Suspected Herdsmen Kill Traditional Ruler, Wife In Kogi

A traditional ruler, wife and eight others have become the latest victims of the herdsmen terror.

The 10 victims lost their lives in a fresh attack launched by the herdsmen in three villaes in Kogi State. The slain traditional ruler is the Onu of Agbenema, Chief Musa Edibo and his wife, while several houses were burnt down by suspected herdsmen in separate attacks on Agbenema, Aj’Ichekpa, Opada and Iyade villages, on Monday, March 1, 2018.

Agbenema is in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State.

Similarly, the houses of a former council chairman, Adofu Stephen and that of his parents were raised down.

Last week, the herdsmen had killed more than 25 people in the same local government. Unofficial report said that the death toll from the previous attacks had risen to 50.

In the latest offensives, the marauding herdsmen burnt several houses in the affected communities.

The attackers, according to fleeing villagers, were armed with sophisticated weapons and hid themselves in adjourning bushes from where they swooped on their targets.

According to the natives, the herdsmen whose bizarre operation is to set houses ablaze and open fire on the fleeing inhabitants, slit the throats of some of people they could catch and as well, cut off vital body parts of some of their victims.

They alleged that the Administrator of Omala Local Government Area, Hon. Ibrahim Aboh, escaped from the attackers’ sporadic shooting by the whiskers.

The villagers claimed that soldiers drafted to curtail the killings had refused to assist them to repel the attackers when they reported to them.

One of them said: “We were surprised when we approached the soldiers who were stationed at the Guest House at Abejukolo for assistance; they refused to act and used their vehicle to block us from advancing to the troubled spots to help our people.

“It is clear that the aim of the Fulani herdsmen is to kill us and take over our ancestral homes.

“They have razed down Ojuocha Ajomayeigbi, Iyade, Agbenema and Opada villages so they could use our land for their cattle colonies.

“We want the world to come to our assistance before these Fulanis exterminate and inherit our land. We have lost confidence in the security agencies posted to us.

“From their actions, we believed they have been instructed to adopt ‘siddon look’ while we are being massacred.

“Right now, coordinated war is raging simultaneously in most villages in Omala, Dekina, and Bassa councils.

“Our people are being killed and houses burnt down, even as our women are being raped, while many children who ran from the theatre of war are still missing.

“Since the attacks begun, we cannot go to the farms and our markets have been closed.

“Hunger has come to stay on our soil. If drastic measures are not taken to quell these gruesome killings by these herdsmen, food insecurity will take over our land”.

Last Saturday, Governor Yahaya Bello visited the crisis-ridden area of Oganenigu where over 25 persons were killed, houses burnt and over 45 motorbikes, and food items carted away by the invading herders.

When contacted on the Monday attack, the State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Williams Aya, said that he was yet to be briefed.

 

Suspected Herdsmen Invade, Kill In Kogi Community

Persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have unleashed terror on three communities in Kogi State, leaving 25 people dead.

Oganienugwu and Ikende communities in Dekina Local Government Area were affected; as well as Abejukolo in Omala LGA, all in the Eastern Senatorial district of the state.

As at the time of filing this report, villagers were reportedly moving out of Obakume, Idirisu, and Oji Apata to escape possible attacks.

Our correspondent gathered that 25 people were killed in the sustained attack which started on Tuesday and continued till Thursday.

A detachment of police and soldiers have been drafted to quell the violence.

Eye witness account told our correspondent that the mode of killing employed by the hoodlums was to slaughter the victims after tying them up; while those who attempted to escape alleged received machete cuts.

Our source said villagers were woken up by gunshots by the hoodlums dressed in army uniform.

Our correspondent also gathered that gunmen armed with AK-47 rifles had visited mayhem on the villagers in their farms before returning in the night around 1am while villagers slept.

Several houses were razed and others demolished in the violent attacks which left no fewer than 25 dead.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Monday Bala, who confirmed the incident, said the command was yet to ascertain the actual casualty figure.

He said the command has drafted men of the command alongside men of the armed forces to deal with the situation, adding that his men are in total control of the situation.

 

Senate Probes “Illegal State Police” In Kogi

The Senate has drafted two of its committees to investigate the establishment of the Vigilante Service Group by Kogi state government.

The attention of the Senate was drawn to the development by Dino Melaye (Kogi-APC) on Wednesday.

Mr. Melaye, while presenting a motion, said the establishment of the state police in Kogi contravened provision of the constitution.

“Mr. President, I bring to the senate a law passed by the Kogi state government and signed into law by the governor of Kogi state that talks about the establishment of the Vigilante Service Group. Mr. President, I have that law here, it’s already a law of the Kogi state government. By the time I perused this law, this law is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. This law alters the functions of the Nigeria Police as stipulated in section 214 of the constitution.

“Mr. President, it is a fact that state can make laws through the Houses of Assembly as enshrined in section 4 of the constitution but the law they will make must not be in conflict with the provisions of the constitution. Mr. President, I seek your indulgence to read a section of the law passed by Kogi state government. It says that Vigilante Group will be involved in detection and prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminals, the preservation of law and order, the protection of lives and property. Will assist other security and para-military agencies in the discharge of their duties to assist other security agencies in government installations, to assist other security agencies in maintaining law and order in any economic, political and social gathering. There shall be a controller of Vigilante services. There is also a Deputy Controller-General.

“Mr. President, the most affront on the constitution is in section 15 of that law which says the vigilante Service Group shall carry dane guns, other guns and other light weapons that are commiserate with their duties and responsibilities.”

He warned against condoning such group in Kogi state. Mr. Melaye said the group are already ‘killing people in Kogi.’

“This is how it started in Kano, it was not contained, it started ravaging. This is how Boko Haram started, this is how Sara Suka started. The senate will not fold our arms and close our eyes where a governor is equipping militia to wreak havoc on innocent citizens. As I speak to you, this group is already killing in every parts of Kogi state. There is record of killings in Okene, Adabi, Lokoja and this group are carrying AK-47 and pump actions openly in Kogi.

“This will now justify the reason why uniforms and hardwares are imported into Nigeria. It will now justify why military weapons and gadgets were addressed as sporting equipment for the purpose of illegal importation. The laws of Kogi state shall not override the constitution.”

Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, said the activities of Governor Bello is an indication of incapability of youth in government.

“Quite unfortunately it is Kogi again. Here we are at the Senate trying to make laws to enable the youth who can go to elections to be voted for and we are seeing a very youthful governor who is giving impression that we elders should continue to recycle ourselves. But I do know that the youth of Nigeria are ready.

“Having been a governor before, we were very circumspect about arming militants or arming youth because at the end of the day, even after you’ve left office, for you to retrieve that weapon. To hear that there is a law at all mentioning people to carry light weapons in a state is not only condemnable but must be looked into because Nigeria has been struggling with proliferation of arms. What is happening is almost like legalising illegality.”

Taraba senator, Emmanuel Bwacha, urged the federal government ‘to stop virtually everything and focus on security.’

“If we do not stop everything and face this matter, we will wake up one day and our country will not be there,” he said.

Magnus Abe (Rivers) called the attention of the senate to a similar group in his state.

“Mr. President as we all know, I have always been and I will remain an advocate of state policing as solution to the problems of this nation but for us to do this thing and do it well, we have to be careful.

“In my own state, Rivers, the state House of Assembly has just passed a law called the neighbourhood something bill and law provides for this people to carry arms, provides for them to take every order for the governor, makes all sorts of provisions and even provide for these corps members that even the Nigeria Police does not have. Mr. President, this problem is not just a Kogi problem, it is a Nigerian problem.”

Meanwhile, Victor Umeh (Anambra-APGA), said the vigilante group had been a success in his state. He urged the senate to limit the proscription of such parallel groups to states where they constitute threat to citizens.

“This is a very critical issue. It is very unfortunate that Kogi has been in the news for this abuse for some time now but it behoves on me to point out to this senate that vigilante service has worked in some parts of this country in helping to maintain peace in those states. Anambra is an example.

“It is important, while we condemn vigilante in some states, we have to commend them in places where it has worked effectively like in my own state.”

The senate mandated its committees on Security and Intelligence and Judiciary to invite the National Security Adviser to investigate the issue.

The committees are to also invite the Attorney-General of the federation with a view to disband this unconstitutional body.

The lawmakers however rejected an additional prayer to include Rivers state in its purview of investigation of the committees.

We Are Dying, Pay Our Salaries, Kogi Workers Cry

Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Kogi State, Onu Edoka has called on the governor Yahaya Bello to pay up workers and also look into the ongoing crisis in the appointment and controversial retirement of medical doctors in the state.

Workers in Kogi were paid 60 per cent of five months’ salary arrears last December and had yet to be paid January salaries.

Edoka, in a keynote address said, “Your Excellency, workers said I should ask you where our salaries are. As obedient servants, we are dying. As people who have contributed their quota in the development of the state and have left service, we are dying.

“To this end, we wish to compassionately appeal to you. We are aware that allocation came to Kogi State last month and by the statement of the Commissioner for Finance, what came as allocation to the state was put at N4.3bn while local governments got N3.8bn. But up until this moment, no salary has been paid in Kogi. Let our own not drop into River Niger again (sic).”

In his response, Governir Bello said that the ongoing fight against corruption across the country would achieve greater success if organised labour strengthened itself and worked with the government to fish out corrupt officials.

Edoka equally used the forum to speak on the alleged premature retirement of some workers, proscription of labour unions and the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by medical doctors in the state.

He said, “You will agree with me that appointment in this government has been upside down in the sense that junior workers are placed above seniors.

“Medical doctors in Kogi have been on strike for over one month. Mothers, children are dying at home. For this obvious fact, we appeal to the state government to call our doctors to a meeting and bring this mater to an end.

“Why the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have not joined the strike is because we have come to the realisation that strike may not be the solution to our problems any more. It is all about the person who is the chief executive and his state of mind on the development and welfare of workers.

“The proscription of unions in Kogi is completely detrimental to the progress of democracy, unacceptable to the Nigeria Labour Congress and completely illegal, and we shall not stand by it”.

Bello Promises To Make Kogi ‘Holland Of Nigeria’ Through Cattle Colonies

At a time thatvmany states have refused to go along with the Federal Government’s Cattle Colony agenda, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has pledged to make the state be the Holland of Nigeria in terms of dairy milk production and other livestock products for other states to patronise.

Bello made the promise at the Kogi State Agriculture Summit, tagged: “Moving Agriculture To The Next Level”, on Friday in Lokoja, as part of activities to mark his two years in office.

“In Holland, everyone knows that Holland produce more than a quarter of dairy milk and meats for Europe and America.

“Kogi will be the Holland of Nigeria where every other state in Nigeria will come and buy milk and other dairy products.

“They will also buy meat, hides and skin, bones, horns and even cow faeces for manure, which will translate into cash for our people.

“We are looking for opportunities to make money for our people.

“If you have a parcel of land that you are not using, what will happen is that the pastoralists will come and you rent it to them for money.

“Our youths and women will learn how to breed and keep these cows as well.

“And what will happen is that we shall have hire cross breed cows that will produce more milk and high quality meats where other states can come and buy,” Bello said.
Bellp refuted allegations that he was biased in favour of Fulani herdsmen, saying,“They said I am friend to Fulani herdsmen and hate farmers, but they are all falsehood on the pages of newspapers and television.

“We are telling the people that we are tolerant in Kogi, we love our neighbours and seizing and maximising the best of every opportunity.

“Very soon we will tell our Fulani brothers not to take their cows across border to sell again.

“We will ask them to drop their cows in Kogi, and we will rent your land to them to stay.

“A land where people can come and buy, pay tax to government and they will settle the land owners.

“That your land that is there and not generating anything will become a hot cake.

“These are the various benefits we will derive from our coexistence with Fulani herdsmen.

“This is the way we are going to go; in the next six months we shall begin to see the economy of Kogi transforming very rapidly.

“The Federal Government and international agencies are bringing money, grants to Kogi to support livestock production, including keeping these cows in form of ranches in one particular area with facilities called ‘cattle colonies’”.

The governor restated his determination to support President Muhammadu Buhari in implementing his manifestos as far as revolutionary in agriculture was concerned.

He charged youths to forget yhe era of “free money”. “We must return back to farm. Let us key into various programmes of this government, especially in agriculture, he said. “All that is required is your interest and the land… You own your land, we shall give you fund, farm implements and create the market for you, what else are you waiting for?

“Why can’t we tolerate our Fulani bothers and sisters who have lived with us for a very long time? And you want them to leave now to go where?

“We have to be tolerant, we have to tolerate one another, it is out of tolerance that we gathered here today.

“We develop the culture of tolerance by accommodating one another.

“Hold on to your land, we will teach you how to use it judiciously to make huge money in the state; our land is our oil wells that can never dry,” Bello said.

Kogi Government To Empower 99,000 Farmers

The Kogi Government has promised to empower at least 99,000 smallholder farmers across the state in pursuit of its food production and agribusiness policy.

This was made by known by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, at the monthly meeting of the Core Delivery Team (CDT) of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) in Lokoja.

The meeting was organised by the SPA in collaboration with Synergos Nigeria.

Oloruntoba said that the beneficiary farmers in 2018 would be those who engaged in the production of food and cash crops, including cassava, rice, fishery and poultry.

He said that the state had keyed into the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost food production and develop the agricultural sector.

He said the state’s agricultural sector was expected to generate about N22.05 billion, 15 percent of this year’s budget of N147 billion.

The commissioner said that all the sub-sectors of the agricultural sector in the state were expected to contribute to the success of the programme.

Oloruntoba urged farmers to change their attitude toward farming, saying: “We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results; attitude is everything.’’

He emphasised the need for representatives of the ministry in the CDT to always allow the knowledge they gained at the various meetings to trickle down to other members of staff.

He said that in 2018, the government would establish four prototype cassava peels processing factories in different locations across the state to produce animal feeds.

“This is an initiative that we borrowed from Synergos Nigeria and we intend to replicate it across the state. So, we are planning to execute many programmes in 2018.

‘‘We thank Synergos for their intervention and pledge to do more; we look forward to better a collaboration,” he added.

Speaking, Synergos Country Director, Mr Adewale Ajadi, said that there was high demand for poultry and fish feeds processed from cassava peels.

Ajadi, who was represented by Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Field Manager for Kogi, Benue and Kaduna States, thanked the state government for its policies and programmes on agribusiness and its interest in smallholder farmers.

Participants at the meeting gave an account of their various ministries, departments and agencies in their efforts to move the agricultural sector forward.

 

Bello: We’ve Borrowed N10bn To Pay Salary

The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on Friday disclosed that his administration resorted to borrowing N10bn before it could clear four-month salary areas before the last Christmas.

He said the loan was added to the over N1.2bn that accrued to the state from Paris Club refund as well as the state’s November and December allocation before the feat could be achieved.

The governor spoke in an interview with State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “In Kogi State today, we are up to date as far as salary is concerned. In December, Mr. President magnanimously assisted us with another tranche of Paris Club refund. Our own figure was N1.2bn and some other change on top.

“We didn’t just stop at that, we borrowed up to N10bn and we added November/December allocation to our figures and we were able to clear four months at a stretch before Christmas and some leftover were cleared before this January in Kogi State.

“As you all know the salary was very bogus and according to the figure we had we were able to distribute it among these months. So glory to God as far as Kogi State is concerned.”

From January however, the governor said workers in the state would be earning salaries based on the number of times they are present at work.

“Moving forward from this January, we have decided that we are going to make use of our clock-in device for every civil servant in Kogi State-both at local and state levels.

“So, as you come to work and clock-in, that is exactly how your salary will be generated. It is online, it is automated so nobody is going to cheat anybody.

“That is how we are going to go in the state. So, Kogi State civil servants and pensioners are all happy with this administration. Thanks to God and Mr. President for this magnanimity,” he said.

The governor also claimed that his administration had worked so hard on the security situation in the state to the point that no case of kidnapping or armed robbery has so far been recorded in November, December and January.

“The security operatives are collaborating with us, we are spending a lot on security.

“So collaboration between the security agencies and understanding by the people, they are giving us a lot of information and we are treating them with utmost secrecy and we are working harmoniously together.

“The Fulanis in Kogi State are equally collaborating with us. Even the criminal elements amongst them, they are the ones even apprehending them and handing them over to the security agencies. So we are living very harmoniously with the Fulani herdsmen, farmers and the citizens.

“Travelers are safe day and night because anywhere you go, you see security operatives and we have even vigilantes, hunters that are equally assisting us in our farms and so many other deserted areas. So Kogi is very safe,” he claimed.

On the 2019 general elections, Bello recalled that his state has already endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for second term.

He boasted that the state would return a number of votes that will dwarf that of the President’s home state, Katsina.

Governor Bello, Let Common-Sense Prevail

By Hussain Obaro

SIR; These past days, the internet and social media have been awash with news and pictures of the newly built mansion of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State in his home town of Okene. Some news platforms have alleged that the expensive house is worth billions of naira, while others have described it as an architectural masterpiece of the century.

The question I asked some of the governor’s critics is: when and how has it become a sin for a sitting governor to build a house? If a similar house was built by a performing governor, would it have attracted the kind of reaction, condemnation and bashing that the palatial mansion has received so far?

It has since dawned on me that it isn’t really about the house, which some persons have described as a heaven on earth, but the timing, the funfair, extravagant ceremony and the unnecessary flaunting of the magnificent edifice by the governor’s praise singers and clueless appointees who go about posting and celebrating the mansion as if it is a sort of a dividend of democracy and a gift to the people of Kogi State.

Common-sense demands that since the governor is doing little or nothing to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses of Kogi State, he would stop doing things that will further increase their pain and frustrations. Erecting a gigantic multi-million naira mansion and rubbing it on the faces of the hungry masses is tantamount to dancing on the graves of those who have lost their lives to accidents while travelling to participate in the more than one year screening exercise that the administration embarked upon with no tangible result to show for it. It insults the patience and sensibilities of the workers who have endured hunger and humiliation as a result of the hardship imposed on them by the Yahaya Bello administration.

The families of those who have committed suicide as a result of the economic hardship in the state wouldn’t smile at the mansion whenever they walk past it. Aside the fact that many of the governor’s appointees have allegedly become so rich that they are also building mansions of their own in choice areas across the state and beyond. The only thing they seem to be good at is haul insults at constructive critics, using gutter and garage languages. It is said that a sensible leader selects the best of the best and empower them to deliver on set goals and objectives.

Our dear governor, you were not wrong to have built a house of your own in your home town, but the timing was wrong and so was the funfair and publicity it attracted. It makes no iota of common-sense that while President Muhammadu Buhari was away in Kano State commissioning state-of-the-art hospitals, roads and factories that has the capacity to employ more than 5000 unemployed, you were commissioning your mansion amidst hungry and poor Kogites.

Hussain Obaro,
Lokoja, Kogi State.

Murder: Kogi Govt Imposes Curfew In 5 LGA’s

A 24-hour curfew has been imposed by the Kogi State Government in five Local Government areas in the central Senatorial Districts of the State. Although there was no reason for the action, sources said it was not unconnected to incessant brutal killings in those areas.

 

Recall that recently, a labour leader was killed in cold blood alongside his friend after observing his evening prayers.

 

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State governor Petra Akinti Onyegbule says the affected local government areas are Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okehi, Okene, Ogori/Magongo Local Government Areas.

 

The statement urged residents to comply to the directive as anyone who runs foul would have themselves to blame.

 

She said that “This curfew will last for 24 hours and it is absolute. No movement whatsoever shall be allowed.

 

“Government regrets every inconvenience this might cause and assures citizens and residents this decision has been taken in the best interest of the state.”

 

 

Kogi: Dino Melaye’s Sour Grapes

By  Bayo Eniojukan

The real and behind-the-scene motives for the unrelenting mischief by well-known enemies of the people of Kogi State should be obvious to all thinking people. Because the present administration in the state has blocked entrenched interests from feasting on the commonwealth and is embarking on efforts to develop all the sectors of socio-economic life of the people, it becomes very understandable that the mouth of detractors who had failed woefully in the past should be filled with sour grapes.

Because of the yawning developmental gap left between what was and what is now, it has not been easy for the people who were responsible for the state of hopelessness into which Kogi State and its citizens had been dumped, to accept the reality that, at last, the day of reckoning has come. Or that, indeed, a Daniel had come to judgment.

It is no longer news that as the result of the clamour of people from different walks of life, against the unrestrained bazaar that was the key feature of the last two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in the state, that Governor Yahaya Bello had set up a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the mess that was the last two administrations. After open sessions, the panel arrived at the decision that sundry interests who were working in concert with the key elements in the former administrations were indicted.

It was further discovered that in spite of losses of such huge sums of money through various forms of looting, nothing much was left on the ground to justify that grand rape of the long-suffering people of Kogi State. If anything, the people inherited monuments of abandoned and uncompleted projects and HUGE LOANS TO SERVICE.

It is no wonder that as a way of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people, these shameless detractors who obviously have a lot of explanations to make to the Kogites, have instead, hired a well known rabble-rouser to tar the present administration in the same putrid hue in which they had wallowed in their 12 uninterrupted years of despoliation of Kogi State.

It is in that light that the recent ridiculous attempt by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), leveling all manners of tendentious allegations against the Yahaya Bello administration, should be seen.

It is needless to state that from the mediocrity of the presentation of ‘situation report’ of the happenings in Kogi State on the floor of the Senate, it was obvious that the lawmaker lives in the gutters and is just desirous of dragging everybody else into his natural habitat.

No one should be surprised at Melaye’s reference to the people of his home state as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). He is a product of a discredited National Assembly where distorted personalities flourish unchallenged. Melaye as a Senator has never shown he is a robust adult thirsting for challenge and rigor. He trivializes serious issues with his nonsense and tomfoolery.

This is a lawmaker who knows nothing other than ostentatious consumption of goods in a manner that proves the anger of the poor Kogi people who voted him into office. On so many occasions, Senator Dino mocks at the very electorate that put him in office. He flaunts his exotic cars and jeeps to impress his poverty ravaged voters. Wouldn’t we be impressed if this “Distinguished Senator” had used his wealth to promote social causes and other philanthropic activities? Are the politician’s achievements determined by the number of exotic cars and jeeps he has acquired while in office, or by how many lives he touched?

Another obvious evil goal of the beer-parlor allegations against Governor Bello is to create the impression, that the current administration in the state is incompetent, as the day of reckoning for his recall from the Senate becomes imminent. There is, however, no doubt that attempts to erect such red-herrings would collapse.

It is also a matter of fact that in the affairs of governance, perception by the different levels of the governed often translates to the reality which they internalize. The detractors of the present government in Kogi State know this and that is why they are taking these diets of evil concoctions to the court of public opinion, knowing that the public is often gullible and would want to believe the worst about their leaders. It is, therefore, understandable and excusable that the state government usually takes equal space used by the detractors to publish their concoctions to refute them. It was a good information management strategy which tries to target the same audience at which the dangerous false allegations were targeted.

But rather than devote time and resources in responding to scoundrels like Senator Dino, whose stock in trade is scooping mud and throwing at people, what Governor Yahaya Bello and his handlers should do at this time is to ignore Dino and continue its good work, for the people, cognizant of the fact that the people are not fools and are aware of the great changes that are taking place before their very eyes.

Kogites are intelligent and discerning people who have watched governments come and go, and are, therefore, able to make comparisons. The people have been able to differentiate between administrations that have treated them with disdain from those who have taken their interests to heart and respected their feelings deeply enough as to have routinely consulted them to ascertain our feelings and listen to our heartbeats.

Yes, one must admit that the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State is definitely human and is bound to make mistakes and should, therefore, be given the opportunity to correct them.

It is important to call on all well-meaning people of Kogi State to come together and ensure that his detractors and unrepentant opposition elements that are hiding under Senator Dino are not allowed to succeed. Similarly, Governor Bello should continue his good work and by ensuring that the looters of the past are compelled to vomit their loot, in accordance with the prescriptions of the different judicial panels of inquiry so that the hapless civil servants can be paid all their entitlements at once!

While I am not trying to rationalize the owing of Kogi workers’ salaries, it must be said that Governor Bello is among the few governors who have committed to a reduction of its operating costs, including significantly slashing its overheads while freeing up more resources to meet his obligations to workers and to bridge the gap in the state’s infrastructural deficit.

It must be understood that as things stand, only four states; Kano, Katsina, Rivers, and Lagos can meet their recurrent expenditure obligations without resorting to borrowing or tapping from donor funds and extra-budgetary sources.

Official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that in 2016, thirty (30) states reviewed; minus Lagos State generated N515.61 billion internally generated revenue, which is one-third of the N1.479 trillion they spend on workers remuneration annually. So, Kogi State is not alone in this mess.

What should Yahaya Bello do? He should continue in the same proactive and transparent way he has been running the state affairs, working to improve tax collection efficiency and realign budgeting with statewide plans.

It is for the honest and ordinary Kogites to make the accurate assessments that would winnow the wheat from the chaff. The good people of Kogi State must continue to consign senseless allegations made by Senator Melaye to where they belong- the dustbins!

After all, one could allege to a blind man that there is oil in the food, but you cannot lie to him that there is salt, when there is none. Let all Kogites as well as the other Nigerians whom the detractors in Kogi State are trying to confuse learn to dismiss the fake allegations against the current administration in the Confluence State for what they are: futile efforts of drowning men who had betrayed their trust by the people they were supposed to govern well, to grab at any manner of straws.

It is important to note, as Governor Bello has consistently warned of the need for vigilance to ensure that that Kogites do not allow the inordinate ambition of other people to becloud our peaceful atmosphere and vision. Should a word not be enough for the wise people
of Kogi State?

Gov Yahaya Lash Out, Only The Blind Won’t See What We Are Doing

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, says it is only those who are blind that are saying he has not done enough to promote tourism in his state.

Speaking in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, the governor said his administration is doing its best to ensure security.

He was asked: “What will you say you are not doing enough to promote tourism in your state?”

Responding, Bello said, “It’s only those who are blind that will not see what we are doing… Before you attract tourists to your state, you have to secure it.

“There must also be infrastructure. All these are being taken care of as we speak… Investors are coming in in their numbers. They are so many that are coming. It’s not out of place to say they see that the place is secure.”

Bello said he met with the president to brief him on the happenings in Kogi. He said the state was very stable, except for a “few Diaspora politicians that are making noise in the media”.

He asked the people of the state to be patient with him because “things are hard generally”.

“The only thing is that the good people of Kogi state should continue to be patient with this government. Things are hard generally and we are trying our best, and that is why we are transparent in everything that we do. I’m sure you are aware of the periodic publishing of our accounts, very soon we are going to publish all the salaries that we have paid to workers since inception in newspapers for people to see it. All the noise about Kogi not paying salaries will be in public domain,” he added.

He described workers of the state who are on strike as political civil servants.

Some workers of the state are on strike owing to the failure of the government to pay them a backlog of salaries.

He said he was trying to keep up with the payment of salaries, but that the “economy is biting hard everywhere”.

“Those workers that are on strike are political civil servants; the real civil servants are coming to work. We are trying our best to keep up with the payment of salaries. There is no denying the fact that the economy is biting hard everywhere and you will recall that I met four-month salary backlog, I cleared it and today we are keeping up to date. We are owing August and September as we speak,” he said.

“We are up to date in terms of salaries and those that come to work we shall pay them and those that don’t come to work, the no-work-no-pay rule shall surely apply.”