By Ignatius Okorocha
The Senate on Thursday mandated Senator James Manager-led Ad-hoc-Committee on recent political violence in Kogi State to investigate the interception of arms and ammunitions alleged to have been imported by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Making this disclosure while standing on Order 43 of Senate Standing Rules, Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi West) alerted the Senate of how the Nigeria customs intercepted sewn military camouflages with bola hats, many bullet proof vests, night vision googles, tactical boots, tactical knapsacks, training canvas, boxing gloves etc allegedly belonging to governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
He said: “Mr President, due to my private investigation I got a very serious revelation yesterday and I am so happy that a committee has been constituted by the senate under the leadership of the ranking senator James Manager.
“Mr President few minutes ago, the Nigerian customs intercepted sewn military camouflages with bola hats, many bullet proof vests, night vision googles, tactical boots, tactical knapsacks, training canvas, boxing gloves etc.
“These items were intercepted by the Nigerian customs because they did not come with end user certificates. When you are bringing military equipment into the country they must come with end user certificate certified by the national security adviser.”
Melaye further said, “Upon seizure of these items, one Jerry Omodara, who is the S.A security to governor of Kogi State went to the customs officers and told them that the items belonged to the Kogi State government and even gave them his complimentary card.
“Jerry Omodara presented himself physically before customs. The name of the company that imported these items is SEC communications Nigeria limited and I have done a search in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) have revealed the owners of the company connected to Kogi State government. These items, as I speak, detention notice is on them.
“Up to this morning, these items are with NACO at the airport here in Abuja. Mr President, I thereby move that the vibrant committee constituted this morning under the chairmanship of James Manager move to the airport to make sure that these items are there and not moved and properly investigated. I said before that militias were being equipped by the Kogi State government.
“I believe the committee will unravel the mystery behind this seizure. A situation were a governor is already importing military uniforms and other gadgets when he is not a contractor in the ministry of defence. It is dangerous trend and the senate was right when it said Yahaya Bello is a threat to democracy.”
In his remark, Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary yesterday cautioned politicians to desist from acts capable of destabilising the nation’s hard earned democracy.
He said: “This is a major threat to our democracy and I want to appeal to politicians and their supporters to remember that we don’t have any other country than this. If we destroy this country all of us will suffer it so we need to do whatever possible we can to ensure that we keep the waters of democracy clean.
“The issue of violence may not help any person let us believe this will not be the true fact but because it has been raised I think it is important for avoidance of doubt to ensure that we look into this to be able to know what is true and what is not true in the circumstance.
“So, I want to inform James Manager that we are going to set up a committee which you are going to chair, so now that this matter has been raised we want you as soon as possible to look into the additional facts provided this morning just to ensure there is no such importation.
“If there is such facts please let us know as soon as possible, we will let the appropriate authority to take actions to neutralise the use of such equipment.”