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Melaye raises alarm over alleged intimidation, billboards vandalisation

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AHEAD of the February 2019 federal elections, the campaign organisation of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and agents of Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello of intimidation and harassment of the opposition.

This was made known to newsmen in Kabba, Kogi State at the weekend by the Director General, Dino Melaye Senatorial Campaign Organization, Chief Shola Ojo during its inaugural meeting.

Ojo, a former member of House of Representatives and erstwhile Secretary to Kogi State Government (SSG) said the meeting deliberated on sundry issues preparatory to the flag off of the campaign.

He disclosed that the feedback from supporters of the PDP in their various locations indicated that agents of the ruling APC had embarked on the destruction of Melaye’s campaign billboards allegedly on the orders of local government caretaker administrators.

He condemned the destruction of Melaye’s campaign billboards by unknown persons and called for a full investigation by the local government sole administrators to fish out the culprits or be seen as accomplishes.

Visits conducted round parts of the senatorial districts, including Mopamuro, Yagba West and Yagba East local government headquarters, showed the remains of Melaye’s campaign billboards either mutilated or outrightly burnt.

He noted that the party was aware of the marching orders handed hoodlums to mark PDP supporters in the zone as targets of violent attacks in the days ahead.

He said despite the lifting of the ban on electioneering campaign by INEC, the meeting initially slated to hold at the Dino Melaye campaign organisation office along Okene road was later moved to the Kogi West PDP zonal office, Kabba due to failure to secure police permit.

The police were said to have referred the conveners of the meeting to the commissioner of police in Lokoja.

Speaking on the preparedness of Melaye for the campaign based on his battles in the state, Ojo said “We are of the conviction that our candidate is innocent and that he will be vindicated in the end. Let them assure of his protection today, he will submit himself to the police immediately, but you know the politics behind these allegations and the risk to his life turning himself in unassured of protection. I assure you he will be here with us during the campaign and victory for him is assured. He will come and nothing will happen.”

However, the state government has described the allegation as spurious and unfounded, saying Melaye was only playing dirty politics.

The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Petra Onyegbule, said, “It is preposterous to lay such allegations against the state government. Governor Yahaya Bello is widely lauded as a governor keen on security and who has done so much to secure Kogi State.

“He cannot encourage any act of hooliganism or gangsterism. Cases of vandalism should be reported to the police and not be made into issues for petty politics.”

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