By Uche Amunike
The Kogi state government has asked that security agencies in the country should summon a Senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan, for questioning over alleged terrorism related activities.
Speaking, through a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, the state government said that even though the present administration has applied security interventions to rid the state of terrorism, politicians have continued to groom terrorists in the state and beyond and go as far as importing them from neighboring states.
The government alleged that Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan had shown her involvement in enough terrorism activities to warrant summoning her for questioning, especially with the case where the PDP and organizations linked to her had been asking for the release of an arrested terrorist, simply named Safiu.
Part of the statement read: ‘It is worrisome for the PDP that Natasha represents to come out openly to identify with Safiu, a terror suspect that is linked to the bloody attack on a church in Owo that led to the death of scores of worshipers.’
‘He is also linked to the dastardly attack on the Kuje Correctional Center as well as military formations within and outside of Kogi State.’
‘It was a thing of relief to the people of Kogi Central that security agencies were able to apprehend their Chief Tormentor. Criminality doesn’t know political party. A criminal is a criminal and should be treated as such.’
‘Prior to 2016, the Kogi Central Senatorial District was a terrorist den, with dangerous terrorist organisations having cells in the District and hundreds were maimed, many in broad daylight. The Government will not allow a continuation of the old order.’
‘The fact that they (PDP) claimed Safiu was their party member is an admission of strong links to him and his nefarious and deadly activities. As an administration, we are witnessing a surge in criminality in Kogi Central.’
‘Available data shows that Kogi Central today accounts for 51.2% of the total crime rate in Kogi State. With the billions of naira we have invested in strengthening our security architecture that has guaranteed peace in the state, we will not accept a revert to the days of bloodbaths.’
‘The Kogi State Government will not allow a marriage between terrorism and politics. Nigeria is doing everything possible now to win the battle against terrorism. Kogi State under Governor Yahaya Bello has won many awards in the area of security, the most recent being the one presented by the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in recognition of how the administration has turned one of the most dangerous states in Nigeria to one of the safest states today.’
‘We call on security agencies to arrest defenders of terrorists and ask them their levels of involvement. No matter how smart they think they are, they cannot beat our robust security architecture.’
It continued: ‘Security agencies are doing a great job in Kogi State and we commend them for that. To get to the root of the last vestiges of terrorism in Kogi Central, there is a need to invite Natasha Uduaghan and her husband as well as PDP party leaders in Kogi Central to explain the rationale behind their vociferous defence of an arrested terrorist.
‘Do they have a contract with some terrorist groups to destabilise the state? Are they afraid that Safiu and other arrested terrorists will expose their dirty and bloody deals? What do they know about some terror cells in Kogi Central? They need to provide answers.’
In reaction, Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan agreed to submit herself for questioning to men of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) for questioning, but requested that Governor Yahaya Bello must be invited as well. She stated that Safiu had been working with Governor Yahaya all the time, but just infuriated the governor by dumping the APC for PDP. She added, during an interview with Channels TV, Monday, in the presence of Fanwo, that the governor was merely conspiring to link her with terrorism.
Natasha Akpoti Uduaghan’s exact words: ‘I will like that the DSS invite me for questioning and they must also invite Yahaya Bello. And I will want the interrogation by the DSS (for both of us) to be televised. I don’t mind supplying the network for Channels, Arise, AIT and other stations interested.’
‘It is time for Nigerians to know the truth. All of this (allegation) is political and Yahaya Bello knows he’s going to lose. His government is going to lose.’