From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Ukomu Igala Organisation (UIO) has raised serious security concerns over the rise in kidnappings, armed robberies and attacks on communities that have led to the loss of lives in Kogi East.
The Igala advocacy group said that rural communities in the zone have been dying in silence due to the rising spate of abductions, armed robberies and other attacks by gunmen.
According to a statement signed by UIO National Leader David Abutu and National Secretary Dr Sabastine Abu, ‘the attention of Ukomu Igala Organisation (UIO), has been drawn to the unsavoury security situations in Igala land, leading to fear, apprehension, and rampant bloodshed in the nine local government areas.
‘In April this year, a traditional ruler Onu Iyankpe, a suburb of Bagana in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State was kidnapped from his palace. His abductors killed him in cold blood after collecting ransom from family and friends of the monarch.
‘On July 18, 2021, a medical doctor, Dr Solomon Nidiamaka, working with General Hospital Ugwolawo, in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State was kidnapped by gunmen in a similar circumstance.
‘Equally, on September 6, 2021, Mrs Fatimetu Ishaku, the General Manager of Radio Kogi at Ochaja was kidnapped while on transit to her village. A few days later, precisely on September 11, 2021, one Idris Bala was killed by Fulani herdsman at Ojapata Oganigu village in Dekina Local Government of Kogi State.’
He further stressed that ‘the same Oganeinugu village has been raided three tomes within the last one year by gunmen suspected to be armed bandits.
‘There countable numbers of kidnapping in Ejule, Iyale, and Ochadamu-Umori axis in Ofu Local Government Area.
‘Similarly, Itobe-Ojodu-Anyigba road, as well as Idah-Ajegwu road, has become a den of kidnappers with communities along those roads as well-travelled faces danger daily.
‘In the same vein, Igah-Ikeje communities, especially at Adumu village, in Igah District of Olamaboro Local Government Area are having sleepless nights over incessant activities of armed Fulani herders.’
He explained that there is another fresh dimension to the criminal activities in the zone which is the attacks on operators of POS and ATM machines especially in Abejukolo, headquarters of Omala local government.
‘In July this year alone, four POS operators were robbed in a violent manner. All these criminal acts have been so consistent within the last two years in a manner that shows a complete absence of security or outright ineffectiveness of the available security system in the zone.
‘These criminals operate with impunity, as they are usually more armed than local vigilantes. One of the most recent cases of insecurity in the zone was the killing of four persons at Otutubatu (Bagana) in Omala LGA.
‘More worrisome in the prevailing security situations in the zone is that farmers could no longer go to farm due to fear of armed Fulani herders who are parading the farmlands with AK-47 and are ready to kill if you dare them.’
The organisation called on federal and state government, security agencies, local government chairmen, traditional rulers, and security experts, to put in place an effective security arrangement to respond to the peculiar challenges facing Igala land and Kogi State at large
‘We call for an investigation into killings, robberies, and rampant kidnapping in Kogi East, to ensure that the masterminds of these criminal activities are captured and made to face the music.
‘The police and other security agencies must respond to distress calls from communities in Igala land. Most times, the police do not respond to distress calls from villagers when they are being raided by bandits. The people in Igala land are Nigerians and deserve to be protected, as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution.
‘The Nigeria Police Force should deploy more policemen in Igala land as, in most districts, there are hardly up to a dozen policemen.
‘The Federal Government should establish a military barracks in Igala land to complement the efforts of the other security agencies, while efforts are made to mop up dangerous weapons still left in the hands of the political thugs across the state.’