***Vows to do everything lawful to guarantee peaceful poll in November
***Reiterates endorsement of recent joint security operation
***Reveals it has reduced crime by 40%
***Says ‘we’ll never submit our authority to criminals’
The Kogi State Government has reiterated its endorsement of the recent joint operation carried out by security agencies in the state, in which a notorious gang leader was neutralised, saying that the operation has reduced crime in the area by over 40 per cent.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, who said this at the quarterly press briefing of the ministry on Monday in Lokoja, stressed that no amount of blackmail by desperate enemies of the state would stop the government from protecting lives and property of Kogites and cooperating totally with law enforcement agencies to rid the state of crime.
He said the Kogi State Government would not submit its authority to criminals, while calling on security agencies to invite those tagging the operation an extrajudicial killing and inciting violence for thorough investigation.
“They must be held to account for their claims,” he stressed, adding, “We can’t come this far taming terrorists for the past 90 months only to lose it to the garrulous crime-sponsors defending a criminal.”
The Commissioner said the government would do everything within the curve of law to guarantee a peaceful poll in November, warning that intimidation, ethnic/ religious profiling and other anti-social and unconstitutional acts would be met with stiff resistance.
“It is our responsibility to give confidence to our people that they are free from attacks while exercising their franchise,” he noted.
Fanwo stated, “The recent happening at Ejule was a necessary stitch-in-time led by security agents in the state to rid our state of criminalty. For the upteenth time, we reiterate our endorsement of the operation that has brought down insecurity in that area by over 40%.
“The late Kabir Bala popularly known as Okwo was a terror in the East, kidnapping and raping young women and housewives and terrorising the entire Kogi East.
“Motorists traversing the state were subjected to ‘Okwo levy’ to the embarrassment of the State, among other acts of extreme intimidation and criminality.
“Chapter 4, Section 33 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria talked extensively about the various rights conferred on the citizens of Nigeria, one of which is the right to life. But these rights have limitations.
“Kabir Bala opened fire on security operatives with the intent to murder them. According to the report by the security agencies, they engaged his gang at this point and he was neutralised in the process.
“A person who attempts to evade lawful arrest and even attempts to kill security agents can no longer hold on to such rights. His killing couldn’t be termed extra-judicial by any standard.
“The question you need to ask the SDP fans of the late Kabir Bala is: What is their interest in the criminal enterprise of the late crime-lord? Was there a pact between them and the late notorious leader to assassinate members of other parties?
“We are patiently waiting for the Law Enforcement agents to unravel the mystery by inviting those making unguarded, reckless statements without minding the approbrium of being associated with a serial killer.
“Our Government will not submit its authority to criminals. We can’t come this far taming terrorists for the past 90 months only to lose it to the garrulous crime-sponsors defending a criminal. We call on security agencies to call the actors inciting violence for thorough investigation. They must be held to account for their claims.”