Lokoja — Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has directed four local government administrators in the state to produce killers of 15 Fulani herdsmen within seven days.
This is coming as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Stakeholders Forum has rejected moves by the governor to meet with the forum, saying his request was belated.
Bello issued the ultimatum to the local government chiefs during a stakeholders meeting on security held in Lokoja yesterday.
He said failure to produce the perpetrators would lead to the sack of the administrators who he also accused of ineptitude and dereliction of duty.
The affected officials are the administrators of Yagba West Loca Government where 11 of the Fulani herdsmen were killed between May 18 and May 20, as well as Omala, Dekina and Igalamela Local Government Councils where the remaining four Fulan herdsmen were killed.
The governor said that his administration would not condone killings of any citizen in the state under whatever guise.
He directed the administrators to work with their traditional rulers to unveil the perpetrators.
Bello promised to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to book.
"This Fulanis have been staying with us in the state peacefully without any rancor; any politicians or detractors who are behind this killing will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
"My administration will not spare anybody no matter how highly placed in the society," he said.
He commended the security agencies for the good they were doing in the state but urged them to scale up their performance.
The Administrator of Yagba West where the killing of 11 Fulanis took place, Mr. Joseph Olutimi, confirmed the development.
He said that the initial report he got was that a farmer was killed by Fulani herdsmen, saying that he quickly informed security agents of the development.
He explained that the Fulani herdsmen were killed by yet to be identified persons, saying that the people of the local government had been living peacefully with the herdsmen for years.
In his speech, the Special Adviser to the governor on security, Jerry Omadara, explained that the action was a reprisal attack on Fulani herdsmen for the death of a farmer few days ago.
He also said that three corpses of the herdsmen were found in Oluja community in Dekina Local Government while several cows were also killed by unknown gunmen.
The Secretary of Meyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Yagba West Local Government, Mr. Mohammed Mainasara, said 11 of his members were killed, and asked for justice in the matter.
Meanwhile, the APC Stakeholders' Forum has rejected moves by the governor to meet with the forum, saying his request was belated.
THISDAY gathered yesterday that in an effort to secure the APC governorship ticket for his second term, the governor made several efforts to hold meeting with the forum.
Sources close to the forum disclosed to THISDAY that the governor wanted to use some top APC members to meet with it.
According to the source, when the information got to the Chairman of the forum, Chief Alex Kadiri, he turned down the request, saying: "I regret to say that the governor's request is belated. This lateness also applies to the intervention of the Borno and FCT Chairmen of the APC.
"The forum believes that the governor knew what he ought to have done for the past two years but he didn't do it. With the time now at ¼, we don't see the reason for his desire for a meeting with the stakeholders of APC".
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Forum of Aspirants has advised the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC not to issue the governorship ticket of the party to Bello if it wants to retain the state in the forthcoming November governorship election.
The aspirants made their position known via a communique issued at the end of their general meeting in Abuja over the weekend.
The two-page communique which was signed by the Chairman and the Secretary of the Communiqué Drafting Committee, Mr. Ben Adaji and Mr. Anthony Odana, respectively, stated that the forum unanimously rejected the candidature of Bello due to his bad leadership and non-performance.
The forum appealed to the National Chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole and the National Working Committee (NWC) not to risk the forthcoming governorship ticket to Bello as that would be tantamount to losing the state to the opposition.
The aspirants observed that in spite of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to all APC governors to reconcile and accommodate these group of aspirants after the last primary elections with a view to carrying them along in the overall interest of the party, Bello had remained adamant and had continued to treat the Kogi aspirants as enemies and second-class citizens in a party they have laboured for.
While declaring their unalloyed support and commitment to the administration of President Buhari and the APC, the group also expressed their willingness to mobilise support for the party in all the 21 local government areas of Kogi.
According to the communique, the group unanimously endorsed Alhaji Yahaya Audu to contest in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.