News & Current Affairs

Remembering Salome Acheje Abuh

By Azeezat Okunlola | Nov 18, 2022

The Woman Leader of Engineer Musa Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Mrs Acheju Abuh, was allegedly burned alive in her house by suspected political thugs on November 16, adding a deadly new dimension to the violence that had punctuated gubernatorial votes in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

In a statement, Mr Faruk Adejoh-Audu, Head of Communications for the Wada/Aro Campaign Council, said that the crime was committed by euphoric supporters of the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, and thugs celebrating Bello's win.

He stated that thugs, screaming GYB 4+4, and firing randomly, "arrived Mrs Abuh’s house at about 2 pm, surrounded the house, and shut every entry and exit from outside. They then poured petrol on the building and set it ablaze as other terrorized locals watched from hiding.

She apparently tried to escape via a window but was thwarted by the burglary proof, with gunfire pouring in her way.

"The vicious goons waited, firing and watching with glee as Mrs Abuh wailed from within the flames until her voice faded out. They allegedly fled only after the whole house and Mrs Abuh had been reduced to ashes," he added.

The Police in Kogi verified the occurrence, just as the Kogi State Government denounced the barbaric conduct and urged a quick investigation.

The Kogi State Police Command verified the event via its Public Relations Officer, DSP William Aya, in a statement, headed “Culpable homicide/mischief by fire,” said:

“On 18/11/2019 at about 1630hrs, one Musa Ety of Ochadamu, Ofu LGA reported at the station that at about 10:30 of same date, there was a misunderstanding between one Awolu Zekeri, aged 35 years, member of APC and one Gowon Simeon, a member of PDP, both of Ochadamu, in the process Gowon Simeon stabbed Awolu Zekeri with a knife on his lap, he died on his way to the hospital.

“As a result, angry youths in the area mobilized to the house of one Simeon Abuh of same address who is an uncle to the suspect, set it ablaze, and burnt one Salome Abuh, aged 60 years.”

Aya claimed three other homes were likewise torched, adding that the body had been transported to the University Teaching Hospital Mortuary, Anyigba, for examination.

He added that the Police Mobile Force and Police Special Forces had been sent to the area to avoid further breakdown of law and order, while investigation into the situation proceeded.

Mrs Abuh was put to rest amid tears and wailings by families, friends and acquaintances at her village, Aji-Obala, Ofu Local Government Area.

The spouse of the dead, Simeon Abuh, in a tribute, claimed that his late wife had paid the greatest price for the unity of Igalaland.

He hailed her as “a martyr, whose political sagacity will remain fresh in the mind of her associates”.

The candidate of the PDP in the November 16 gubernatorial election in Kogi State, Musa Wada, claimed that the late Salome Abuh died for Kogi and Igala country as a whole.

Mr Wada committed to keep her legacy alive by maintaining focus on efforts to free the people of the state from the clutches of oppressors.

He stated that no amount of intimidation and harassment could stop him from retrieving the stolen mandate freely handed to him on November 16.

Margaret Omoniyi, the State PDP Woman Leader, characterized the late Salome Abuh as a vivacious person, and a passionate and versatile politician. She advised the children of the dead to follow her footsteps by maintaining her excellent legacy.

In 2021, a high court in Idah, Kogi State sentenced Ocholi Edicha to 12 years and six months in prison over his involvement in the killing of Mrs Abuh.

Cases like that of Salome is not the only one there is concerning violence against women in political spaces over the years and in recent times, where justice is never attained, and that is why a program was led by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to create a list of interventions dedicated to ending violence against women in politics and was gotten from feedback and input from many people dedicated to promoting women’s political participation and protecting online democratic spaces.

The interventions were developed and revised in partnership with Kat Lo of Meedan and with input from other leading experts on this issue, including Ona Caritos, Tracy Chou, Nighat Dad, Nina Jankowicz, Fernanda Martins Sousa, Document Women CEO Kiki Mordi, Sarah Oh, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, and Amalia Toledo.

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