Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has called on ex-agitators from the Niger Delta to hold their leaders responsible for any lapses in the implementation of the amnesty program, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to developing the region.
Bello made the call on Wednesday in Abuja when he received members of the Ex-Agitators Forum from the Niger Delta at the Kogi Governors lodge in Abuja.
He urged members of the ex-agitators forum not to allow the political elites, who leverage on existing fault lines to sow seeds of division to thrive.
“Your agitation is not misplaced. I appreciate the spokesperson that spoke concerning the effort of our former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. President Buhari is doing his best as well to build on what is done by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Mr President cannot leave the villa and call each one of you and be administering the Amnesty one after the other,” Yahaya Bello said.
He said further that Nigeria could only be fixed if everybody, irrespective of ethnic origin, religious and political views, came together.
He also urged youths to resist being used in perpetrating criminal activities especially by those who do not have the interest of Nigeria but to stand up to become part of the leadership process at all levels.
He encouraged members of the group to get actively involved in politics as another better way to emancipate the Niger Delta Region.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has mourned the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, describing his death as shocking.
Attahiru and seven top military officers were killed on Friday when a military Beechcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.
Reacting, Governor Bello described the death of the COAS as a “colossal loss to Nigeria particularly at such a time when the country was confronting numerous insecurity challenges in different parts of the country.”
According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu, the governor said the ill-fated plane crash while on an official assignment to Kaduna.
While commiserating with the family, friends and associates of the late COAS, Bello described “Lt. General Attahiru as a hero who gave his all to the service of his fatherland and similarly died while attending to his duties.”
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has appointed a speech-impaired young man, Peter Aliyu, as his Special Assistant on Sanitation.
Aliyu, a former cleaner under the Geemoney Cleaning Scheme in Government House in Lokoja, continued his cleaning work without pay even when the company was said to have laid off all its staff.
He was among the 47 new appointees of the government whose appointments were announced on Wednesday last week in a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade.
According to the government, Aliyu’s appointment was borne out of the governor’s observation of his consistency, diligence, and dedication to work on daily basis at the Government House in the state capital.
Governor Bello, on the other hand, was said to have considered the appointee’s impairment to serve in his government as a means to enlist him and prove that there was ability in disability.
Recently, the governor gave special considerations to people with disabilities by engaging them actively in his government and signed bills that would enhance their welfare in the state.
Following the messages of hope six years ago, Nigerians massively voted for the APC government with the belief that things will get better.
The governor also spoke about the worsening insecurity in the country, calling on all Nigerians to collaborate in tackling the issue rather than politicising the security challenges.
While noting that banditry had been an issue in Nigeria even before the emergence of the APC-led Federal Government, Bello said his party is doing its best in ending the menace of bandits’ activities.
On the security situation in Kogi State, the governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to flushing out criminal elements.
According to him, Kogi remains the safest state in Nigeria, notwithstanding the recent attack that claimed the life of a commissioner and the abduction of a local government area in the north-central state.
He said, “I will reiterate that Kogi State is the safest state in Nigeria today. It doesn’t mean that there are no pockets of issues that we are grappling with.
“Like I always say, they will come in their numbers but they will never return back, especially the criminals. Yes, there are some notorious spots in the state.”
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has greeted Muslim faithful on the commencement of the 30-days Ramadan fasting, urging them to dedicate the season to pray fervently for the nation and respective states while they also engaged in good deeds and acts of Ibadah.
The Governor said this in a statement signed on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu after the citing of the moon which signified the commencement of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Governor Bello noted that a period like this which is globally revered should be utilised by Muslim faithful all across the nation to pray for progress and peace noting that when “Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of hell are locked up and devils are put in chains”
The Governor called on Muslims to devote more time to prayer and acts of charity as they similarly strived to improve their self-discipline, motivated by hadith.
He further admonished that this year’s Ramadan should be a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship, as followers of Islam were expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W).
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said his administration will not negotiate with criminals.
He stated this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“Anybody that is carrying rifles or arms against the state, they are criminals. I will not subscribe to negotiating with criminals,” he said.
“The issue of kinetic or non-kinetic, when criminals hold guns against the state, let us get them out. When people are ready, we should be able to provide succour for lawful Nigerians to have lawful employment.
“He who takes arms against the state as a result of joblessness should be dealt with decisively,” he added.
On the issue of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers in Nigeria who called off their strike on Wednesday, the Kogi governor said no amount has been fixed yet to compensate members of the union.
He also stressed the need for the traders to be compensated for their losses.
“The Amalgamated union crisis has been resolved and there are demands and one of the demands is compensation. As I speak to you now, there has not been any number or figure put forward or I have advanced to the Federal Government for compensation; it is just an agreement in principle that okay, we have heard you, please sheathe your swords, return back to your food supply.
“So, no figure has been ascertained at all. At least, there should be names, there should be police reports and worth of properties damaged and that has not been given to me by now.
“What Mr President has directed is that I should liaise with the police and other security agencies to ensure lives are secured and that extortion stops,” he added.
Governor Bello’s remarks come two days after members called off their industrial action, protesting what they described as incessant attacks on their members in the South and extortion by security agents on highways.
The members had blocked the movement of cattle and foodstuffs from the Northern part of the country to the South for almost a week.
Following the earlier strike, Governor Bello and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode intervened which led to the call off.
The governor also spoke concerning the COVID-19 vaccination exercise. He maintained that coronavirus is not a novel disease, adding that he believes in vaccinations, but warns everyone to be careful when taking any form of the vaccine.
He further reiterated the call by a significant number of persons asking him to run for President.
Governor Bello’s meeting with the President comes less than 24-hours after the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN) agreed to lift its ban on the supply of food to the southern part of the country.
The leadership of the unions took the decision following an extensive dialogue and deliberation with Governor Bello, at the state Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, on Wednesday.
The groups were led by the AUFCDN president, Mohammed Tahir, with former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode who was also in attendance at the meeting.
See below photos from President’s Buhari meeting with the Governor…
The AUFCDN President, Muhammad Tahir, said the strike was called off following the Federal Government’s promise to pay N4.75billion compensation, ensure the protection of its members and stop all forms of multiple taxation and intimidation from security officials on the highways.
“Yes, we have agreed to call off our nationwide strike. All the stakeholders and members of AUFCDN involved in our nationwide strike are glad; we achieved what we wanted to achieve.
“They agreed to pay the compensation and stop multiple taxations on Federal highways and allow us to engage in our business activities peacefully nationwide,” AUFCDN President said.
Tahir and chairmen of the union across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other critical stakeholders had earlier met with Governor Bello before another meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Governor Bello at the villa listed the demands of the union and noted that working with Fani-Kayode, he had been able to reach out to major stakeholders on both sides, as he insisted on the need for peace to reign.
He said the union had agreed to end the food blockade but insisted that their members must be protected anywhere they are in the country.
Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello says he handles insecurity in his state without necessarily seeking a solution by visiting the President in Abuja.
The governor who made the statement on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily stressed that he doesn’t pay lip service.
“The Nigeria Police that are in the country today are the same in Kogi State. The Army in the country is the same in Kogi State. All the law enforcement agencies we have in the country today are exactly what I have in Kogi State.
“So, when they provide such information, we act on it, we don’t pay lip service, we don’t pass buck, we don’t visit Abuja for solutions at all times. I don’t think there is any day I have ever visited Abuja for any solution. What I do is to sit down here and do my job,” the governor said.
Speaking further on security in the state, he added that stakeholders in the state collaborate with security agencies to analyse intelligence to forestall the breakdown of law and order.
“We are corroborating, the commissioner of police, my director (of) DSS, my Army commander, my naval commander, civil defense commander, we are corroborating and they are relating very well with the citizens, they connected to the people and leadership at all levels are doing their best starting from the community leaders, ward leaders, the local government chairmen, and leaders, youth leaders, market leaders, farmers and what have you. We are corroborating very well,” he added.
The governor also said there is a need for governors to collaborate and implement policies that will put an end to the farmers-herders crisis affecting parts of the country.
He said the national livestock transformation plan by the Federal Government should not be allowed to go down the drain.
“When the issue of livestock transformation was muted, it was first given the name Ruga. Ruga means a settlement of herders or livestock farmers.
“When it broke out in this country, it was politicised. That ‘Mr President wants to take our lands.’ I think, when we stop politicising every government policy and programmes, we will get it right,” the governor said.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by Michael Elokun and two others challenging the emergence of Mister Yahaya Bello as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 governorship election held in Kogi state.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Steven Adah on Thursday, the court held that the nomination of candidates is the duty of political parties and not that of members of any constituency.
The three-man panel of the court further held that the appellants never contested the governorship primaries and therefore lacked the locus to challenge the nomination of Mister Bello as the candidate of the APC.
Justice Adah, while affirming the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on the twentieth of March, 2018, said the appeal has become an academic exercise.
The appellants had asked a Federal High Court to declare that Governor Bello was not a qualified candidate having not been a registered voter in Kogi State.
According to him, political thuggery and use of ‘boys’ during elections was the order of the day in Kogi before he came into power but he “refused to play that kind of dangerous politics.”
“When I came on board, I inherited a state that was largely divided along several lines. For you to aspire to be anything politically in Kogi State then, you must have what we call ‘boys’ or thugs or touts and then use it to intimidate people during political dispensations.
“Once the political exercise is over, the so-called boys or thugs or foot soldiers would be abandoned and left to themselves and by that, they breed into something else or a hydra-headed monster that you will not be able to curb at the end of the day. There are several histories, records, and intelligence to that effect across the country.
“But I refused to play that kind of dangerous or unnecessary politics when I came on board. My ascension to the office is known to everybody across the world. I chose my path immediately and decided to deal with criminals irrespective of political affiliations by simply utilising the laws passed by the Kogi State House of Assembly and the existing security architecture,” he said.
He boasted that Kogi State “run an open-door policy,” widely embraced by the residents.
Speaking further on how he was re-elected governor on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, Bello said evidence abound to show that he won the election freely
“I won my election free and square. The police, the DSS, the military, and all law enforcement agencies have their facts. Don’t listen to the lies they peddle out there. When I see those things, I simply laugh and say how I wished they come to Kogi State to see for themselves.
“There was no time in my campaign that any of my supporters or followers goes into the destruction of billboards, signposts, or installations of the state government, before, during, and after the election. I can say this boldly.”
The governor also spoke concerning the case of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Woman Leader of Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Ochadamu Ward, Mrs Acheju Abuh who was killed by suspected political thugs after the election.
Abuh was burnt alive after the thugs invaded her house around 2.00 p.m. and poured petrol on the building before setting it ablaze.
Governor Bello assured that investigation is still going on into the incident and promised to follow-up the case till the end adding that findings will be made public.
Governor Yahaya Bello has reacted to calls for him to contest in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election noting that he is focused on delivering his mandate of developing Kogi State.
The governor said his administration’s ability to curb insecurity in Kogi State and massive youth empowerment has been attracting support leading to the calls for him to join the 2023 presidential race, a call he does not want to be distracted with.
Bello said this on Monday through his Chief Press Secretary, Nnogwu Sani Mohammed at the ongoing security and economic summit of the Northcentral Governors Forum in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
“Nigerians across all divide are calling on the Governor to run for the presidency in 2023 but His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is totally focused and committed to delivering the mandate given to him by the people of Kogi State to run for the second term.
“By January 27, 2021, he will be one year in office, that is for the second term, so he has a lot to do and he has a lot of time to spend with the people of Kogi State to deliver the dividends of democracy to them,” Mohammed said.
He, therefore, called for support to deliver his second term mandate of rebuilding Kogi State.
Bello said the issue of the 2023 presidency should not be put on the front burner and heat the polity and assured that he is focused on his mandate of improved security, economy, and youth employment.