The gruesome killing of 60-year-old Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh in her home at Ochadamu in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State has continued to elicit reactions from family members, friends and groups from within and outside the state.
Mrs. Abuh, a PDP women leader in the area, who also doubled as a Coordinator of the Wada/Aro Governorship Campaign Council, was holed up in her home and set ablaze by political supporters alleged to be from the ruling party.
Daily Trust Saturday reports that the incident happened on November 18, 2019, after the November 16, 2019, governorship election in the state.
Daily Trust Saturday learnt that the suspected thugs who invaded the home of Mrs. Abuh at about 02:00pm, locked all exits in the house and poured petrol before setting the house on fire.
The hoodlums were said to have prevented locals from coming to the rescue of the woman as they shot sporadically to scare the people away and kept watch until the building was razed down.
Mrs. Abuh reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the metal burglary proof and bullets raining in her direction.
When contacted, spokesman of the Kogi Police Command, William Aya, confirmed the incident, saying it was a case of culpable homicide and mischief.
Aya said on November 18, 2019, at about 04.30pm, one Musa Etu of Ochadamu, Ofu LGA reported at the station that at about 10.30pm of same date, there was a misunderstanding between one Awolu Zekeri (35) years, a member of the APC, and one Gowon Simeon, a member of the PDP, both of Ochadamu.
He said, “In the process, Simeon stabbed Zekeri with a knife on his lap and he (Zekeri) died on his way to the hospital.
“As a result, angry youths in the area mobilised to the house of one Simeon Abuh of the same address who is an uncle to the suspect, set it ablaze, thereby burning one Salome Abuh, aged 60 years.
“Meanwhile, the Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Police Special Forces (PSF) have been drafted to the area to prevent any breakdown of law and order. The investigation is ongoing.”
Spokesman of the Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, while lamenting the incident, expressed fear that “the killing spree” might escalate if urgent steps were not taken to quell the situation.
Adejoh-Audu said, “So far there’s no indication that the Kogi State police will arrest her killers or even prevent further attacks and killings of our people.
“We are calling on all men of good conscience to immediately help the people of Kogi State appeal to the Inspector General of Police to rein in thugs and protect our people whose only crime was that they voted for their choice, votes that were never allowed to count.
“Unless Nigerians of good conscience immediately come to our aid, innocent people may die worse agonising deaths.”
Late Mrs. Abuh has been described as an influential and active grassroots politician. She was a women leader for the PDP from the early years of her political career. She had her first elective position as a councilor in Ofu Local Government Council of Kogi State between 2003 and 2007.
In 2007, she contested for Idah Federal Constituency as the only woman among the contestants, but was not successful. She was also a Special Assistant on Grassroots Matters to a former Governor of Kogi State, Capt. Idris Wada. She also sought to represent the people of Ofu at the state assembly but was also not successful.
Until her gruesome killing, she was an active member of the PDP and campaign team member for the PDP governorship candidate, Engr. Musa Wada, in her area.
Her associates said her political influence in her locality and active involvement in politics of the area made her a threat to her political rivals.
Although the late Mrs. Abuh had been living with her family in Abuja for some time now, she was always abreast of the political activities back home.
She was at home in Ochadamu during the governorship election to mobilise her supporters and also monitor the political process with the expectation of victory for her party. Little did the mother of five know that her trip from Abuja to her Ochadamu country home for the election was going to mark the end of her life.
Her husband speaks
Elder Simeon Babani Seidu Abuh, husband of the, late Mrs. Abuh, has described her death as premeditated and called on security agencies and all authorities concerned to ensure justice in the matter.
Elder Abuh described his late wife as a devout Christian, a grassroots politician and community leader who loved peace and hated anything violence.
He said his wife came under attack by suspected political supporters of the ruling party right from Saturday, November 16, 2019, while she was at her polling unit at Ochadamu primary school during the governorship election.
The husband said he was earlier at the polling unit with his wife when some supporters of the ruling party were issuing threats against the opposition party but that he appealed to them to be peaceful, saying the people of the area were brothers and sisters irrespective of political differences.
He said, “After casting my vote, I headed home, leaving my wife behind to watch the electoral process,” and that after some time, his brother called that his wife had been beaten up while watching the voting process at her polling unit.
Elder Abuh said, “I took her to Holy Memorial Hospital, Ochadamu, where she was attended to by one Dr. Agama. She was examined and was given some drugs to take and advised to rest due to the trauma of the attack.
“After the election, I returned to Abuja where I reside, leaving her behind to rest for few days as advised by the doctor. I was constantly on phone with her. On Monday, 18th of November, at about 12:00am, my younger brother from Lokoja, Pst. Mark Abuh, called me that there was trouble at home.”
He added that, “Let me conclude here that the attacks on my wife on Saturday and the one carried out on Monday 18th November 2019 were premeditated.
“I hereby appeal for justice to prevail over this gruesome murder of my wife and loss of property.”
Buhari, Bello condemn killing
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the killing of the PDP women leader and directed the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to book.
In the same vein, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has also condemned the killing and vowed that perpetrators must be brought to justice irrespective of their political affiliations.
Spokesman of the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement, expressed disappointment over what he described as “mindless attacks by rival parties in Ochadamu”, saying anyone who broke the law would be punished regardless of party affiliation.
Fanwo said, “We feel disturbed at reports of violence in Ochadamu that has led to the loss of lives and property in the community.
“It was reported that a supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was stabbed to death while party members were jubilating over the outcome of the governorship election. The reprisal attack by alleged APC members which led to the death of an innocent woman is criminal and condemnable. Our government would not shield party member who breaks the laws of the land.
Police arrest six over
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Police Command said it had arrested six suspects in connection with the killing of the PDP women leader.
The State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, said the arrest followed a manhunt by his men after the incident.
Among the six suspects arrested is one Ocholi Edicha, alleged to have led the gang that attacked the late Mrs. Abuh.
Busari said, “On 20/11/ 2019, the house of one Mallam Garba Okeme was invaded by armed robbers who robbed him of a motorcycle and Tecno handset.
“With prompt intervention of the police and vigilante in the area, we were able to arrest the following suspects: Ocholi Edicha, Adamu Haruna, Onuh Egbunu, Musa Adigu, Attah Haruna Egwu and Attah Eke.
“During interrogation, Ocholi Edicha confessed that he led the gang that burnt the house of Elder Simon Abuh which led to the death of his wife Mrs. Abuh.
“The suspect further confessed that they were responsible for series of armed robbery incidents in Ochadamu and environs.
“We have launched a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs. Abuh and we are assuring the members of the public that we will get to the root of the matter.
“All the suspects are going to be arrested by the police. We have some of them already that are helping us in the investigation and we are assuring members of the public that all those involved will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the laws.”