Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Idah on Fire Over N60 Million KGSG Contract !

A seeming largesse of N60 million contract to construct fence around selected secondary schools in Idah LGA awarded by the Kogi State Government to Idah PDP youths, in furtherance of the Government's youth empowerment scheme has reportedly gone awry following an outbreak of unmitigated violence amongst various factions of the youths in the area. 

According to an impeccable source within the PDP hierarchy in the Local Government, trouble started on Friday 13th March 2009 when news filtered in to town that the N60 million contract, which was overvalued for empowerment purposes and approved by the State Governor for the teeming PDP youths, has been hijacked by the Chairman of the state's Local Government Service Commission, Barr. Ocheja Dangana and the Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Empowerment, Mr. Friday Sani (Aka Makama) who both insisted on cornering N25 million of the entire sum, believing that N35 million was enough for both the contract execution as well as the empowerment of the youths. Barely few hours later, the already restive youths discovered to their chagrin that four of their leaders namely Sam, Kamaru (Hajia Dangana's son), Ike and Onalo have perfected plans with the powers-that-be to corner the remaining N35 million.

All hell broke loose as three different factions of the youths sprang up feeling outsmarted, and stormed Ega, Sabongeri, Igala-Ogba and Aija areas of the town with pump action rifles, knives and amulets of different hue in a murderous search for these four leaders, destroying cars, houses and properties belonging to the four leaders and their relatives. All through saturday night to sunday, heart-shattering sounds of guns boomed from different quarters of the town as the youth leaders reinforced and embarked on a retaliatory mission, leaving in its wake, tears, sorrow and blood. So far, no lives have been declared lost as all the youths are said to be under the heavy protection of strong bullet charms but two supposedly innocent inhabitants of the town have been rushed with bullet wounds to nearby Ibaji Local Government Area.

Piqued by the intra-party wrangling and violence that greeted his Government's pilot scheme to empower youths in Idah through award of contracts and a planned implementation of the scheme in other parts of the state, the state Governor, Alh Ibrahim Idrisu promptly revoked the contract on Monday the 16th of March 2009. The news of the revocation exacerbated the already tense Idah atmosphere as the angry youths went on rampage in a staccato of gunshots and wanton destruction of properties last night. As at press time this morning, a house belonging to Audullahi Onicha was razed down and a newly acquired car belonging to one of the youth combatants was vandalised and destroyed.

Efforts made by PDP elders of the town to invite the Police into the matter were rebuffed by the Police authorities in the LGA who stated clearly that they lacked the firearms and the human capacity to bring the situation under control. In a private chat with journalists, the DPO, stated his helplessness in the situation as the boys in question, according to him, are backed by very influential forces that are more superior to his. He expressed his disenchantment with the situation of things in the town, stressing that his posting to Idah happens to the his most turbulent so far.

In a similiar vein, the Executive Chairman of the Idah Local Government Council, Mall. Musa Haruna Idoko revealed that he has already briefed the State Governor who is the chief security officer of the state on the situation of things and the need for his intervention. He stressed further that the LGC is not empowered to deal with security issues of such proportions as the Council has been operating on zero allocation since January, necessitating the payment of quarter salaries to all its staff. A clerical staff of the Local Government Council confirmed that he was paid only N1, 000 as february salary out of his N5, 000 monthly pay.

Meanwhile, an extensive manhunt for Sam, Ike Kamaru, onalo and one Enejo is currently on as they have reportedly fled the ancient town.


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