Hundreds of women on Saturday protested in Aiyetoro-Gbede, Ijumu Local Government of Kogi State, over the reported attempt to kill Sen. Dino Melaye, on April 15. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 gunmen stormed the senator’s house at Aiyetoro-Gbede, in the early hours of the said date, and opened fire from various directions. NAN reports that the entire house was riddled with bullets, while two vehicles parked in the estate were damaged by the hoodlums. Melaye, who was at home for the Easter holidays, however escaped unhurt.
The women, who were armed with placards and leaves, marched through the street leading to the senator’s home, before assembling at a nearby spot where their leaders delivered speeches. The protesters, from the seven local government areas that make up Mr. Melaye’s Kogi West Senatorial District, carried placards some of which read “Touch Dino and face our wrath”, “Don’t kill Dino Melaye” and “Don’t kill the light, let it shine”. Ikusemoro Jalo, one of the speakers, said the solidarity protest was to affirm their support for the senator and condemn the recent attempt on his life. She said:
We are mothers; we don’t want him to be murdered. He is representing us the way we want. We are proud of him because he has made us proud.
She advised the senator not to be cowed by the recent attempt on his life, urging him to continue to fight for the rights of women, workers, pensioners, the oppressed and the repressed. Another speaker, Titi Kayode, said assassination had never been part of politics in Okunland, and described those behind the said attempt on the senator’s life as “enemies of peace and progress”. She called for a quick release of the report of the ongoing investigation into the incident, so that its perpetrators could be brought to justice.
Responding, Mr. Melaye expressed gratitude to the women for their support and prayers, saying he “narrowly escaped death” on the day of the incident.
He cautioned politicians against politics of hatred and bitterness that was gradually gaining ground in Kogi “especially in the past two years”. While noting that political rivalry was normal, he said it should not be allowed to degenerate to assassination and violent attacks. The senator promised to sustain his fight against injustice and delays in the payment of salaries, and declared that attacks and intimidation would not deter him. He said:
God will not forgive me if I keep quiet while my people suffer