The head of the controversial Kogi State Task Force on Illegal Smuggling of Firearms and Other Related Crimes, Friday Makama, has called on the military personnel in Kogi to stop the arrest of members of the ruling All Progressives Congress ahead of the election on Saturday.

Mr Makama who spoke to journalists on Friday in Lokoja, accused the military of detaining some APC members at Itobe Bridge in the state and collecting the party’s money with them.

He also denied that he was arrested by the military, saying that the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Muritala Ajaka, was behind the fake news flying across the state.

The special task force was set up by Governor Yahaya Bello for the purpose of mopping up illegal arms in circulation in the state.

But the task force had been criticized by the opposition, which described it as Mr Bello’s killer squad, alleging that it was made up of people said to be political thugs.

A federal high court in Abuja had in October restrained the special task force from performing the task of regulating firearms possession in the state.

In a judgement, James Omotosho, the presiding judge, ordered the removal of Friday Makama as director-general of the special task force.

The judge held that the governor “had no powers to unilaterally regulate or control the possession of, or dealing in firearms in Kogi state or any part thereof.”

But speaking in that capacity, Mr Makama, who is obviously an APC supporter, alleged that the military’s roles in the Kogi poll was “suspicious.”

“Military is a mirror of any country and by the reason of that, we are under every obligation to respect that institution,” he said.

“I do not have anything against the military coming to give supportive role to the Nigeria Police Force. But, the current event that is unfolding where the candidate of the Social Democratic Party can declare war against certain persons who are loyal to the candidature of Ododo of APC becomes worrisome and this is exactly what is happening now.

“It has gone to the extent that military is no longer after gun. Military are no longer after arms and amunition that is being smuggled into the state, but you can see a situation where military will stop the supporters of the APC and begin to take money that belongs to the party from them.

“I was only informed that my council chairman and others including a reputable member of this union, Comrade Ali Atabo, was stopped on Itobe bridge and being held on Itobe bridge for supporting a political party of his choice. This is where the role of the Army becomes now suspicious.”

Makama further said, “We had a stakeholders meeting before they took off and the only offence that up till this time, they are being held on that bridge is that the party sent them with money for the purpose of the election.

“This is why they are there and this is why the role is suspicious. Even as we speak, the candidate of the SDP had since declared that I must be arrested. What is my offence? Perhaps, because I do not support his candidature or I am not a member of the SDP.

“And I think if democracy is anything to go by, I am not very sure if the tenets of democracy allow for a man who does not believe in you to be crucified. And this is where the issues are today in Kogi State and they cry more than we cry. Of course, I am prevailed upon to speak to the press, if not, I may not even do it because the ruling party will not be going into petty and that is why most times, they paint the stories that do not exist and the government of the day ignores it.

“They ignore it not because what they are telling the public is true, like they told the public now that Friday Makama has been arrested and that riffles have been discovered from the vehicle of Elder Dr. Friday Makama.

“This is the kind of lies they will always tell. As at yesterday, I want to assure all Kogites that I am not under any arrest.

“For now, I have a responsibility in the state capital here that cannot allow me to go back home and that is not to say I cannot go back home. I have groomed young boys and girls that can win their wards and units conveniently whether Friday Makama comes home or not.”

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