UPDATED: Bello ‘stoned’ in Lokoja for celebrating Kogi@25 while owing salaries
Confirming the incident to TheCable, a witness who observed the prayers in the same mosque as the governor, said the angry residents claimed that the governor had not paid them their salaries but was spending state funds on celebrations.
“The boys said he (Bello) had not paid their salaries, yet he is busy spending state money on Kogi at 25 celebrations,” the witness, who did not want to be named, said.
“Part of their grievances were tied to the forthcoming ‘Big Sallah’ People have no money to celebrate, and the governor and his boys are all over the place shouting Kogi at 25.”
He said business, even for drivers, had gone down, adding that the people took out the anger on him because he delayed Juma’at prayers at the central mosque.
The 25th anniversary celebration of the state kicked off at the central mosque on Friday, with the main celebration of the state’s heritage slated for Saturday.
‘BELLO NOT STONED…MISCREANTS WERE SPONSORED’
However, Kingsley Fanwo, Bello’s chief press secretary, said via a statement on Friday evening that the governor was not stoned.
“Our attention has been drawn to the unfortunate incident, which occurred after the Jumaat Prayer at the Lokoja Central Mosque to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the creation of Kogi State,” he said.
“It was discovered that some sponsored miscreants caused a mild drama as they were caught with stones while one of them attacked one of the security aides attached to the Government House shortly after the Governor departed the area.
“The gallant market women at the Lokoja Old Market accosted the perpetrators and stopped them from absconding from the scene in solidarity with the Governor.
“The Governor wishes to thank the market women and security agencies, who rose to the occasion to protect lives and property at the scene of the unfortunate incident.”
Fanwo said “no life was lost and no serious injury was recorded”.
“We can also confirm that arrests have been made and those arrested are already giving useful information to security agents investigating the politically-motivated attack at the Mosque.
“Governor Yahaya Bello has also urged his supporters to remain calm and not take the law into their hands, as he remains committed to the cardinal ideals of his administration.
“Imported and sponsored miscreants who have infiltrated the state from neighbouring states should know that Kogi is prepared to protect her citizens from desperate politicians who think they can turn the state to a war zone. The people of Kogi will be protected.
“We are not unaware of scheming by change resistors to sponsor attacks against government officials. The staff verification exercise has come to stay because it has exposed powerful forces, who have been milking the state dry. Sponsoring attacks against the Governor will not stop our march to restore sanity to the polity.
“The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello will soon publish the names of corrupt citizens of the state who are behind the Ghost Workers syndrome. Governor Yahaya Bello thanks the people of the state for standing resolutely behind his administration to restore the lost glory of the state.”