By Abdulsalami Onimisi
The recent happenings in Kogi state call for concern. Most times, I wonder how things got to this level, especially in the Kogi Central senatorial district of the state. Some persons have elected to be against the people through the entrenchment of violence.
Politics remains the bane of the issues in Kogi central, with Natasha Akpoti at the height of it all. She has constituted herself as a principality that everyone in Kogi Central should defer to. For her, every other person can go to hell in the bid to actualize her political ambition.
Her penchant for violence is legendary, and she does not care about whose ox is gored. Her grouse is with the executive governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, who, since his assumption of office, ensured that acts of crime and criminalities were reduced to the barest minimum in the state.
Those of us conversant with the happenings in Kogi Central are amazed at the renewed onslaught by Natasha Akpoti on the people of Kogi Central. It was gathered that she has vowed to match the state governor word for word and violence for violence. And she has carried this threat to such an astronomical level.
Today, she has in her payroll scores of criminal elements that were once decimated from the state since Yahaya Bello came on board. Today, they have found their way back to the state under the scholarship of the almighty Natasha Akpoti. This is indeed a sad epoch in Kogi Central of Kogi state.
Most Nigerians might not know the fact beyond her face; you have a dreadful individual who has sold her soul to the devil in return for a plate of porridge. I would lay the blame at the doorstep of Gov. Yahaya Bello, whom I believe saw the handwriting on the wall, yet he refused to tame her for fear of being accused of witch-hunting.
And the result is what we see today in Kogi Central. She has gathered enough ground, so much so that it would take a miracle for her to be contained. She has armed criminal elements and continued to plunge Kogi Central into turmoil. I believe that she must have some influential persons behind her ignoble drive.
If that is not the case, how could one explain how she was able to secure the release of some criminal elements in detention and place them under her payroll. I fear that should Natasha Akpoti be allowed to continue in this fashion; we might wake up one day and realize that Kogi Central has been turned into a killing field.
This is the starkness of the reality on the ground. The state government must rise to this challenge and tame her in the best interest of the state because there is a tendency for the regime of violence in Kogi Central to spiral out of control into other parts of the state.
Have we wondered why some of those arrested for terrorist activities are from Kogi Central? It is most embarrassing and a shame to the people of Kogi Central. I know it is a challenge for the governor, who has been widely commended for his efforts at addressing security challenges in the state since 2016.
The gains recorded in this regard are on the verge of being reversed. This would come with attendant effects on the security of lives and properties. Innocent women and children won’t be spared from the madness perpetuated by Natasha Akpoti and her cronies. For them, the only way to actualize their political ambition is to terrorize the people and cow them into submitting to their whims and caprices.
The Kogi state government must rise to the challenge. It must devise ways to contain the Natasha Akpoti threat in Kogi Central. Her atrocities have reached an alarming level. Maybe the overarching strategy is to cause a monumental embarrassment to the Iberia nation. It might also be that she is acting the script of some vested interest bent on extracting their pound of flesh from the governor for daring to tread the path that no previous administration dared.
In all of these, I do not see how she can be tamed if decisive actions are not instituted. Let’s make no mistakes: Kogi Central is in turmoil. Natasha Akpoti has gone berserk: her way or the highway. She has bragged to people in the know of happenings in Kogi Central.
How the governor intends to address the Natasha Akpoti threat is left to be imagined. Whatever the case, it must be done in good time to save Kogi Central from implosion. The governor of Kogi state must realize that the world is watching the events emanating from Kogi Central with utmost disbelief.
Human lives must not be sacrificed on the altar of political ambition. I dare say that the quantum of arms and ammunition in circulation in Kogi Central is alarming. The security agencies must be aware of this fact and act in good time before Natasha Akpoti and her cronies turn Kogi Central into a killing field.
Her accusation of Yahaya Bello as a sponsor of Boko Haram in the state is laughable and an insult to our sensibilities. Natasha Akpoti must, as a matter of necessity, desist from her ways and allow peace to reign in the state. Lessons from the Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria are still fresh in our memories. We cannot afford such a precarious situation. Natasha Akpoti must realize that she won’t escape the people’s wrath at the end of the day.
It might be convenient for her today, but tomorrow, it won’t. The stakeholders in Kogi Central must join forces to call her to order. A word is enough for the wise.
Onimisi is a public affairs analyst based in Lokoja