Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello purchased over 1,000 unregistered tinted vehicles for people suspected to be thugs in order to rig next month’s governorship election.
The opposition party claims that hundreds of tinted unregistered automobiles – cars, buses, SUVs and pickup trucks – have flooded Lokoja, the state capital, and several other towns in the last few days.
According to a press statement signed by Faruk Adejoh, Head of Information and Strategy of PDP governorship candidate Engr. Musa Wada: “These vehicles were brought into the state directly by the outgoing Governor Yahaya Bello and his Chief of Staff, Mr Edward Onoja, and distributed mainly to thugs and members of their faction of the APC and their prowling squads of gunmen.”
The statement reads:
“At least 550 cars were reportedly distributed last week. Before then there were over 500 such cars in circulation before, during and after the last general elections.
“These cars were used by thugs and gun men to storm polling units and collation during the Presidential/National Assembly and House of Assembly Elections in Kogi State.
“Interestingly in all the 10 cases where PDP members were killed in the last elections, the killers were reported to have arrived and escaped in tinted cars identical to the ones shared by the governor now APC candidate and his Chief of Staff who is now the running mate to the Governor.
“We are shocked that these cars obviously procured to be used in the perpetration of electoral felonies are prowling around freely in Lokoja with their plate numbers either covered, left blank or with the inscription of GYB 4+4 or NEXT LEVEL yet no security agency in Kogi State neither the police nor the Department of State Security (DSS) consider the development a security breach.
“As a matter of fact these vehicles sometimes are used to convey security personnel to go hunt peaceful innocent PDP supporters in other to intimidate and terrorise our support base into silence or dormancy before the elections.
“In most cases these security personnel loosely referred to as SARS are driven to the manhunt expeditions by known thugs and gunmen of Mr Bello and Mr Edward.
“We are challenging the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and the State Director DSS to explain to the world why these vehicles and their drivers and occupant enjoy unbridled immunity in a state where police is notorious for harassing, intimidating and extorting motorists with genuine vehicle identification on all the highways.”
Reacting to the allegation, the media aide to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said:
“The PDP is confused completely at the moment and it is understandable, they had a bloody primary and the center is disintegrated.
“They know they stand no chance in November 16 and they need to start looking for excuses from now. They are not reaching out and the state doesn’t even know they have a candidate.
“Their Plan A was to foment trouble. The plan has collapsed. They imported Niger Delta thugs who couldn’t operate in our well woven security architecture.
“The only plan left is blackmail and falsehood. We didn’t bring in vehicles. We don’t need violence. Their leaders are defecting to our party and we are confident of winning convincingly. We shall wait for their next falsehood as this one has collapsed like packs of cards.”
When contacted, Police Commissioner Hakeem Busari absolved the police of any wrongdoing, saying his men will never give any preferential treatment to any political party over another or its candidate.
He said the police was fully ready to curb any thuggery in the state, either during or after the governorship election, and stressed that those accused of using tinted unregistered vehicles, if any, are being closely monitored.