Hon. Friday Sanni Makama is the minority leader of Kogi State House of Assembly and a member representing Igalamela-Odolu on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party. He was one of the victims of the Tuesday attack on the State Assembly members.
In an interview with daily post in Abuja, he explained that he has been earmarked for assassination by Governor Yahaya Bello as manifested in the attacks on him by thugs working for the executive on Tuesday when the House of Assembly was invaded.
There was an invasion of Kogi State House of Assembly on Tuesday where you were brutally assaulted with injuries all over you. Can you explain what really happened?
Following court judgment which recalled me from suspension, I was scheduled to resume sitting sometime last week, but because the House was resuming from recess, I decided to tarry till that fateful Tuesday. Upon my resumption, all my colleagues irrespective of party differences received me with fun-fare with exception of Honourable Ahmed Ahmed representing Ankpa state constituency and Abdullahi Balogun representing Ajaokuta of Ajaokuta constituency.
Those are the two major thugs in the House working for Governor Yahaya Bello because each time I raised state matters of urgent importance, they would oppose.
They were the ones always attacking other members at executive session and are always violent. Any issue that has to do with state government especially the ill-fated non-payment of workers’ salaries viz-a-viz the two previous Paris club, they would threaten everybody.
Then it did not go down well with Kogi State governor that I raised a motion as a minority leader, that the governor has no reason for not paying workers since there was Paris Club refunds. He used them against the House which eventually suspended me and the rest is now history.
Having resumed from long recess on Tuesday last week, which I was not present, the House passed a resolution that circumstances surrounding non-payment of workers salaries was becoming an embarrassment to the state, hence, the decision to invite the state Accountant-General, the Attorney-General, Auditor-General, Commissioner for Finance and other organs of government to explain how Paris Club refunds were utilized.
So when we all resumed on Tuesday, we had executive session peacefully before we proceeded for the normal sitting with the Accountant-General already in the House. While in the chambers, we began to see certain faces all over the place and some were focusing on where I was seated. Before you know it, my vehicle which was packed on the premises was attacked.
At that point, the Assembly decided that anybody without proper I. D. Card should be moved out. The Commissioner of Police who addressed us earlier at the executive session with Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations were still available at that time.
Upon seeing the condition of the car, the CP assured me that the situation would be brought under control, but as he was still talking, a thug which we later identified as Sadiq pushed the CP and said, today they have come to take me away and that whether I like it or not, I will die today.
When the CP ordered his arrest, he ran away and the next thing thugs in their numbers invaded the premises and forcefully gained access to the chambers. At that moment, members began scampering for safety amid flying desks by the thugs. I tried to escape with the Speaker but I was blocked. They said I was the target and with dangerous weapons, they started cutting me and using stones on my head.
While being attacked, some police who came to rescue me were stopped by the ADC to the governor who was also available. The ADC said they should leave those thugs for the House of Assembly belong to them.
That moment, I was already on ground almost unconscious. They rushed back to see if I was dead, and then removed my trouser with the sum of N100,000 in two wraps of N50,000 each.
It was the money that distracted them from harming me further as they began to fight over the money. I then saw the ADC leaving, taking through the back door of the chambers when he saw the boys could not be controlled over money.
So do you suspect that governor Yahaya Bello was behind the attacks?
Certainly, it is clear the governor has directed that I should be killed. The Chief of Staff, Mr. Edward Onoja was there, governor’s ADC was there, the Special Adviser to the governor on Assembly matters, Barrister Haruna Yusuf was there and they were giving directives on who should be attacked. I later learnt that Barrister Yusuf used his official Hilux to convey some thugs to the Assembly and an 18-seater bus with tainted glass (Milk colour) without plate number also brought thugs to the House.
There is no way the governor could deny knowledge of what happened. He directed that I should be killed. We have several videos and pictures to show how ADC and others participated. Even when mobile police wanted to shoot, the ADC confirmed that they are their boys.
Do you think the National Assembly should wade into this unfortunate incident?
Yes, I think we have come to a level where the National Assembly should declare a state of emergency in Kogi state, because there is no government in the state for now. A situation we were managing has deteriorated to an unmanageable level and as you can see, there is no way the Assembly can sit now.
Out of all lawmakers present on that day, can you recall anyone who sustained the degree of injuries similar to the one you sustained?
No, because the target was myself. The target was to take me out of circulation. Maybe some may sustain injuries in the course of flying over the fence for their safety. I cannot emphatically say who and who sustained injuries.
Can you confirm other roles played by Honourable Ahmed Ahmed representing Ankpa 1 state constituency?
He also came with his own thugs and at a point, he went to the gate to screen those to be allowed into the premises. It was to the extent that he even stopped the Speaker from going out and insisted that the Speaker’s vehicle should be searched, so the Speaker was molested on that day.
This seems to be another twist to the saga that plans are afoot to impeach the Speaker.
It could be part of their plans because this is what they have been doing over time and as we speak, the governor is no longer comfortable with Honourable Imam as Speaker of Kogi state House of Assembly. The reason is that the Speaker has refused to dance to his music. Now, there are five members out of 23 lawmakers on the side of executive which may be used to remove the Speaker.
What happened on Tuesday was meant to destroy the Assembly from investigating the Accountant-General who was already in the House. He is right now celebrating over the disruption, because if he had been investigated, the governor would have been thoroughly exposed. They had to stop the investigation which is what they have done.
It seems you are alone in this struggle. Can you vouch for other members on the same party (PDP) platform with you?
I have no reason to doubt any of them in this regard. We are all together and having received me back, they planned a get together for me later this week before the incident.