Musa Tanimu Nasidi
Kogi State Deputy Governor, Elder Simon Achuba reportedly aided the vandalization of a property located between his office and the popular Basil Palace along Salihu Ibrahim road, GRA, Lokoja.
The vandals, who stormed the area in the early hours of Friday, demolished the fence, smashed the apartment’s windows and threatened to harm the residents. The disputed property, a 4-bedroom apartment built on a choice plot that shares fence with Kogi State Deputy Governor’s office.
It was gathered that the immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, Arc. Yomi Awoniyi made attempts to acquire the property but was unwilling to pay the asking price. The property was later sold to Alhaji Mohammed Danladi, the owner of Basil Palace. Few months after, it was reported that Achuba bought the property for 35million Naira. He was allegedly scammed by the widow of the deceased former owner. Unconfirmed reports said Achuba bought the disputed property on behalf of the state government through a company owned by his younger brother.
A source said Achuba collected over a hundred million naira from the state government for the purchase of the property. He said when the number two man in the state learnt that he might have been scammed, he resorted to illegal use of force and intimidation. He reportedly deployed three truck loads of security men to arrest and detain the other claimant, Mohammed Danladi on Friday. He also ordered supply of construction materials to the site.
It will be recalled that four months ago, a Lokoja based human rights lawyer, Barrister S. A. Abbass wrote petition against Achuba over alleged intimidation, harassment, incessant disturbance of his client, Danladi.
In the petition addressed to Kogi Commissioner of Police, the human rights lawyer stated that Achuba has taken several criminal actions against Danladi and his family and boasted that he can do whatever he likes without consequences.
“Sometime in October, 2016 the Deputy Governor went to our client’s business premises, asking our client to give up possession of a certain house, that he (the Deputy Governor) had purchased same. Our client told him that he was in lawful occupation of the said house and further advised the Deputy Governor to in any case, pass through the proper channel if he indeed has any valid claim to the said house. However, this did not go down well with His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, as he started raising his voice and threatening to deal with our client if he did not give up the said premises.
“These acts of intimidation, threat to life, reckless abuse of office, highhandedness oppression and infraction of our client’s fundamental rights by the Deputy Governor has become frequent and unbearable. For instance sir, on the 6thday of June, 2017, the Deputy Governor sent to our client’s premises mobile policemen to further intimidate and frustrate our client and disrupt his business activities.
“In addition, on the 9th day of June, 2017, the Deputy Governor again sent to our client’s premises about ten (10) officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SAS) to intimidate our client and on this occasion, the said SARS officers arrested about six (6) young innocent citizens who had gone to transact lawful and legitimate business of supplying rams to our client. Sir, these innocent Nigerians were detained and labeled ‘Boko Haram Members’.
“In the light of the foregoing, we respectfully request you to use your good offices to investigate the criminal actions and activities of and bring him to justice expeditiously.
“While we agree with Achuba that he is ‘a big man’, we are very certain that the Law, the Nigeria Police Force and the Criminal Justice System are bigger and more powerful than him,” the petition read.
There are indications that Danladi will sue Achuba next week as Police rounds up their investigation on the matter.