The event which has the theme: "Exploiting Socio-economic and Political Potentials for Sustainable Development" was to take place at the premises of the iconic Ihima Community Secondary School, Obeiba. No sooner had guests and members of the public who started arriving the venue where settling down for the business of the day when these agents of underdevelopment and destruction numbering about 60, invaded the venue brandishing various weapons which resulted to the guests scampering for safety. The miscreants did not only take over the venue, they ensured that no single person was left, thereby bringing an abrupt end to the planned event.
As if that was not enough, the Administrator of the Okehi Local Government reportedly ordered for a crackdown on members of the forum beginning with the arrest of Mr. Amba Ihima at his residence in Oboroke. Mr Amba as at the time of the press statement is still under the detention of the Police.
We have it on good authority that the main purpose of disrupting the event and ordering for the arrest of the members is not unconnected with the believe that the forum is not in support of the administration of the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
The ILF strongly condemns the action of these thugs and their sponsors. We see it as undemocratic act only witnessed in a dictatorial setting.
We also want to put it on record that even though members of ILF or the group as a whole holds the constitutional right to freedom of choice and association, Ihima Liberation Forum, contrary to the misinformation being peddled in Government quarters and the general public, is a non political association of well meaning youths of Ihima cutting across religions, political and clannish divides with a burning desire to take the gospel of peace and development to the nooks and crannies of Ihima land.
It is in furtherance of these objectives that the ILF organised the Ihima Youth Summit as a platform for discussing the peace and progress of Ihima community.
As a law abiding organisation, the forum on the 19th of September written to inform various stakeholders, particularly the security organisations of the planned event. The letter, which were duly acknowledged were addressed to the Administrator of Okehi Local Government, the Commisioner of Police in Kogi state, Okehi Police Area Commander and the Divisional Police Officer as well as the Director of State Security Services at Okehi Local Govt as well as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Indications that the Summit will be disrupted emerged after the submission of the letter informing the Local Government Administrator of the event when the District Security Officer of Okehi LGA, Mr. Yakubu Adams Oziganyi ordered the forum to submit all speeches that would be presented at the summit for vetting and approval as the government will not tolerate any speech critical of the government. Apart from the difficulty in getting the speeches from all the invited guests who were to come from different parts of the country, the ILF saw this as an affront and an attempt to intimidate the forum into oblivion.
We wish to put it on the record that the Ihima Youth Summit was not sponsored by any politician as may have been the fear of the Local and State Government. It is not a summit of political gatherings aimed at promoting any political party against the government. This however does not imply that the Summit cannot raise political awareness of Ihima Youth and encourage political participation amongst them so as to ensure that good governance is enthroned for the benefit off the entire Ihima community.
While we will not be deterred and or allowed to be intimidated in our quest to forge a better future for Ihima people, we urge all youths of Ihima extraction to go about their legitimate businesses in the face of mindless provocation by these agents of underdevelopment. The Ihima Liberation Forum is determined in its resolve to liberate Ihima from the shackles of political, economic and social underdevelopment by promoting peace and unity among the indigenes and inhabitants of Ihima.
The ILF uses this medium to call on our amiable Governor, His Excellency, Yahaya Bello to direct the immediate release of our members who are still in police detention in the aftermath of the botched Ihima Youth Summit.
Credits: Ebira Reporters
Abdullahi Maikasuwa Abduljabar
Ag. President ILF.