His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has renewed his policy of zero tolerance for insecurity on Sunday when he led his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja and other senior government officials of his administration on a symbolic security inspection of the forests and hills around Geheku village, near an a dangerous spot on the Abuja-Lokoja federal highway which exposes road travelers.
Concerned at recent attempts by suspected kidnapping syndicates who were earlier dislodged from the state to re-establish foothold, the Kogi State helmsman specifically chose the area because of a portion of that road tend to slow travellers down, exposing them to molestation by criminals.
It would be recalled that some kidnappers had shot at road users in Adabo near Gegu Beki earlier in the week, wounding some people and abducting others.
Governor Bello who left Lokoja yesterday for engagements in Abuja was returning back to base and rendezvoused with his Deputy on the highway.
The two men surveyed the forests and thills around Geheku with sophisticated gadgets such as binoculars and aerial surveillance drone which is an identified trouble spots to get firsthand knowledge of the modus operandi of the criminals and the terrain in which they operate.
The duo who greeted each other in their usual overflow of camaraderie to the delight of their aides and passers-by who stopped to hail them, indicating no signs of any frosty relations which some sections of the media claim have recently sprung up between them.
The Governor has repeatedly dismissed the rumoured rift, openly stating in many occasions that his Deputy remains his best and most trusted hand, vowing that politics which did not bring them together can never separate them.
Aside the concerted efforts on security, Kogi State has been in forefront of paying salaries and pensions on or before month's end for about 7 months now. While noting that the hullabaloo around non-payment of workers' remuneration has died a natural death by performance, the Governor assured that there is no going back on citizens welfare while the roll-out of legacy infrastructure projects in his second term will also silence detractors on that score base-line soon.
The Deputy Governor on his part said it was not so much an act of gallantry but of duty for his boss to take the risk of exposing himself at such a notorious hot-spot.
He further explained that the Governor's action was to encourage the security agencies in the state to go the extra mile in taking the battle to the high-way-looms in order to smoke them out.
It will be recalled that Governor Yahaya Bello who inherited a state riddled by insecurity ended his first tenure January this year with Kogi State rated the second most peaceful state in the federation; most peaceful in the north by the National Peace Index as well as the state with the second lowest crime rate in the entire country by the National Bureau of Statistics.
He described the recent incidents of kidnapping as embarrassing and unacceptable considering the Governor's record and promised that his boss will surely stamp the criminals out again.
Until October last year when he relinquished the office to become Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja was Governor Bello’s Chief of Staff and reputed to be the most effective and efficient in the country. He urged those seeing his total focus on his duties as Deputy Governor as anything other than serving his boss and the people of Kogi as required by the Constitution to purge themselves of every spirit of competitive jealousy and petty gossip.
He assured that he effected a total step back from the duties of Chief of Staff because that was the proper thing to do and also to allow the new man on the job to function fully.
He pointed out that today's fact-finding expedition was an example of everyone playing their roles while allowing for the synergies responsible for the Bello administration's first term successes and will remain the reason that his second term will be an even more massive success.
Making reference to some failed politicians who would plant stories of non-existent divisions in the media then praying to make them materialise between himself and his boss, he urges such mischief makers to get ready for serious hospitalisation because they are in for a turbulent ride this second term as they will suffer many a disappointment going forward.
Chief Press Secretary to The Deputy Governor of Kogi State