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• Senator didn’t obtain permit, say police
• Governor orders probe, prosecution of perpetrators
Two persons were feared killed and several others injured yesterday by unknown gunmen during a rally organised by Senator Dino Melaye in Lokoja asking the state government to offset the backlog of salaries owed workers and reopen tertiary institutions in Kogi State.
The armed men, from the NATACO axis of the confluence city, stormed the Kogi State Polytechnic venue of the event where the federal lawmaker was addressing supporters, and shot sporadically in different directions to scare away sympathisers.
The incident resulted in pandemonium, as everyone, including newsmen, who were on hand to cover the event, scampered for safety. Melaye, who addressed supporters from the roof of his Toyota Prado jeep, gave Governor Yahaya Bello a 30- day ultimatum to clear the arrears or be prepared for a civil protest.
He also indicated that he was heading right away for the Federal Medical Centre with his supporters where he alleged many civil servants were languishing in pains due to their inability to defray medical bills.
“We will pay the medical bills of those civil servants as many as we can.” The gun duel between the pro and anti-Melaye groups lasted for almost an hour with the chanting of ‘Dino Ole’ heralded by further shootings.
On an assessment tour of the scene, the Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, who said he had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department to investigate the incident, however, stated Melaye did not approach the command for permission before embarking on the protest. He cautioned politicians against flouting extant laws.
Governor Bello said he had petitioned the Presidency and the police in January intimating them of plans by the Kogi West representative to allegedly cause mayhem and make the state ungovernable.
He, therefore, called on the police boss and the Director of Department of State Services (DSS) to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book. Bello reiterated his administration’s commitment to the security of lives and properties.
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