An investigation into a petition written by the Natasha Akpoti Campaign Organization, and submitted to the Inspector General of Police and the Department of State Services, has unravelled the grooming of a militia group called the 'Bakassi Boys' by Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State, through the Sole Administrator of Okehi Local Government Area, Ohiare Abdulraheem.
The investigation revealed that the militia group, known as 'Bakassi Boys', are about 50 in number, and imported into Kogi Central. Some Ebira boys who are in charge of showing them the terrain are currently lodged at the Okehi Local Government Administrator's Quarters, as well as that of Adavi Local Government Area.
According to the investigation, the group has been responsible for renewed political violence, intimidation and attacks on perceived opponents of the state government in Kogi Central. The investigation also showed that the activities of the 'Bakassi Boys' in Ebira land is not only undemocratic, but a threat to societal peace and development.
A source in the senatorial district, who preferred not to be named, said: "It has become necessary to call on the Nigerian Government to rescue Ebira people from the evil of the group the state government is breeding, before it turns to another Boko Haram situation."
Questioning the rationale for the state government to empower a militia group, the source said if the Yahaya Bello administration had no ulterior motive, it should have empowered security agencies such as the Police, Civil Defence, DSS, and soldiers to fight crime in the state, rather than camping the group in a secluded place without proper relationship between them and the other highly trained and respected security agencies.
"The unfolding event has shown that Governor Yahaya Bello is desperate to force his anointed candidate on the good people of Kogi Central and Kogi State in general, and he is using the overstayed local government administrators whom he instituted in the local government to perfect his anti-democratic actions and plans," he said.
"Kogi State government imported the 'Bakassi Boys' to Ebiraland to intimidate the opposition parties and cause electoral violence in the forthcoming general election to instill fear in the minds of the voters and Adavi and Okehi administrators are championing this evil cause. The government gave them four patrol vans to go round and cause problems in the land for their selfish interest. They are doing all these to create tension so that people will be scared to come out and exercise their franchise on the day of election.
"I believe power is given by God, but the reason they are so desperate is what I don't know. It is so pathetic that the government that is supposed to maintain peace and order in the society is the one fanning the embers of war. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to save Ebira people and dislodge the militia group. We have had enough crises in Ebiraland. 2007 political violence is still fresh in our memory and we wouldn't want a replay of the gory past."
It was gathered that the state government is funding the militia group and they are directly managed by the Okehi Local Government Administrator, Honourable Abdulraheem Ohiare, and the Adavi Local Government Administrator, Honourable Joseph Omuya Salami.
Speaking on the reason for the presence of the 'Bakassi Boys' in Kogi Central, Ohiare said the 'Bakassi Boys' are registered and approved by the government and people use them for personal security.
His words: "Bakassi Boys live in my GRA. GRA is Chairman's quarters; they are more than 50. They are private guards; you can even employ them to protect you. They are registered. We provided four hilux vehicles for them and they are funded by the state government. They are just like vigilante; theirs is better because they have charms on their body.
"They even protect me, so if someone said somebody is using thugs, every political party has thugs. Even PDP has."