The Kogi Police Command on Sunday launched an investigation into alleged reports of political clashes and violence in Kogi as the Governorship election draws closer.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Police action was sequel to a report of alleged attack on the SDP campaign train at Koton-Karfe where some persons were said to have been injured in the process through political violence.
The Kogi Commissioner of Police, Onuoha Bethrand, in a statement issued in Lokoja by the Command’s Spokesman, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, said that the police would not tolerate any act of lawlessness in the state.
The worried commissioner 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.
Bethrand condemned 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.
“I hereby sternly warn all the political parties in the state and their supporters to play by the rules and stop heating up the state or face severe sanctions.
“You should all 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.
“Moreso that the governorship election is fast approaching, we are appealing to all political actors to give peace a chance by conducting themselves in peaceful manner and shunning all acts capable of truncating the peace, tranquillity and unity of Kogi.
“Therefore, for the last time, I wish to warn 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,” he warned.
The police boss also assured of the Command’s unwavering commitment to the protection of all lives and property in the state before, during and after the Nov. 11 governorship election.
He, however, attributed some the crises or violence 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.
“Again, not all the Chairmen and candidates of the other political parties 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.
“For the record, several invitations 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 me nor the command while embarking on political rallies to enable the police provide adequate security coverage.
“His (SDP candidate’s) refusal to deal with the police is undermining peace in the state, has been impeding efforts to streamline and regulate political activities.
“It has in turn, greatly contributed to the pockets of political violence being witnessed in the State presently. His riding roughshod and engaging in political brinkmanship and brigandage is an ill wind that blows no one any good,” he noted.
The police commissioner, however, expressed his sympathy to victims of last Friday’s Koton Karfe political violence that left some people wounded.