Monday, the 18th of November 2019 continues to gain prominence in the annals of history in Kogi state, particularly in Igala land.
It was the day impunity reigned supreme and opposition was coloured as death sentence. It was the day Mrs. Salome Abuh paid the ultimate price for actively taking part in the leadership recruitment process.
She was visited by Buccaneers, anti-peace and blood suckers for daring to think and act differently. And like a predator descending on its catch, upon scampering the entire residence of Ochadamu (Ofu Local government Area of Kogi state) to safety, they surrounded her house and set it ablaze. From far deep inside, Mrs. Salome Abuh cried for help and reprieve until she was burnt to death. She attempted an escape route through the window but not long, she realized her killers viciously starred. She however sighted safety from a distance but was prevented by two inches, hot blazing iron rod from the gun pointed in her direction. She cried as death overpowered her.
There was national and international outcry occasioned by protests and demonstrations. Indeed, some members of the ruling party condemned the dastardly act but unfortunately, the senator supposedly representing Mrs. Salome Abuh at the national assembly, Dr. Jibrin Isah did not see anything wrong in her murder, reason he blatantly refused to condemn the actions of the cannibals who devoured her.
Unlike the defensive and in fact supportive stance of Jibrin Isah, his counterpart representing Rivers East, Senator George Thompson Sekibo moved a motion condemning electoral violence in Kogi and Bayelsa. But the jittery Echocho in total contempt for humanity and utter disregard for the mood of the people carpeted these outrages when he justified the action of Mrs. Salome Abuh’s killer by dimensioning it as a “retaliatory attack.” According to him, her killers only responded to threats from the leading opposition, the PDP, upon the criminal usurpation at the polls.
His exact words: “I want to commend the mover of the last motion in respect of electoral violence in Kogi state and in particular, the woman in question. I want to say it here that, that woman only happened to be a victim of circumstance. She was a very peace-loving woman but the attack on her was retaliatory. The attack was an attack on APC when Yahaya Bello was declared winner. Two people almost died, they are on danger list in the hospital as a result of that attack. It was a retaliatory attack on PDP and unfortunately, she became the victim”.
Amidst the senator’s spurious claims, subsequent interrogation of the prime suspect, Mr. Edicha Ocholi admitted that Jibrin Isah lied. Ocholi who spoke to journalists while been paraded by the police confessed to killing Mrs. Abuh out of grudges. He claimed to have fallen out with the victim even before the November 16th governorship election, thus providing counterclaim, rebuttal and straight record to what Echocho and some APC apparatchiks peddled. Also, it puts the senator in between thoughts. He was so unsure of what lay ahead as the news of Mrs Salome Abu’s death went viral.
In his voice, the possibility of annulling that election was heard, and his attribution of the crime was the highest attempt to stampede justice. It further speaks to the senator’s contemptuous inclinations towards women as active components of collective leadership.
Senator Jibrin Isah seems to have a pathological dislike for the engagement, involvement and enablement of women. He is reputed as one of the senators who kicked against the bill seeking 35% women inclusion in leadership, and many others too numerous to mention. To be honest, what cannot be easily explained is why the senator holds aloof to women notions.
From empirical facts, women’s equal participation in leadership, both in politics and public life, are essential to realizing the sustainable development goal by 2030. As of September 2022, an exponential increase in women leadership participation was recorded with over 30 countries having females in charge of the affairs, United Nation’s female gender equality publication reports. Is it not baffling that Jibrin Isah deliberately denied us this enormous opportunity?
Almost fours year on, Echocho has yet to either officially or publicly condemn the gruesome killing of Mrs. Salome Abuh. The Killers were handled with kid gloves, convicted for homicide instead of murder and sentenced to just twelve and half years imprisonment.
It is worth reemphasizing that the society, human right groups, activists, religious organisations, and foreign envoys condemned the dastard act. On short notice, President Muhammadu Buhari through his special adviser on media and publicity expressed disapproval. But how Echocho stood inhumanly playing to the gallery beats human imagination. Until this very day, he had neither visited nor console the family of the bereaved.
Moses wrote from Lokoja, Kogi State
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