By Emeka Ugwuanyi
Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, said he narrowly escaped death on Saturday when his convoy was reportedly blocked and attacked by some hoodlums suspected to be political thugs and supporters of the governorship candidate the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi State, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka.
A statement by the Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, blamed people believed to be supporters of Alhaji Muritala Ajaka, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the November 11, 2023 election, for the attack at about 12.30 hours on Saturday.
“The attack took place near the Naval Base, few kilometres from Lokoja, where the convoy of Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, having sighted that of the governor, blocked the road and some of his armed thugs started shooting sporadically at the convoy of the governor.
“A Tundra vehicle branded with the logo of the SDP and with the party’s flags also blocked the governor’s vehicle and occupants of the SDP branded Tundra were armed with rifles and short guns.
“The governor left the scene unscathed and there is no cause for panic as the governor is in high spirit,” the statement read.
On his part, the SDP governorship candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, said luckily escaped assassination this afternoon (yesterday) when his motorcade was attacked by gunmen personally led by the Governor of Kogi State Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
Alhaji Ajaka and some vehicles accompanying him were approaching Lokoja at the vicinity of the ram market at about 13:00pm when two power bikes and Toyota Hilux overtook his car and forced it to a stop.
In a press statement signed by Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Director of Communication: “This assault was heralded by a Mercedes Benz Limousine with Bello’s official crest accompanied by an open pick-up truck loaded with masked and hooded men bearing AK 47 assault rifles.
“The men jumped down and began shooting at Ajaka’s car and all other cars in the motorcade. They shot for over five minutes at Ajaka’s bullet proof car unprovoked.
“All this while Bello’s car was parked a few metres in front and was used to barricade the road while the gun men had a field day.
“When they ceased shooting, Ajaka’s bullet proof Lexus SUV was totally damaged and demobilised.
“Among the gunmen is one Friday Makama, a notorious thug and a former member of the House of Assembly who recently was appointed Director-General for Firearms Recovery by Mr Bello. Also identified among the hoodlums accompanying the governor is one Bashir Gegu the commissioner for Solid Minerals who has a gross reputation for thuggery.
“Mr Ajaka who was on his way to keep an appointment with the Mai Geri, The first class traditional ruler of Lokoja and The Attah Igala in Idah decided to abort the journey and return to Abuja after conferring with the Commander of the Lokoja Naval Base.
“This again is another low scored by Mr Yahaya Bello in the exercise of crude power and brute force.
“Bello is on record to have unleashed guns and gunmen on several citizens in the course of his eight years draconian rule. Several persons have been killed by his hoodlums during electioneering while others are missing.
“Ajaka until recently was a member of the APC who was forced out of the governorship nomination by Mr Yahaya Bello who used minions and proxies to obtain an injunction from a Lokoja High Court restraining him from participating in the primaries.
“The brute action today is obviously in a continuation of Bello’s desperation to stop Yakubu from continuing in the election.
“We appeal to the new President of the Federal Republic, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to demonstrate that his administration will not permit the brigandage of the last eight years which has led to the deaths of thousands of Nigeria.
“Election is still five months away, but if Mr Bello does not get a strong signal that violence would not be allowed in the new administration, several of our citizens will be killed by his thugs and gunmen before the polls.”
By Emeka Ugwuanyi