The Senator representing Kogi Central senatorial district of Kogi State, Ahmed Salau Ogembe on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to wade in and address the incessant harassment and intimidation of members of the opposition parties in Kogi State by people he said were agents of the ruling APC in the state .
Ogembe who made the call while speaking with newsmen in Lokoja described the situation as dangerous, saying that it would only create anarchy in the state if not checked.
Ogembe who had his multi-million Naira empowerment programme at Ageva on Okene-Ogori-Magongo road allegedly disrupted on Saturday by political thugs, said the intimidation and harassment of opposition party members in the State was becoming “very unbearable.”
“Before we embarked on the programme , we applied and got approval from the Inspector General of police (IGP) to give us security, we also notified the Commissioner of Police in the state.
“We also sent letters to the Commissioner, the area Commander and the DPO and we have the acknowledgements. We discussed on phone and they assured us they will provide enough security.
“The DPO did his best but the Area Commander messed up the first empowerment program, I was talking to him almost on a daily basis about three times.
“But after putting up the rostrum they came in the night before the programme and burnt the vehicle we used in conveying the rostrum to the venue around 1:40am.
He said that “the matter was reported to the Divisional police officer and the Area Commander that there was tension in the place only for the Local Government Administrator to come later to say the senator did not seek his permission to hold the programme.
He said it took the intervention of the military to quell the hostilities between the people and the thugs however, most of the materials meant for the people were stolen by by the armed thugs.
“I only brought empowerment to my people to make sure I shared the materials so that everybody can leave with their own items and they came to disorganized the programme and they started stealing and vandalizing the materials”, he said.
Ogembe wondered what would happen by the time the ban on political activities were lifted, “Are they saying we must go and get permission from the Governor before we can hold rally? It has never happened.
The senator stated that the State Government was conniving with the police and the thugs to intimidate opposition and called on the Federal Government to stop the dangerous trend.
“After any programme they will go to PDP members houses and start stoning and harassing them, that is what the Administrators of Adavi and Okehi are doing basically now. The Governor should know the extent of his powers . he said
But in a swift reaction, the ruling APC in the state described the allegations as baseless, urging the people to disregard it.
In a statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Jibril Abu, said that the Governor Yahaya Bello was concerned about security of lives and property of the people of Kogi State hence his huge investment in security.
“It must be recalled that sometime in March this year similar thing happened and the State Government did not only condemned the act but sent delegates to appease and pacify the aggrieved and Sen. Ogembe over the unfortunate incidence. One will however question the sanity of anybody that will link such kind of act to Governor Yahaya Bello.
“For the record, it must be stated that as per the information garnered prior to the recent unfortunate incidence, Senator Ogembe was given a red flag by the security operatives when the information got to them that he was coming to Okene to conduct empowerment programme .
“However, Sen. Ogembe decided to trust his thugs and act against a clear warning from the appropriate authority. One is shocked that a lawmaker would go out of his way to promote and encourage lawlessness in his constituency.”