Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said those who attacked him at a mosque in Lokoja, the state capital on Friday afternoon, were sponsored political miscreants who saw his ongoing reforms in the state as inimical to their selfish interests.
He said some of the attackers were promptly apprehended by security agents and market women, adding that the “politically motivated attack” would be thoroughly investigated.
Some aggrieved residents of the Confluence state had hurled stones, rotten fruits and vegetables at the governor’s convoy shortly after he observed Juma’at prayers in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the state’s creation.
The attackers decried the worsening economic situation, worsened by months of non-payment of salaries.
Friday’s attack against Gov. Bello, who assumed office in January, came about a fortnight after he suffered a similar fate while visiting Ankpa, the headquarters of Ankpa Local Government Area of the state.
The governor, in his reaction to the yesterday’s incident, accused his political adversaries of ‘importing’ thugs into the state in a desperate bid to maintain the status quo.
“We are not unaware of scheming by change resistors to sponsor attacks against government officials”, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo said. “Sponsoring attacks against the Governor will not stop our march to restore sanity to the polity”.
Mr. Fanwo also attributed the attack to a raging ‘syndrome’ occasioned by the governor’s sweeping reforms in the state’s civil service, promising that the names of those suffering from it would soon be published.
“The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello will soon publish the names of corrupt citizens of the state who are behind the ‘Ghost Workers’ syndrome”, he asserted.
Mr. Bello had since coming into power in controversial circumstances, embarked on a broad re-verification exercise for the state’s civil servants, citing widespread abuse in workers payroll, a situation he said saw the state losing billions to fraud in a state bleeding from diminishing revenues.
His insistence on sanitizing the payroll pitted him against the organized labour in the state, who accused his administration of insensitivity to workers’ plight.
Mr. Bello thanked Kogites, who swung to action and repelled Friday’s attack against him and his entourage, adding that they should remain resolute in their support towards the restoration of the “lost glory of the state”.