMAILING OUR MILITARY,” the CUPP singled out a senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, as the alleged “number one promoter of insecurity” in the state and urged the President to direct the security agencies to act on several petitions against her.
The CUPP leaders said as a major opposition voice since its formation in August 2018, the Coalition had been consistent in opposition activities, which tends towards the advocacy for free, fair and credible election.
It added that CUPP members had the patriotic duty to address issues that might affect the overall wellbeing of the country regardless of the political party involved.
The opposition body faulted an earlier petition by a law firm: Demaki and Demaki Legal Practitioners, allegedly written to discredit the Military and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, saying: “It is not difficult to see through the shenanigans of the petitioners that it was a sponsored blackmail by a desperate politician or a group of disgruntled politicians hellbent on compromising the security of the state prior to the coming election in order to give free reigns to terror and thuggery.”
In its petition, the CUPP specifically said Akpoti-Uduaghan had in late 2022 organised a campaign rally in Okene, Kogi Central Senatorial District, and allegedly imported Niger Delta militants into the state for nefarious activities, wondering why security agencies had not invited her till date.
On an earlier petition, which they said was questionably filed by a law firm that had allegedly been hired by promoters of terrorism, the CUPP warned the present administration not to allow unscrupulous politicians defame the military to pave the way for anti-democratic and criminal acts being planned ahead of the elections.
The CUPP petitioners said the petition from the lawyers is a blackmail because the Leader of the Nigerian Navy Special Forces in Kogi State, Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi, had been dealing with terrorists, who had been going about terrorising the State, its environs and particularly Ebira indigenes.
It said it was a petition written in bad blood with no iota of credible substance.
The CUPP said” “As lawyers, the petitioners know exactly what the due process of law they should apply if their petition has any merit whatsoever. If what they are alleging has any modicum of truth, they ought to have gone to court to enforce their fundamental rights.
“What they are after is to get the Navy Special Forces disbanded so as to enable them unleash their gangs of bandits on Kogi State and its environs or use them as political thugs during the coming elections in order to compromise the election and force themselves on the people of Kogi State at gunpoint. The government must never succumb to such a blackmail.”
The CUPP leaders reminded the President that he narrowly missed being a victim of the nefarious onslaughts of the said criminals when he visited Kogi State recently.
They added: “We know that it was a politically motivated attack to score political points by heartless politicians who don’t mind shedding blood simply for the purposes of political blackmail.
“For instance, the law firm alleges that the Chief of Naval Staff has been financially induced by the Governor of Kogi State without any strand of proof. He who alleges has the onus of proof hanging on him. It can be observed that no such proof was attached to the petition because it’s a mere object of blackmail.”
The CUPP therefore urged the President to take prompt action on the highlighted issues “before political desperados make good their plans to truncate the 2023 elections through active promotion of insecurity.”
The law firm in question had, according to the opposition body, been apparently hired by some politicians to defend terrorism acts, by implicating “the Executive Governor of Kogi State, his Chief of Staff and a Naval officer by the name Commander Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi and his men”.
Meanwhile President Muhammadu has been asked to sack Vice Admiral Gambo and arrest Akalezi for “all his dastardly acts”.
The call was made on behalf of their clients by a firm of legal practitioners, Demaki & Demaki, on Sunday.
In a letter to the President, the law firm accused the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, of using Akalezi to allegedly intimidate, kill, abduct and kidnap Kogi State indigenes opposed to his political ambitions.
Entitled: “Petition on the genocide and extra judicial killings/abduction/kidnappings of Kogi indigenes to wit, Hon. Musa Adelabu, Mr Rufai Jimoh, Mr. Hadi Abdulmaliki, Mr Kashim Ismaila, Ismaila Momoh, Mr. Monday Idowu and Mr. Abdulazeez Salami by Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi a.k.a (Charles Akalieze), Commander of the Navy Special Forces in Kogi State and the Chief of Naval Staff,” the lawyers urged Buhari to direct that Commander Akalezi be arrested and brought to justice for all his genocidal acts.
In the petition to Buhari, the lawyers said the Nigerian Navy under the current Chief of Naval Staff had derailed from its constitutional roles and delved into the murky waters of politics in Kogi State.
They accused Gambo of shielding Akalezi from the long arms of the law.
They alleged that Akalezi has hands in the disappearance of over 150 persons of Kogi State origin, who are political opponents of Governor Bello.
Calling Akalezi the personal hit man of the Governor, the lawyers gave a long list of those allegedly kidnapped, extrajudicially killed and executed by Uchendu Nicholas Akalezi.
The lawyers denounced the alleged roles played by the Chief of Staff to Governor Bello in the extra judicial killings, abduction and kidnapping.
On the brutality and killings of innocent National Youth Service Corps members assigned to Kogi State for their mandatory one year service to the nation, the lawyers noted that Ogunwo Adetola Oluwaseye with state code KG/21C/2009 was allegedly tortured and brutalised by Akalezi for no just cause.
Signed by Shedrack M. Demaki, the lawyers recalled several petitions written to the Chief of Naval Staff by the families of those allegedly killed by Commander Akalezi.
The petition, unedited, reads:
We are a firm of Legal Practitioners and We have been briefed and our Services retained by the Families of the victims Of the extra Judicial Killings/Abduction/Kidnappings of Kogi Central indigenes of Kogi State by CC AKALEZI; Commander of the NAVY SPECIAL FORCES IN KOGI STATES and they are Herein referred to as our “CLIENTS”.
This open letter is necessitated by issues of urgent importance connected with the atrocities, killings, maiming, kidnapping and the reign of terror been carried out by one AKALEZI of the NNS Luguard who is the Commander of the “Navy Special Forces” in Kogi State and the Chief of Naval Staff for his lackluster disposition in taking disciplinary actions against the said COMMANDER UCHENDU NICHOLAS AKALEZI (hereinafter called Commander Akalezi). It is evident that the Chief of Naval Staff stalls the probe of Commander Akalezi’s extrajudicial activities in Kogi state.
Mr. President, we humbly bring to your attention the case of Commander Akalezi of NNS Lugard who is the Commander of the Navy Special Forces (a taskforce created by Gov. Yahaya Bello in Kogi State.
Upon our clients’ brief and verifiable evidence, we believe that the said Akalezi is the personal Hitman of the Governor of Kogi State; Yahaya Bello.
That the Governor uses the said Akalezi to kill, abduct and kidnap Kogi indigenes who are opposed to his Political views. It is also our brief that these series of extrajudicial killings, intimidation, abductions and kidnappings of Kogi indigenes have been occurring since 2019 and has not abated rather Akalezi is further emboldened to continue carrying out his dastardly acts.
It is our brief also that the families of the victims of Akalezi’s brutality have written several petitions to the Department of State Security, the Inspector-General of Police and the Chief of Naval Staff; however, non were investigated by the respective authorities. Mr. President sir, our Clients further intimated us that the said Uchendu Nicholas Alkalize has hands in the disappearance of over one hundred and fifty (150) person of Kogi origin who are political opponents to the Governor of Kogi State.
Amongst the lot but not limited to the mentioned are as follows:
1. HON. MUSA ADELABU who was the PDP Chairman of Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State has since been abducted by Akalezi and his team on the 10th day of August, 2019 from his residence and till this very moment hasn’t been found by his family nor close associates.
2. MR. RUFAI JIMOH (A.K.A LOVER) was also abducted by the same Akalezi and his team on the 27th day of January, 2021 along old Ageva Secretariat on the Lagos Highway and till this very moment, MR RUFAI JIMOH’s whereabout is unknown.
3. MR. HADI ABDUMALIKI was also abducted on the 3rd day of January, 2022 at Ihima, Okehi Local Government Area by the said Commander Akalezi.
4. That also MR. KASHIM ISMAILA (A.K.A KAMUCHE) on the 21st of December, 2020 was also abducted by Commander Akalezi and his team and till this very moment has not been seen or heard from.
5. That Ismaila Momoh was also abducted/kidnapped from his house by the team lead by same Akalezi.
6. That Mr. Monday Idowu was also abducted/kidnapped on the 10th day of January, 2022 at Ihima by the Akalezi team in company of the Chairman of Okehi Local Government Area, Abdulraheem Ohiare.
7. That Abdulazeez Salami was also kidnapped/abducted on the 10th day of July, 2019 by Akalezi and his team in company of one Abdulraheem Ohiare; the Chairman of Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
It is worthy of note that at every time these Extrajudicial Killings, Abduction and Kidnappings are being carried out by the said Commander Akalezi and his team, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, MR. MOHAMMED JAMIU ASUKU is always with Akalezi serving as a pointer in identifying the Governor’s Political Opponents to be eliminated. The brutality and killings are not also limited to our clients who are opposed to the Governor of Kogi State but also innocent members of the National Youth Serving Corps who are assigned to Kogi State for their mandatory one-year service to the nation.
Worthy of note is the case of corp member OGUNWO ADETONA OLUWASEYE with state code KG/21C/2009 who was tortured and brutalized by Commander Akalezi for no just cause.
Sir, it is a fact that the said Commander Akalezi was transferred out of Kogi in the last quarter of 2022 by the Naval Authorities upon the uproar and protest against his illegal activities. The said transfer of Commander Akalezi out of Kogi State to NNS Kano in Lagos state brought relative peace to the state as indigenes of Kogi State were able to go about their political activities without the fear of being killed.
However, it is to the consternation of our clients to discover that the said Commander Akalezi was reposted from NNS Kano, Lagos state to NNS Lugard in Kogi state on the 9th of January 2023 by the Chief of Naval Staff and that no form of disciplinary action was taken against him neither were our clients reached out to in furtherance of any investigation to their petition before the Naval Command.
Sir, its worthy to mention that the return of Commander Akalezi to Kogi was influenced by the Governor to have him continue his reign of terror on the people of Kogi Central during this critical yet vulnerable political season in a bid to frighten and scare the people from willfully exercising their civic responsibilities as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
Mr. President, dishearteningly we notify you that that several petitions have been written to the Chief of Naval Staff by the families of those killed by Commander Akalezi using various Human rights organizations and law firms yet nothing has been done by the Chief of Naval Staff to bring the perpetrator to justice. We wish to state that we are in receipts of the acknowledged copies of these petitions written to the Chief of Naval Staff which he has failed to act on.
Sir, the Nigerian Navy was created by the force of law to protect the territorial waters of the Federal of Republic of Nigeria from external aggressions and to protect the country’s assets situate in waters. It is so disheartening that the Nigerian Navy under the current Chief of Naval Staff has derailed from their constitutional roles and delved into the murky waters of politics in Kogi State. It is also very shameful that the Chief of Naval Staff is allowing the Men and Officers of the Nigerian Navy to be the personal attack dogs/ killer squad used by the Government of Kogi State to eliminate its perceived political enemies. A food for thought is : why is Navy Commander Akalezi living in an operating from the hilly Okene when the waters are in Lokoja?
It is our brief that since the return of Commander Akalezi back to Kogi State, he has boasted of Gov. Yahaya bello’s support and financial influence over the Naval Chief making him untouchable and unanswerable to any petition. In view of reinstating fear in the indigenes and political opponents of the Kogi State Gov., Commander Akalezi with his team recently abducted one Ahmed whose whereabout is still unknown.
Sir, we wish to state that Nigeria is not a banana republic where laws are nonexistence or not obeyed. Nigeria has laws and no person or group of persons are above the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, Commander Akalezi and the Chief of Naval of Staff are not above the laws of the land. The action of Commander Akalezi and the Chief of Naval Staff dents the image of the disciplined officers of Nigerian Navy who are reputed for their bravery and uprightness; and, if left unabated will lead to breakdown of law and order; and destruction of lives and properties in Kogi State.
Mr. President it is worthy of note that just recently on National Television; you called on Nigerians to go about performing their civic responsibility of voting for anybody or party of their choice in the forthcoming general elections without fear of molestation from anybody or quarters. It is on the above premise we are calling on your good office to call the Chief of Naval Staff to order and we humbly urge you that Commander Akalezi be arrested and brought to justice. We further wish to State that the representatives of the above listed victims are willing to come forward to testify to all the atrocities that have been and are still being committed by Commander Akalezi. Also find attached to this petition the said picture of Commander Akalezi. We also wish to state that the actions of Commander Akalezi and Chief of Naval Staff are a clear breach of the operational code of conduct of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria.
PRAYER OF THE PETITION. It is the prayer of our Clients that you use your good office to call the Chief of Naval Staff to order and direct that Commander Akalezi be arrested and brought to justice for all his genocidal acts.