In the wake of pockets of crime and security challenges in parts of the state, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has restated his commitment to rid the state of criminals and reduce the incidence of crime to the barest minimum. In a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Petra Akinti Onyegbule, the Governor expressed genuine concern over the incident, stressing that criminals can never have a conducive environment in Kogi State.
According to the statement, Governor Bello has yet again shown leadership by paying a visit to the crime point to condole with the Nigeria Police and the families of Sergeant Nurudeen Audu Richman, Inspector Oga Festus and Mallam Sadiq Salawu, two police officers and a community leader who fell to assailants in Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA.
The unfortunate incident which occurred on Thursday, February 9th, is currently being investigated for possible connection to a Boko Haram affiliate group reportedly embedded in the state for several years now.
In recent times, effective crime fighting and prevention methods have drastically reduced the spate of armed robberies and high profile kidnappings in Kogi, which used to be a source of funding for these terrorists. Consequently, they have now resorted to random kidnappings, relying on small ransoms they demand for their unfortunate victims.
"But because the lives of all Kogites and residents in the state are sacred under my watch, we do not intend to rest on our laurels. My team in consonance with the security agencies in the state will stop at nothing to make Kogi crime free, irrespective of who is directly affected."
Calling on members of the public to remain vigilant and continue to partner with law enforcement by availing them of any useful information they may have, Governor Bello seized the opportunity to remind Kogites of their important role in crime fighting as the need to ensure security is everyone's business.
"The strong conviction of my administration about the importance of combating crime at community level explains the ongoing training and strengthening of local vigilante groups. Adequate vigilance in our immediate neighbourhoods and communities will make it that much tougher for terrorist cells and any other form of criminal enterprise to take root."
While appreciating the Federal Government for its very strategic role in ensuring calm and stability in the state, including deploying the military whenever the need arises, Governor Bello appealed that those efforts be consolidated on, especially given the strategic geographical position of the state.
"Considering the strategic position of Kogi State as a major transit route in the country, and as the most interconnected of all the 36 states, effective policing and crime control in the state will have a positive ripple effect in neighbouring states and the country at large. Crucially, it will help prevent the spread of Boko Haram as their fighters flee from the northeast where they have suffered crushing defeat at the hands of federal forces."
To buttress the importance of keeping the state safe, the Governor also visited the training ground of the Kogi State Vigilante Service where he congratulated trainees on their selection and prepared their minds for the task ahead. Governor Bello issued reminders about the nexus between security and economic development, stating that his New Direction vision will be a lot easier to achieve if lives, property and investments in the state are safe and secure.