Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on Friday said the incessant killings and destruction of properties between Bassa Komu and Igbirra communities in the state must stop immediately or those found to be fuelling the crisis would henceforth be charged for murder.
The governor who gave the warning in a state broadcast and allayed the fears of rumoured attacks in the Saturday House Assembly election said the warring communities should close ranks and cooperate with the government to end the unnecessary wastage of human lives and properties in the area.
The Bassa-Komo has been having running battles with their Igbirra-Mosun neighbours since last year over the ownership of land and fishing ponds which has led to the killings of over 100 people with scores reportedly killed early on Friday morning.
The governor said he had tried to no avail to reconcile the warring communities and even had to set up a judicial commission to look into the crisis, yet some people were bent on causing more crisis in the area.
He, therefore, ordered the military to go after the perpetrators and sponsors of the crisis and said those found guilty would be made to face the wrath of the law as they would be charged for murder.
On Saturday’s Assembly election, he said adequate security had been provided in the three senatorial districts of the state to ensure a hitch-free exercise adding that anybody found fomenting trouble before during and after the poll would be summarily death with.
According to him, the security had been given red alert to do anything and everything within the law to ensure that the election went smoothly without any form of malpractice or violence, and urged the people not to express any fear of any intimidation but to come out in their large numbers to perform their civic responsibility.
The governor in the broadcast also appealed to the striking judiciary workers in the state to allow reason to prevail and go back to work, saying no government in the world would be paying salaries of workers it cannot account for.
The governor expressed surprise why the chief judge of the state and the judiciary union vehemently opposed the proposal of the state government that judiciary workers, like state workers, be screened or be meant to undergo pay parade before been paid, saying he had petitioned the CJN over the issue since last November without any response.
He said he was therefore been taken aback that the union had now taken the state government to court when the same union hurriedly procured an injunction last year to stop the state Assembly from mediating in the matter.
The governor said the state government was ready to meet the union in court but expressed worry that the innocent judiciary workers were now suffering due to non-payment of salaries even as he said all the salary arrears were lying dormant in the bank.