Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has offered insights into how the State Government was tackling criminalities especially the menace of kidnapping in the state and reduced it to the barest minimum.
Bello spoke at the weekend during the opening of the 2020 Senate Press Corps Retreat held in Lokoja, the state capital as the chief host of the event.
The retreat themed “Democracy and Development in a Federation: Roles of Media, State and Parliament’’ was attended by the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Arc. Olatunde Ojo, who was represented at the event, and Kogi Senators – Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West) and Senator Yakubu Oseni (APC, Kogi Central), among others.
Declaring the event open, Governor Bello, who was represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, explained that before the emergence of his administration in 2016, Kogi State was noted as “the kidnap capital of Nigeria’’.
“Our highways were littered with virtually weekly occurrences of armed robbery, especially night travelers in luxurious buses.
“It’s four years, nine months now, though we have not been able to eradicate the kidnappings totally, the number has drastically reduced to the barest minimum.
“And highway robberies, bank robberies are becoming things that are in our history books rather than what we are experiencing.
“We are doing our best in fighting insecurity in Kogi and ensuring that life and property are secured,’’ he said.
On the flood currently ravaging the state, the governor assured the people of the state and Nigerians that while the State Government not be able to stop the flood, it will prevent as many lives as possible from going with the menace.
“That is our focus, that is our target, that is what we shall achieve by the grace of God,’’ he added.
According to him, part of the achievements so far recorded in the state are the bold steps at reforming the civil service and the pension administration system, among others.
“Today, it is no longer ‘he who knows who’ but on merit and your ability to serve selflessly.
“The leakages and fraud that were endemic in the Kogi State Civil Service prior to 2016 are becoming a thing of history,’’ Onoja noted.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, in a paper presentation titled “Kogi’s 29 Years of Statehood and Yahaya Bello’s New Direction”, explained that part of the efforts of the state government in the fight against insecurity was the procurement of 200 patrol vans for security agencies in the state at a time.
“Proceeds of kidnappings were destroyed; the governor had said he wasn’t going to negotiate with any criminal.
“You don’t negotiate with criminals, you deal with them. That is what the governor did and that should be an example to this nation,’’ Fanwo added.