The case of the barbaric murder and the gruesome cremation ( if you like) of late madam Salome Acheju Abuh has been done and dusted. Acheju Abuh was until her death, the women leader of Nigeria’s major(?) opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party also popularly called PDP.
So, it happened that the gubernatorial elections in Kogi State which held in November of 2019 could only be remembered for its gross violence, savagery and cannibalistic proclivities. People were maimed, injured and killed. Allegations floated in the atmosphere, and still do, as to whose camp orchestrated the violence.
There were three major candidates in that election. They include the incumbent governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party and Musa Wada of the People’s Democratic Party.
The percussion to violence began in the build up to the elections. It came to a head when even during the Peace meeting convened at the instance of the Inspector General of Police in Lokoja, one of the contenders for the elections was openly harassed. The security agents watched helplessly as the woman was shamed , bullied, harassed and assaulted.
Another incidence that made it clear that the elections were going to be a catalogue of savagery was when Akpoti’s office in the state capital was torched. To make the matter worse, the office was close to a security facility. No one went to salvage the situation.
Gradually but steadily, violence spread across the state as the D-day drew closer. Scary tales of armed thugs openly assaulting law abiding citizens rent the air. There was palpable fear in the entire State as nobody knew who was next in line. The marauders were everywhere.
Every youth was a potential thug, and was ready, at the site of as paltry as five thousand Naira, to unleash terror on the already pauperised and traumatised people. The stories were gory, scary and demoralising. One wondered if we were practising democracy or ‘gangsterocracy’.
In mobilising her people to vote for her party, late madam Acheju Abuh was killed in cold blood, and by her own kinsmen in her home town! How else can inhumanity and the sublime case of brazen animalism be defined?
I know the quiet village of Ochadamu, in Ofu local government area of Kogi State. I am not sure the votes from that place would be enough to swing the results of an election, even if al the votes went to a single candidate. One wonders how anyone in such a small town could kill another person from the same town.
But Ocholi Edicha did it! He it was that led the gang of blood thirsty savages that cut down the woman in cold blood. It sends a chill down my spine to imagine that the ethics and gravity with which the Igala tradition frowns at murder are being eroded by culture contact, greed and the proliferation of urban gangs among our youths.
Secondly, I am amazed that the law in Nigeria doesn’t find such sinister violations of the sanctity of life an offence worth a life sentence. Twelve years behind bars could be enough for manslaughter but deliberate murder, and a callous attempt to cover evidence by burning up the corpse, property and the house of the victim is too deliberate to wave away with a 12 year jail sentence.
This is why robbers, kidnappers, bandits and other criminals are becoming bolder by the day. In some cases they are even pardoned, given amnesty and given the tax payers money as a rebuke. We have witnessed in this same country how Boko Haram fighters, who murdered thousands, destroyed livelihoods and created orphans in their wake, ‘repented’, were hosted by government, given millions of Naira and patted on the back. According to the governor of Borno State, Prof Zulum, these ‘pardoned’ boys find their ways back into their organisation again. Who wouldn’t? What else would excite a criminal than knowing he couldn’t care how many times he was caught? As a matter of fact, he gets richer as he gets caught.
It is in this light that the Igala Vanguard rejects the judgement. To the organisation, it is more like a pat on the back of the perpetrator of such a heinous crime. It is a sacrilege to the Igala people. It is an insult to the sensibilities of the Igalaconscience. It will further enforce the bourgeoning industry of thuggery in Kogi State. Politicians in Kogi state have weaponized hunger and destitution. The lives of the youths are being condemned by the avant garde in Kogi state. If the law is not stern on this, there would be a time when guns would be cheaper than rice in Kogi State.
The Igala Vanguard has the chance to rewrite the history of the land and redirect its ship. The judgement would be hopefully reversed and Mr Edachi would be made a scapegoat for those who think that Nigeria is home to lawless people.
Congratulations to the Igala Vanguard for the bold attempt at confronting the monster being bred in some quarters which might consume, in the long run, the owners, the community and everyone. Nigerians better wake up.
Alex Agbo is a writer and researcher based in Lagos.