By Yinka Ajayi
Two events occurred in Ondo State, South west, Nigeria, with equal weight on the people. The mob attack in the country home of the ex- Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Kingsley Kuku. Kuku in the recent past, has received plethora bruises from the onslaught against him by political foes who wears the clone of the Federal government.
Kuku, on the wake of this crude attack, had accused the Federal government of prosecuting him for no reason. Kingsley Kuku’s 84-year-old mother, who lives in Arogbo is still in a state of shock. Well meaning Nigerians, home and in the diaspora have since condemned the unfortunate attack in strong terms. To this end, the Arogbo Ijaw National Front and the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the security personnel to order and stop harassing their son. Recall that no fewer than 25 armed policemen from the Force Headquarters, Abuja had invaded and ransacked Kuku’s residence at Arogbo, in the riverine area of Ondo State.
The lives of Kingsley’s immediate family and 84-year old mother under fear and danger. It was indeed a great embarrassment and ugly surprise as men of Nigerian police broke the gate with sophisticated equipment, and gained entry into the compound, vandalized all the doors in the house, and ransacked all the rooms unaccompanied by anybody.
While this unfortunate operation lasted, some of the Policemen shot sporadically into the air which made many people scamper into safety. The squad, led by a Superintendent of Police, Sunday Alli, claimed to come from the Inspector General of Police Tactical Squad, for Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, and Gun-running. One wonders if this team did any background or facts check before proceeding on a journey to Arogbo, a peaceful community of mainly fishermen and women.
It is worrisome if our country has degenerated to a level where innocent citizens are being harassed, intimidated and framed up on daily basis, while criminals and perpetrators of other heinous activities walk about freely. The people, however, are of the opinion that this act of intimidation is part of the present administration’s plan to persecute Kuku who is perceived as a strong political force in the opposition party.
We must not, as a people, shy away or be intimidate from saying that Kingsley Kuku deserves our commendation for a meritorious service to Nigeria, not condemnation or harassment as it’s been done by agents of government under the guise of political opposition. He’s been a great ambassador of Ondo State and Nigeria at large, wherein he epitomises focus, patriotism, sense of mission and above all, honesty and prudence in the management of public funds. Nigerians are of the conviction that Kuku is an exemplary public servant based on his conduct and approach to public service, which are sufficiently impressive enough and therefore worthy of recommendation to others.
The testimonies are many. We continue to thank Kingsley Kuku from taking our youths away from the creeks to foreign schools. We thank Kingsley Kuku for educating hundreds of youths from Ondo State in the best schools across the globe. We are grateful to Kingsley Kuku for ensuring that the Presidential Amnesty programme has ensured a lasting peace in the Niger Delta region of the country.
We cannot but appreciate the efforts of the Amnesty Programme under Comrade Kingsley Kuku which in turn ensured that the economic mainstay of our nation was revitalised through optimum production in the oil industry as made possible by the peace that the Amnesty programme had returned to the Niger Delta.
These and more are the reason we must rise up and speak up against the ongoing attempts by some politically induced elements to tarnish the growing popularity and success of this great Nigerian through physical abuse, molestations and frivolous petitions and media trial over alleged mismanagement of funds under the Presidential Amnesty programme.
The people’s admiration for Kingsley Kuku is not because he is a saint. Every human is fallible after all. Kuku is popular admired because he saved Nigeria from the anger of the aggrieved youths of the Niger Delta.
He nurtured young Nigerians into forces to be reckoned with. He listened to the voice of the masses to surrender his personal ambition at the most critical moment. The robust peace and stability in the Niger Delta today is premised on his commitment to development and prudence. Anybody, any cabal, any activist, attempting to humiliate Kuku must have us to contend with. If anyone thinks that bringing down Kuku is his project, that mission will not only crash, but will boomerang, as Nigerians would resist same.
These are strong reasons to back our claim that the Amnesty Programme under Kuku was never involved in any corrupt practices such as mismanagement of fund as claimed by these detractors. In truth, Comrade Kingsley deserves to be applauded even by those misguided elements who now see the Amnesty Programme as their next target for reasons that are far from being noble.
A country cannot fold its arms and watch a great citizen as Kuku being destroyed by political opportunists. And that is the more reason well meaning citizens have spoken loudly against these needless attacks.
Director of Publicity of PDP in Ondo State, Ayo Fadaka, has since condemned the incident. He said every attempt by the APC-led government to gag and silence leading opposition figures will fail and would be restricted through all legal means. Fadaka berated the security agencies for allowing themselves to be used as a tool by the APC government in persecuting opposition figures.
The member representing Ilaje/Ese Ondo Federal Constituency, Ondo State in the National Assembly, Honourable Kolade Victor Akinjo has condemned the yesterday invasion of the country home of the former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku by men of the Nigeria Police led by a Superintendent of Police, Sunday Alli, who claimed to come from the Inspector General of Police Tactical Squad.
This reaction is coming after being briefed by the surprised and angry community people about the armed men storming the Arogbo home of the ex-presidential adviser, shooting sporadically to scare people and the occupants of the house away, one of who is the 84-year old matriarch of the Kuku’s family.
The surprised Honourable member said It was a great shock and surprise to receive several calls from his constituents, that armed policemen and other plain clothed men in scores stormed one of the towns in the constituency, Arogbo.
In his words, Akinjo said “while efforts were on to know what and what, we later found out the invasion was directed at the country home of one of the leaders of the Federal constituency. They scared his immediate family away, his aged mother scampered into safety as they break his gate to gain entry into the compound, vandalised all the doors in the house, ransacked all the rooms unaccompanied by anybody. This is a sad one in a democracy”
Going further, Hon. Akinjo said while the operation was ongoing, he placed a call to the Ondo State Police Commissioner, who denied knowledge of the operation. ” but how can operation be carried out by those who claimed they are from the Inspector General of Police Tactical Squad, for Armed Robbery, Kidnapping and Gun-running, without the knowledge of the police chief of the state and without a search warrant too?”, Akinjo asked.
This incident should be thoroughly investigated by the authorities charged with protection of lives, properties and rights of Nigerians. We have put more than enough energy and resources in place to achieve this peaceful Niger Delta we see today, so It is worrisome, if it is our security operatives that will want to degenerate it back to a hostile environment by terrorising peaceful communities., Akinjo said.
The lawmaker representing Ese-Odo constituency at the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Vincent Obadiah has petitioned the Inspector General of Police and Ondo State Commissioner of Police over Police invasion of Arogbo community in Ese-Odo local government and destruction of properties at the residence of former Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs, Hon Kingsley Kuku, on Thursday.
Obadiah in his petition where he condemned the invasion in strong terms, said “from reports and information reliably gathered from my constituents, the police men numbering over 20 invaded Arogbo community in a commando style shooting sporadically to scare residents and create panic in the mind of the people.
“They didn’t stop at that, after throwing cautions into the thin air, I was informed that while the sporadic gun shots went on, the police invaded the residence of our illustrious son, Hon Kingsley Kuku, they forcefully broke into his house without any warrant and vandalized valuable properties.”
The lawmaker further stated that “since this unfortunate incident happened on Thursday, the people of peaceful Arogbo now live in fear and panic thinking what next would befall the hitherto peaceful community. “This action is totally condemnable and a desperate act by the Police to throw peaceful Arogbo community into a war zone and place it under siege, which will be resisted by every legal means.
“I call on the Inspector General of Police and the Ondo State Police Commissioner to urgently look into this matter and bring all perpetrators to book. If action is not taken, the people of Arogbo community will not hesitate to explore every legal means to seek justice to prevent any action that could throw our community into turmoil or place it under police siege,”
The federal lawmaker, representing the irrepressible people of Okitipupa/Irele Federal Constituency, Hon. Mike Adeniyi Omogbehin, has condemned, in strongest possible terms, the invasion of the residence of the former presidential adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku.
The lawmaker who fumed over the action of the invaders, said: “It is a barbaric and an irresponsible act”. amazement and total disbelief, the news of the invasion of the home of former presidential adviser on Niger Delta & chairman presidential amnesty committee to the former President Jonathan administration, Dr Kingsley Kuku, in Arogbo by men of the Nigeria Police Force without a search warrant, this is worrisome and it’s an affront to the spirit of fundamental human rights. ”
“It is now clear, without any shadow of doubt, that the so-called anti-corruption crusade is a hidden agenda to perpetuate President Buhari in office beyond 2019. The war is meant to silence the opposition and to cover-up the inefficiency and cluelessness of this administration”, worried Omogbehin said.
While calling on the international community to pay attention to the on-going barbaric and irresponsible act by the security agencies under President Buhari, Omogbehin noted that; ” This is not 1984, Nigeria must, at all times, follow the picess of law and if we don’t, we will end up like Uganda under the autocrat, Idi Amin”The security agencies should not, under any guise whatsoever, be used or allowed themselves to be seen as being used as political weapon on the people”, Omogbehin warned.
This crude political warfare must stop. Nigerians are using this moment to appreciate Comrade Kingsley Kuku, and to show solidarity and support during this time.
The people are appreciative of Kuku, being the immediate past chairman of the Presidential Amnesty programme on the successful implementation of the programme where many Nigerians benefitted. Today, the solid foundation he laid for the amnesty programme is now being consolidated upon by the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This acts of impunity and and near official hooliganism cannot be justified under any guise. It becomes more disturbing that these tyrannical occurrences are daily becoming more prevalent in Nigeria under a democratic government. It therefore should also worry all democrats anywhere around the world to keep an eye on Nigeria’s democratic government before as the fear of nearing ugly precipice gets thicker.
We have no doubt that political opportunists and enemies are at work fuelling unnecessary rumours, lies and even assault. Their aim is to destroy the good name and reputation of this illustrious Son of our State. We hereby call on Nigerians to be weary of the antics of these power drunk elements whose main interest is to pursue their narrow political agenda.
On a final note, we strongly advise those behind these malicious attacks to stop crude and tyrannical styles. There are civilised ways of handling issues under a democratic system, including the use of competent courts of law. Nigerians are saying vehement No to injustice in whatever form it appears, not even this which is happening by political twists and manipulations.