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Garlands as CRAN appoints Kogi’s Bello patron

In recognition of his efforts at combating insecurity and crime in Kogi State, the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), recently made Governor Yahaya Bello a patron of the Association. In this report, WALE ELEGBEDE looks at the strides of the governor that earned him the award

 

Prior to January 2016, Kogi State was an arena of everything crime and insecurity. The state, which shares boundaries with nine others, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was termed in some quarters, as at then, the gateway of violence to the north and south.

 

The insecurity was creepy enough that it deteriorated the socio-economic value of the state. The Confluence State was at an all-time low during the period.

 

But like the biblical never-saddled colt prepared for the Messiah’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a 40-year-old Yahaya Bello, assumed leadership of the state five years ago and changed the narrative of insecurity and crime in the state, just within months of taking over the reins of power.

 

Right before the eyes of citizens of the state, the harrowing tales of kidnappings, banditry, terrorism and robbery bedevilling Kogi State, gradually fizzled away, and it was done with little or no fanfare, just by determination and applying the appropriate strategies.

 

Aside from creating an all-encompassing security template that even coalesced citizens into the strategic tactics, the Chief Executive of the Confluence State, also declared full-fledged war on armed robbers and criminals operating in the state by going after known but previously ‘untouchable’ crime kingpins and eventually demolishing their hideouts.

 

 

 

Apparently, most of the heinous crimes are committed in rural areas and in view of this; the Kogi State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government trained 441 Special Constabulary Police at the Nigerian Police Training College, Ilorin.

 

The Special Police have been assisting the conventional police in information gathering and prevention of crime across the 21 local government areas of the state. Not aware that his impactful strides are being noticed, Bello started receiving  ovations and awards in their multiples recognizing him as the best governor on security affairs in the country.

 

The latest of the recognitions was from a veritable group of professionals, who are ordinarily the first line of actors when it comes to security matters – the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN).

 

The association, which is the body of journalists covering security nationwide, honoured Governor Bello as patron of CRAN – the investiture is one of the most prestigious and reputable positions in the crime journalists’ hierarchy

 

. The special investiture took place on December 19 at the Colossus Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, amidst pomp and pageantry.

 

Before the investiture was conducted by the NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo, the governor’s citation was read by television broadcaster, Ivy Kanu. Explaining reasons for the choice of the Kogi governor as its patron, CRAN President, Mr. Sunday Odita, said a leader who attached so much importance to security was one who deserved higher assignments.

 

Odita, who is a veteran security reporter, described the choice of Bello as the Association’s patron as a popular de- cision among members and the executive of CRAN, adding that the journalists took time to study the steady and strategic efforts of the governor to turn around the state of insecurity in Kogi State.

 

He noted that from reports around the country, Kogi State was the safest in the North and one of the safest today in Nigeria, owing to the sound security strategies of the governor, as outlined by the State Security Adviser.

The CRAN Chairman said members of the association organised the reception in honour of the governor to show appreciation to him for being the first governor in Nigeria to train crime reporters and also empower them to perform their roles better in these trying times. I

 

n his remarks, the NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo, eulogized the giant strides of Bello, who he described as a personal friend. He averred that CRAN made the best of choice in Governor Bello, stating that the Kogi chief executive aptly fit the bill alongside the previous roll call of patrons the association has had over time.

 

The NUJ President said: “When you talk about security, you talk about Governor Yahaya Bello. I know what the security situation used to be before he came on board in Kogi, and I know what it is now. “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our political actors; we don’t need to destroy the country because of politics.

 

“It does appear that some political actors want to puncture the strides of the governor in this area, knowing full well what is coming up in 2023. We have only one country we can call our own and that is Nigeria. We have had leaders in the past, they have come and gone, if they destroyed the country, there would be no Nigeria today.

 

“Yahaya Bello is doing wonderfully well in the area of security. Politicians should not undermine their strategy all in the name of politics.” On his part, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) President, Mustapha Isa, said:

 

“We should not mix politics with the issue of security. When we talk about the worrying insecurity in the country, some governors join us in lamenting; they run to Abuja looking for support. When you ask them, they tell you they are not responsible. So why do they collect security votes monthly? “One of those who do not lament, but tackle the menace headlong is Governor Yahaya Bello. That is why he is being honoured today.

 

So, I tell our politicians, never mix politics with security. We should support those getting it right like Governor Bello to continue in that line, and also learn from them, not do everything to puncture our gains at the expense of the people.”

 

Governor Bello, who was represented at the event by the Kogi State Security Adviser, Commander Jerry Omodara (rtd), said the state had responded promptly and successfully to some pockets of violence, noting that an announcement would be made on the issue very soon.

 

Omodara said it is to the credit of the governor’s security initiatives that the Confluence State is secured, adding that in tackling insecurity, Kogi State has been focused on employing methods and tactics that have proved efficacious, among which is community policing and participation.

 

Other highlights of the event were the presentation of gifts to shortlisted individuals who had distinguished themselves in the association

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