Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State, has denied allegations of his involvement in plans to murder Austin Okai, a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Frontier.
On Thursday, Okai had petitioned the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies over the “plans” of Bello’s associates to kill him.
In the petition, also sent to the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Commander, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Okai said a murder attempt was being plotted against him due to “the opinions I hold about governance and leadership all of which I liberally discuss in the public space”.
He said the plan to terminate his life had been cleverly hatched to resemble an accidental discharge from the rifle of a marksman who will be an individual with no traceable identity.
“A substantial sum of money has been set aside for two purposes — induce a category of my associates and blackmail another category who are immune to inducement,” he said.
“The intent of this plan is to enable my traducers obtain information about my movement with these moles and/or have them plant controlled substances or arms in any of my homes to give legal push to a long term incarceration during which I will be killed.
“In the event that the plan A flops, a plan B will be activated which will include a stage-managed robbery operation either in my residence or on the motor ways in ether Lokoja, Anyigba or the FCT in the course of which I will be fatally wounded thus leading to permanent disability or a festering wound on a sensitive part of my body.”
In the specific parts of the petition where he named Onoja, he said: “As of now, I am reliably aware that on the 25th of April 2019, some operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad were dispatched from Lokoja, lodged and have remained in an unknown hotel in the Karu/Abacha Road axis of the FCT and Nasarawa State with clear orders from the Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Edward Onoja. Some others are constantly roaming the streets scouting for information.
“The orders are simple and it is to the effect that I should be arrested in a manner that will cause me to question their identity in the course of which a fisticuff will ensue to create an atmosphere that will lead to my extra-judicial murder which will now be blamed on my attempt to either evade arrest or escape from lawful captivity. As back up to the federal SARS operatives, another squad of unknown persons have been heavily paid by the same Chief Edward Onoja to simply murder me by any means.”
However, speaking when SaharaReporters asked him to respond to the allegations, Onoja played down the political influence of Okai to be deserving of a murder attempt.
“I am just reading this long story by someone who couldn’t even go to his polling unit in Emewe in Tekina Local Government Area to vote in the last election,” Onoja said.
“I mean, elections are not things that you do on Facebook or WhatsApp or social media. Election is a field game and only people who have access, who go home regularly and interact with their people, will have a voice to talk to people on the direction they should go, so the truth of the matter is that the man is a ‘job man’, let me use the word.
“If you ask him today that what does he do for a living, you will find out that he cannot tell you for certain what he does for a living. So, a lot of aspirants are coming up and he wants them to look at him with some level of great value so that they can prise him to be doing their propaganda for them. And then he is making it seem like his life is on threat as if he is the best thing that has happened to Kogi so he is highly prized. The guy is looking for ‘magas and mugus’ who will fall for his antics.
“You can only go after people, even if you have to go after people in terms of assassination, people who can change figures in their locations, where they come from. That guy Austin Okai, I’m sorry, does not even know the road to his village; people don’t even know he exists, so he can’t even influence votes anywhere. So why are you bothering with someone who can’t even influence votes.”
Onoja said that despite everything Oka had written about the Kogi State government for years, the APC in Kogi State has been winning elections.
“Everything he wrote, did it affect the outcome of the last general election? We delivered for Mr. President in Kogi; we won two out of three senators in Kogi; we won seven out of nine House of Reps members in Kogi, moving from two to seven members. And for the first time in the history of Kogi State, we delivered 25 out of 25 Assemble seats to the All Progressives Congress.
“So, if you have such a wonderful result, my brother, tell me, why would you be dissipating energy on nonentities and people who cannot even call anybody to say ‘go and vote in this direction’? This is just the rabble-rousing of someone who is like a featherweight — when men talk, these are the people that should be helping us clean the chairs before we come and sit down to discuss Kogi matters.”