By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
The Murtala Yakubu Ajaka campaign organization has said that despite the overwhelming evidence proving violence and political victimization against the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his supporters in Kogi State, the Governor Yahaya Bello has continued to mislead the public on the reality of the situation.
This was stated in a statement signed by Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Director- Communications, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka Campaign Organization and made available to newsmen in Lokoja on Monday.
The statement reads in part:
“Our attention has been drawn to reports in the media declaring supporters who were refused bail by the Court of Appeal as “thugs”linked to our candidate.
“It is trite law that anyone standing trial for any offense whatsoever is presumed innocent until proven otherwise and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“We are therefore shocked that some traditional media of communication succumbed to getting misled by the desperate government of Mr Bello and his security hatchet-men to declare innocent citizens as criminals to prejudice their trial.
“In the course of time it shall be clear from evidence that these persons were law abiding citizens seized on their way from Ajaka to Abuja by agents of Mr Bello with the connivance of certain security personnel and quickly branded as “bandits” and ” kidnappers”.
“Unfortunately the Directorate of State Security ( DSS) spokesman, Mr Peter Afunaya declared these persons who were all presumed innocent before the law as “criminals”.
“Among the persons prejudicially convicted by Afunaya and a section of the media are a retired senior military officer and a senior member of the Ajaka Campaign Organization, Colonel Suleiman Babanawa and a lawyer of over 15 years at the bar, MK Aminu Esq.
“Curiously Mr Bello who appropriated the power of his office to frame these gentlemen for arrest eagerly welcomed the same Col Babanawa to his home in Abuja on June 26, 2023 three months after the orchestrated arrest and media trial.
“His media handlers celebrated this visit and released pictures to the public claiming that the Colonel had dumped Ajaka and endorsed his candidate, one Usman Ododo who is the APC Flagbearer.
“What manner of Governor welcomes a “bandit” and “kidnapper” with pomp and ceremony?
“More than anything else this goes to reinforce our position that Mr Bello is in the business of framing up political opponents as “criminals” and then shamelessly turning around to celebrate them when he thinks they are on his side.
“More supporters of Ajaka who he considers the albatross of his misrule have been targeted to be tagged as “criminals” as Mr Bello continues his maximum abuse of power against law abiding citizens.
“But even while these shenanigans continue, his thugs led by the Chairman Dekina LGA Mr Ishaq Shaibu Okolo destroyed the SDP campaign office in Dekina Town today.
“This is the second time and SDP Office in Kogi State will be attacked and destroyed in less than on week.
“The first was the Kogi State Campaign Headquarters in Lokoja destroyed last Monday led by a senior Special Assistant in the Bello’s administration.
“Just like in the Lokoja case, Ajaka Campaign Organization has filed.a formal complaint on the attack on the Dekina Office to the Kogi State Police Command but unfortunately the Commissioner of Police, Mr Hakeem Adeshina Yusuf has taken no known action on the matter.
“We are dealing with a well organized desperate and perfidious scheme to repress citizens by using security agents to negatively tar them in the run up to the November 11, Governorship Elections and we call on Nigerians to take with skepticism every allegation emerging from Lokoja tagging supporters of the SDP as bandits, terrorists or criminals by whatever called,” the statement added.