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By Barrister Jibrin Okutepa

The cold-blooded murder of Kabir Bala alias Okwo by the security agencies at the instance of the Kogi State Government, as admitted by the Commissioner of Police Kogi State, is not only unconstitutional and unlawful, it is barbaric and inhuman and it portends grave danger to constitutional democracy in Nigeria.

Kogi State under Yahaya Bello has witnessed more political murders than any government before it.

It is a fact too notorious to be denied that the late Kabir Bala was used by Yahaya Bello to wreak political havoc in Kogi State during the 2019 governorship election in the State.

At least this is an admission in the statement issued by the police after the cold-blood murder of Kabir Bala in which the late Okwo was alleged to be responsible for the murder of Mrs Salome Abuh.

Despite the availability of this evidence and evidence of other crimes allegedly committed by the late Kabir Bala, Kogi State Government and security agencies were impotent and did not do anything to arrest and prosecute him where he will be afforded the opportunity to defend himself.

The allegations against Bala Kabir after he was killed have denied Nigerians the opportunity to hear his own story.

Kabir Bala became a “notorious criminal” only after he decided not to support the ambitions of Governor Yahaya Bello to impose his tribesman as one to succeed him. The Nigerian Constitution does not permit extrajudicial killings. That is what the security agencies acting at the instigation and instruction of the Kogi State Government have done.

Kogi State is in danger. Democracy in Kogi State is in danger. Everyone in Kogi and from Kogi lives in fear of state terrorism. Civil servants and public servants live in fear. The audacity of arrogant and thuggish governance in Kogi State has reached its crescendo. Those who claimed to be democrats must respect the freedom of choice of the people.

The cold-blooded murder of Kabir Bala must not be left uninvestigated. Those who aided and abetted his murder must not be allowed to go unpunished. If Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who now governs Nigerians as president was murdered when he was in opposition he would not have been sworn is as president of Nigeria. The time for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to demonstrate that he does not approve of State terrorism and political hooliganism going on in Kogi State is now.

Kogi state elders and politicians of all persuasions must rise to the occasion and tell Yahaya Bello not to abuse the privilege that God gave him to govern the state. People cannot be terrorized for their choices. Government is to protect lives and properties and not be allowed to exterminate people who hold contrary positions and then tagged them as criminals. If Kabir Bala was a criminal only a competent court of criminal jurisdiction can say so after due process.

That Kogi State Government in collaboration with security agencies murdered Kabir Bala in cold blood does not make it lawful and legal. Where the rule of law holds sways individual terrorist misconduct as exhibited in the unlawful murder of Kabi Bala cannot be tolerated and accepted. Political barbarism is not allowed in a democracy. I therefore call on the Federal Government to urgently set up high-powered judicial inquiries in political murders and assassinations in Kogi State. The time to act is now. Let us not allow lawlessness to continue in Kogi State.

 

J.S.Okutepa SAN.

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