The Kogi State Police Command says it has begun investigations into the circumstances that led to the killing of a supporter of the All Progressives Congress in Kotonkarfe, Kogi LGA of Kogi State on Saturday.
It said this in a statement issued by the Police Public Relations Officer in Kogi State, SP William Ovye Aya.
In the statement on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, CP Bethrand C. Onuoha, Aya said the Command received a report where some persons were said to have been killed and injured in the process through political violence.
While assuring the people of the state that no stone would be left unturned to secure lives and property, the CP condemned, in strong terms, acts by some politicians whose stock-in-trade was violence and who had taken it upon themselves to cause mayhem and heat up the state through “their unguarded utterances and unregulated activities”.
He specifically accused the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party for the November 11, 2023 election in the state, Muritala Yakubu, of conducts that had allegedly continued to jeopardise security efforts in the state, saying he “moves around with a retinue of suspected political thugs armed to the teeth.
“His riding rough-shod and engaging in political brinkmanship and brigandage is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.”
According to the CP, while other parties have been carrying the Police along in their activities, “the SDP Candidate has consistently and vehemently refused to honour any of Police invitations for investigation, or inform the Commissioner of Police nor the Command while embarking on political rallies”.
The statement said the CP had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department to commence a thorough, diligent and wholistic investigation of all acts of political violence, accusations and counter-accusations on all the political parties and actors with a view to bringing offenders to book.
The statement reads in full: “The Kogi State Police Command received a report of alleged attack on the SDP Campaign at Koton-Karfe where some persons were said to have been injured in the process through political violence.
“The CP Kogi State Command CP Bethrand C. Onuoha psc(+) wishes to sympathize with all victims of political violence in the State while condemning in strong terms some Politicians whose stock-in-trade is violence and who have taken it upon themselves to cause mayhem and heat up the State through their unguarded utterances and unregulated activities.
“The CP further directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Criminal Investigation Department, SCID to commence a thorough, diligent and wholistic investigation of all acts of political violence, accusations and counter-accusations on all the Political Parties and Actors with a view to bringing all offenders to book.
“The CP assures of the Command’s unwavering commitment to the protection of all lives and property in the State.
“He further stated that these instances of violence are attributed to the failure of most of the political actors to honour invitations and partake in series of Stakeholders Parleys/Interactions where issues bordering on security and the need to conduct political activities as enshrined in The Electoral Act are discussed.
“While Chairmen and Candidates of the other Political Parties have continued to honour Police Invitations to discuss petitions and or allegations with the Police, and other salient issues germane to peaceful campaigns, and that of the INTER-AGENCY CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE ON ELECTION SECURITY (ICCES), be it emphasised here that several invitations (have been) extended to the SDP and ADC Candidates for interaction and consultation with the Police to shed light, provide explanations and give their own side of the story on Petitions written against them but to no avail.
“While these other Parties have been carrying the Police along in their activities, the SDP Candidate has consistently and vehemently refused to honour any of Police invitations for investigation, or inform the Commissioner of Police nor the Command while embarking on political rallies to enable the Police provide adequate security coverage.
“His refusal to deal with the Police is undermining peace in the State, has been impeding efforts to stream-line and regulate political activities which in turn has greatly contributed to the pockets of political violence being witnessed in the State presently.
“His riding rough-shod and engaging in political brinkmanship and brigandage is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.
“For instance on the complaint of Breach of Security Against The Executive Governor of Kogi State at Banda on 3rd June, 2023, the SDP Candidate, Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, has consistently refused to honour Police several invitations to give his own side of the story!
“Again, since he applied for Police Security, he was invited to come but till date, he refused to show up. He moves around with a retinue of suspected political thugs armed to the teeth. Consequently, the above facts and scenario, coupled with his recalcitrance and obduracy have continued to jeopardize Police Investigation and maintenance of law and order in the State.
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“The CP uses this medium to sternly warn all the Political Parties in the State and their supporters to play by the Rules and stop heating up the State, desist from all forms of violence as anyone caught disrupting the prevailing peaceful environment in the State will be made to face the full wrath of the Law.
“He appealed to the Political Actors to give peace a chance by conducting themselves in peaceful manner and shunning all acts capable of truncating the peace, tranquility and unity of Kogi State.
“To this end, the CP therefore, for the last time, warns would-be trouble-makers to have a change of heart and desist from acts of intolerance as the Police is ever determined to deal decisively with anyone who will not give peace a chance in the State.”