Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has promised to tackle the incessant armed robbery and kidnappings in the state by taking the battle to the enclave of the criminals.
Bello’s promise came against the backdrop of several reported cases of kidnappings and armed robbery against judges and judicial officers in the state.
He spoke at a valedictory court session held in honour of the late Justice Tom Yakubu on Friday in Lokoja.
The governor, who was visibly enraged by the death of the Appeal Court justice, said tough times awaited those who would dare to operate in the state, maintaining that his government would never negotiate with criminals.
“My administration will devote all its time to take the fight to the enclave of the criminals.
“We shall take the fight to them and we shall route them out,” he said, adding that their activities on the highways would, from now, be properly checked.
“We are living witnesses to the pockets of crime being perpetrated in some parts of the state; I want to assure you and every citizen in the state that my administration will take the war to them right inside their den anywhere in the state.
“Never again will we allow any kidnapping in the state; all citizens are assured that their safety is guaranteed,’’ he assured.
Bello described the late justice as a fair and astute jurist, with a reputation for honour, integrity, hard work and modesty, saying that he contributed greatly to the development of law and the administration of justice in Nigeria.
“On behalf of the good people of Kogi State and myself, I offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife, children, extended family, community and friends as well as his colleagues at the Court of Appeal.
Also speaking at the occasion, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Alex Iziyon, described the death of the jurist as a gross loss to the bench and that it would take a long time to fill the vacuum.
“His Love for humanity was legendary; his philanthropic spirit was second to none; so also his dedication to duty will remain evergreen in the minds of all who have had encounter with him at one time or the other,’’ Iziyon remarked.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late justice was born on June 12, 1953 in Enjema, Ankpa Local Government area of Kogi.
He served as had served as justice in the Yola, Ekiti, Benin, Enugu and Lagos divisions of the appellate court until his death on Dec. 24, 2019.
His remains will be laid to rest in his country home, Enjema, on Feb. 15.