Governor of Kogi state Yahaya Bello has vowed to bring the perpetrators behind the attacks on Oganenigu communities in Dekina Local Area of the state, to justice.
The governor gave the assurance when he led Heads of Security Agencies in the state for on-the-spot Assessment to Oganenigu communities on Tuesday.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, described the attacks as “barbaric though not very frequent in Kogi State”.
“His Excelkecy, the Governor frowns seriously at the attacks and has promised that the perpetraitors will be brought to book as always.
“As we speak, the military have been fully on ground from the very day that the incident happened, they have forestalled more casualties, and they will continue to be on ground.
“There will be more deployment of the Mobile Police and Anti Terrorism Squared that would also be on ground.
He assured that the SEMA team had taken stock to ensure quick intervention inform of palliatives to cushion the effect of the pains for the community.
“Kogi is proactive, we do not waste time in dealing with issues and challenges of our people.
“His Excellency directed that I should come here with the entire team with both the humanitarian and security aspects of it, do our findings so that we can find a lasting solution to it.
“These incidences may happen once in a very blue moon not a reoccurrence in Kogi, and even when it happens those who make it happen will not go scot free.
“There are some incidences in Kogi west and Central but in all of the incidences, all the perpetraitors were always brought to justice.
“That is the guarantee from His Excellency Gov. Yahaya Bello; you cannot come to Kogi, destroyed property, take lives and go scot free, you will pay for it,” he said
He added: “the governor has come to commiserate with the people of these communities because I am here to represent him and the entire heads of security agencies.
“That is what proactive security focused Governor does, and he will continue to be with the people in ensuring that their lives and property are secured.
“There are no details of the investigation yet, but it is left for the security agents to do their detailed investigation and we will get the perpetraitors and bring them to justice,”Onoja said.
Also speaking, the Police Commissioner, Kogi Command, CP. Akeem Yusuf, described the attack as “very unfortunate”.
”We have inspected and seen the extent of damage done. We will do our investigation to find out the significance issues involved in the matter and what remedy that can be put in place.
”I have discussed with the military Commander on ground here, and by tomorrow the Mobile Police from Dekina will join the military to be on ground,” Yusuf said.
The Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr Isaac Kolade, said the destruction was enormous, saying, ”over 50 houses were burnt and completely destroyed.
”The immediate next thing to be done is how to keep the displaced persons alive to help them with food items and other palliatives so that they can survive”.
Kolade said the IDP camps had been identified where they could locate the displaced persons to cater for them.
One of the Community Leaders; David Abimaje, said the attack was carried out by herdsmen on Sunday morning around 7am to 8am.
He noted that Oganenigu community comprised of 32 villages with no single police station, had witnessed several attacks by herdsmen.
According to him, the first attack happened in Edede village some years ago where all houses in the community were razed down and people were chased out of their ancestoral homes.
Abimaje added that the second attack was in Ojakpata village where houses and property were destroyed and two people lost their lives from herdsmen attack
”This particular attack has been rumoured and we alerted the security agents, and on Saturday some security agents came to this town and left after a while that same day.
”Only for the Fulani herdsmen to come and attacked us on Sunday between 7am to 8am in morning.
”By our records, eight people lost their lives in the Sunday attack including the APC Ward Chairman,”” Abumaje said.
Abimaje appealed to the Federal, State and Local Governments to come to the aid of their communities and put an end to incessant attacks by herdsmen.
”We are appealing to the Governor to facilitate the establishment of Military Forward Base that will oversee the security of the 32 communities in Oganenigu.
”No single Police Station in the whole of the 32 communities.
”We are calling on the government to come to our aid and save our live, property and ancestoral homes from fulani herdsmen.
The Kogi State Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja later led the delegation to a meeting with stakeholders, including leaders of Fulani herdsmen at the Palace of the Attah Igala and President of the Kogi State Traditional Council at Idah.
At the meeting, Chief Onoja made it clear that Government will not tolerate killing of people by any group whatsoever, stating that nobody is empowered by law to kill another person.
All the heads of the security formations in the state took turns to warn herdsmen against violence and criminality.
Also speaking shortly after the meeting, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications said Government has shown “responsiveness, responsibility and leadership”.
“When the Deputy Governor got to Oganenugu in Dekina LGA, you could see hope in the eyes of the people. They are comforted by the promptness of their own Government.
“Governor Yahaya Bello will continue to show leadership and all the action plans have been outlined by the Deputy Governor. We will go for dialogue but we won’t become soft target for violent-minded individuals.
“We will recalibrate our security architecture and raise it beyond the level of the criminals. We will also continue our security sensitisation. We will come out of this stronger”.