From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has warned that anybody who foments trouble or promote violence before and during next year’s general election would be ruthlessly dealt with no matter how highly placed.
He gave the warning when the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, visited him at the Government House in Lokoja, yesterday.
He reiterated the readiness of his administration to resist attempts by some desperate politicians to plunge the state into the pre-2015 era of insecurity in the guise of playing politics.
The governor said credible intelligence report at the disposal of the state government had revealed that actions of some politicians were capable of truncating the peace being enjoyed in the state, stressing that his administration would not allow insecurity to be smuggled into Kogi through the “boot of politics.”
The governor who said he inherited a violence-prone state where bank robberies, kidnappings, robberies and herders/farmers clashes were the order of the day when he was inaugurated in 2016, said he has been able to tackle insecurity headlong and the state is now regarded as one of the peaceful states in the country.
“It is well known that prior to the inception of the current administration, our citizens lived in perpetual fear from rampaging insecurity of all kinds including high rates of terrorism, kidnapping, bank robbery, violent political agitations, pipeline vandalism, herdsmen/farmers conflicts, inter- and intra-communal clashes, campus and other forms of cultism, amongst others.
“By the grace of God, over the last seven years, my administration has done its best to supply both the tools and allied morale boosters that our officers need to excel. In our first year, we were able to buy and distribute over 200 patrol vans, over 500 motorcycles and thousands of communications and tactical equipment to the services. We also continue to provide regular maintenance and logistical support.
“In addition, we established a joint task force, Operation Total Freedom, for them which allowed the police, the armed forces and all the other security services, including our community policing network (the Kogi State Vigilante Services), to work in tandem, sharing intel and collaborating real-time in operations. In this way we were able to tackle the distrust existing among the services and which is the root of the lack of synergy hampering their effectiveness.”
He attributed his success in security to the combined efforts of the state government and security agencies. He, therefore, said his administration would never tolerate anybody or group of people hiding under any guise to cause break down of law and order stressing that the general election must be peaceful and orderly.
The IGP, who said he was on a familiarisation tour of the state command and to inaugurate a police barrack in Kabba and also lay the foundation for the building of a Mopol Squadron unit commended Bello for making Kogi one of the most peaceful states in the country and urged other states to emulate him.
While saying the dividends of security cannot be seen in terms of naira and kobo, he said his men and officers were working round the clock to ensure that crimes and criminalities were put to the barest minimum and urged Nigerians to continue to cooperate with them.
The IGP described Governor Bello as a dogged crime fighter who has made the state unsafe for criminals to thrive.
He said Bello was one governor that would never raise the alarm of not being in control of security in his state, adding that from what he had observed, he “leads from the front.”
He added that he was happy that the governor was playing the role of the “real chief executive officer” in terms of security, noting that he is “a dependable ally in the battle against national insecurity.
“I’ve never heard him crying that he doesn’t have control of security in his state. That is because he is able to synergise and cooperate with all the security agencies as well as lead from the front. Security is everybody’s business. When you have a leader who is leading from the front, others will follow. That is what is happening in Kogi.
“Many of the crimes being committed by sons and daughters of Kogi are not even being committed in Kogi but outside Kogi because they have no place in Kogi State again.
“We have people like His Excellency who are supporting our cause. My sincere gratitude to His Excellency for being proactive about security. I can’t remember how many times he has visited the force headquarters, not for himself because he has no reason to; but in his efforts to protect his people. I don’t know how many governors do this.”