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HURIWA urges IGP to probe Yahaya Bello over death threats to opponents

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Monday, urged the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to probe the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, over violent and inciting statements he was captured on video to have made against his political opponents in the North Central state which have become a flashpoint for political violence since Bello assumed office as governor.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, also urged the police chief to interrogate the subtle but persistent politically motivated attacks against the person of the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, who is reportedly independent and broad-minded and who does what is right in accordance with her conviction and absolute loyalty to her party, the All Progressives Congress.

The Kogi State governor at Ihima in Kogi Central was recently seen on tape issuing threats to send whoever is against his political goals in the state to run errands for his mother in the grave. His Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, has reportedly denied these utterances but he is not claiming the viral video was forged, nor is he saying that wasn’t his principal on tape.

Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is a known fact that Kogi State has become a flashpoint of political violence in recent times and death threats or any form of inciting comments from any quarters should not be tolerated. The recent attack on the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, adds to the growing list of political orgies perpetuated in the North Central state.

“The daylight brutal extermination of Salome Abuh, a Peoples Democratic Party leader in Kogi on November 18, 2019, at her residence Ochadamu area of the state is still fresh in the minds of people with conscience. Abuh was callously burnt to death hours by her detractors after the announcement of the 2019 governorship election in the state.

“The United States under the administration of then President Donald Trump subsequently imposed visa restrictions on those who “operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people” and undermined the November 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.

“The death threats the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, issued to his opponents in the state which was translated should be investigated by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba. The comment is irresponsible of any political leader governing a diverse state like Kogi. And to think that a young upwardly mobile man like Yahaya Bello who had offered himself for service in the capacity of President of a multicultural,  multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and largely complex Country like Nigeria, is more disturbing and calls for introspection and detailed analysis, investigation to ensure that those kinds of body language, innuendos and signals do not translate to physical violence especially as Nigeria enters the most crucial political season of the campaign soon this Month”.

“The violent comments pose dangers to the lives of political opposition and even APC members who refused to become slaves or do not wish to fall for the whims and alleged caprices of the powerful and power-seeking governor of Kogi State. Nigeria presently practices democracy and people should be free to associate with any political conviction without duress.

“HURIWA further calls on the office of the National Security Adviser and the Director General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, to preemptively and proactively take steps to ensure rancour-free political campaigns in Kogi State as the state has become a flashpoint for political violence.

“The security heads should reexamine the fuller implications of the speech by the governor captured in a video which has been interpreted as direct threats to opponents and independent-minded members of the APC.

“According to PDP Governorship Candidate in the state in 2019, Musa Wada, the state must rise against violent politics experienced under Yahaya Bello in the last couple of years.

“The security heads should also probe attacks – both verbal and through media propaganda – that have been directed on the person of the Minister of State for the FCT, Ramatu Tijani Aliyu.

“The minister of State for FCT and one of the few politically vibrant Northern Women in the federal administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has also come under the subtle campaign of calumny since she was made the youth coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign for North Central just as the imposing office she donated for the Tinubu Presidential campaign witnessed the pulling down of the signage on the walls of the building according to allegations by some concerned citizens of Kogi State. There have also been multiple sponsored but poorly written published newspaper articles attacking the minister of State for FCT for no known reasons other than that someone very powerful is afraid of her steady rising political profile in the Country. We as totally non-partisan members of the organised civil rights community using this auspicious opportunity to ask the office of the National Security Adviser,  the Director-General of the DSS, and the relevant Intelligence gathering agencies of the Central government to be on their guards to ensure that violence of any sort does not characterise the campaign period in Kogi State and all over the federation.  The violence of the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State must never be allowed to be reenacted just as the sacredness of all lives irrespective of political parties must be preserved absolutely in line with the avowed determination of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“The 2023 elections are barely months away and security agents must not hesitate to nip in the bud, any fibre of political violence, regardless of whose ox is gored. Security agents must create an atmosphere devoid of intimidation and harassment where voters are not afraid to vote their candidates, even if they are unpopular. The law must be a respecter of no persons.”

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