Ahead of the November governorship election in Kogi State, the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Youth Frontier, Austin Okai, on Friday, asked the Inspector General of Police for protection over an alleged threat to his life by the Chief of Staff to the Kogi governor, Edward Onoja.
Mr Okai’s plea was stated in a letter he addressed to the IGP.
He said some social media accounts had been cloned using his name in order to implicate him.
He then pleaded with the police chief to disregard any implicating social media message allegedly from him.
Mr Okai appealed to the police to protect his right to life and free movement within Kogi and across Nigeria.
“I wish to bring to your notice the high level of desperation being exhibited by the Government of Kogi State. The social media has been agog with some nasty WhatsApp and Facebook comments from accounts attributed to me. These accounts were cloned in my name and bearing my pictures. I reasonably suspect Chief Edward Onoja who is the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Kogi State, who sees me as a political threat as the brainchild behind this”.
“He has some hireling for doing this job. What they do is simply to get some random numbers to save with my name and other pseudo names. Then create pseudo groups or accounts on WhatsApp or other social media outlets with the numbers. Immediately that is done, they will begin to write nasty comments and posts through the number they have so saved in my name and through Facebook accounts created using my name. Some of his hireling doing this job were identified as Hon. Samuel Obochi, Felix Omachoko and Dennis Itodo”.
“Sir, I am making this report to you because this game has unfortunately taken a dirtier dimension now, as they plan to use it to set me up with the Police. The trick this time is to start a certain conversation about plans to attack Governor Yahaya Bello’s convoy and present it to SARS as social media evidence to rope me, and subsequently arrest me. I also have classified information on how they plan to harm me once arrested and detained”.
“I also have classified information on how Chief Edward Onoja plans to stage-manage a phone call and its edition, which will be in the form of a man threatening to kill him or some Government functionaries. In what follows, he will accuse me before the police as the caller, then kill me once arrested and detained”.
“This is by no means a false alarm! As at yesterday, the game plan to abduct me using fake SARS was hatched by Chief Onoja. The same Chief Edward Onoja has vowed to use thugs to kill whenever I set my feet in Kogi State”.
“I wish to let you know that those WhatsApp comments making rounds on social media and the false Facebook accounts being attributed to me are fabrications by Edward Onoja and his minions”
“All the accounts designated to frame me up are obviously the desire of the state government and its agents to abuse the minds or security agencies, to drive home their points
“The WhatsApp and Facebook account being used to circulate comments and posts isn’t mine. I don’t belong to any of such WhatsApp groups and I distance myself completely from it”
“I consider this a sinister plot to blackmail, rope in crime and set me up with the Police in the nearest future”.
” I want you to take note of this plot and protect me and my family from the wicked plot of Chief Edward Onoja to harm us,” he said.
Kogi Government reacts
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday about the allegations, the spokesperson to the Kogi State governor, Onugwu Muhammed, said neither the Kogi governor nor his chief of staff know who Mr Okai is.
“I want to say categorically that the person of Austin Okai is not known to the Governor of Kogi State, either by his activities or by his existence, he is not known to the governor. The same Austin Okai, either by his activities or by his existence, is equally not known to the Chief of Staff, who is busy doing his daily job.
“You know when they come on social media to say things like that, drawing our attention while we are focusing on governance, by the time you begin to respond to people like Austin Okai, it means you are legitimising fake news and nuisance and this government is not after that.
“The Kogi State government is focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people and that is what we have been doing consistently.
“We do not pay attention to those who go on social media parading themselves either as social media comrade or whatever they call themselves.
“We pay attention to how we better the lives of the average citizens of Kogi State.
“So, I do not think any of the government officials or the governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello knows anybody called Austin Okai either by his activities or his existence.
“The government of Yahaya Bello embraces criticism, every day you watch Television and listen to the radio and you see people criticising the government and by so doing we are learning from the critics.
“Those with genuine criticism, we draw policies and meaningful ideas from what they are saying, so the government embraces criticism as long as it is constructive.
“I want tell Austin Okai that the government of Kogi State, under the leadership of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, first of all, embraces criticism. Secondly, does not pay attention to or does not recognise the existence of someone like Austin Okai, who is parading himself as a spokesperson to all political aspirants across all political device.
” I urge the general public to disregard whatever rumour, speculations, statements that he is making against the governor of Kogi State including the Chief of Staff to the governor, Honourable Edward David Onoja.
“He is only seeking attention and we do not legitimise people like Austin Okai’s activities.”
Mr Okai had been controversially arrested a day to the presidential election in Kogi in February. He was only released after the general elections in the state.
When asked to comment on Mr Okai’s arrest a day to the February 23 election, Mr Muhammed said, “It was even in the news that he, Austin Okai, as a campaign spokesperson at that time, took away funds that was meant for the media campaign.
“So, I do not know if it was Yahaya Bello that arrested him to keep him in a safe place because the same PDP who he was working for, declared him wanted for running with the funds.
“All these things are false allegations,” the governor’s spokesperson added.