The tension and apprehension in Ekiti State reached a feverish peak, weekend, as the Police made mass arrests of those suspected to be behind the orgy of violence in the state. Those arrested will be arraigned today.
Advising troublemakers and their sponsors to have a rethink, the Police high command said in Abuja yesterday that they had appraised the situation of things in Ekiti and given the Commissioner of Police necessary directives to ensure peace.
Force Public Relations Officer, Ag. CP Emmanuel Ojukwu assured that all measures have been put in place to ensure safety and security in the state. According to him, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in-charge of Zone 11 has taken charge and more mobile policemen have been drafted to the state.
“We have obviously made some arrests but I cannot give you more details on that. They will be taken to court tomorrow (Today),” he added.
Security men prevent reprisal attack
Indeed, following the mass protests that greeted the killing of former state chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Chief Omolafe Aderiye, security operatives made up of policemen and soldiers, yesterday, in Ado Ekiti prevented a move by members of a rival union to carry out reprisal attacks.
Aderiye was killed by gunmen suspected to be hired assassins in his office at Ijigbo, Ado Ekiti last Thursday.
As early as 8.30 a.m. yesterday, members of the rival Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, loyal to Chief Rotimi Olabiwonnu whose properties were razed in the wake of the protest had taken over the Ajilosun area in Ado Ekiti with an intention to retaliate the attack on their leader.
But in a pre-emptive move, about 10 pick up vans carrying heavily armed anti-riot policemen and soldiers, were on standby to quell the crisis, which a police source said was successful and timely.
The reprisal attempt, which spread across the state capital forced residents to stay indoors, while those who were on their way to worship centres had to take a detour back home.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Police Command has warned those without any legitimate business in Ekiti State to steer clear or face the full weight of the law if apprehended.
In a statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Victor Babayemi, the state Police Commissioner, Mr Taiwo Lakanu warned those planning to cause crisis in the state to have a rethink, adding that the command had intelligence report that some hoodlums were planning further attacks.
“The State Police Command is in receipt of an intelligence report that some hooligans within the state and their accomplices outside the state are planning to wreak more havoc and disrupt further, the existing fragile peace in the state. Consequently, the Command has placed its men on red alert to prevent these bandits from carrying out their nefarious activities anywhere in the state.
“The Command has equally been empowered to enforce the dusk-to-dawn curfew; hence, residents are also warned to abide, very strictly, with this order”, the CP advised.
PDP alleges plot to cause mayhem
In a separate statement ,Ekiti State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, alleged that another political party is importing thugs from Lagos to cause mayhem in the state under the guise that they are PDP supporters.
Accordingly, PDP Publicity Secretary, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, called on security agencies to be on the look out for the troublemakers. “These thugs will appear in PDP vests and face cap to execute their dastardly act within one month. Certainly, they are likely to have arrived Ekiti by now. They will move about on motorcycle to execute their dastardly act.’’
This came on a day that the Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, accused the security agencies of collaboration in allowing the the crisis to fester instead of nipping it in the bud and former Kwara State Governor, Senator Bukola Saraki berated the Federal Government for keeping mum on the Ekiti matter.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Ayo Fayose, yesterday criticised National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed over his uninformed comments about the Ekiti episode.
Ekiti Violence – Jonathan should provide leadership ——Saraki
Former Governor of Kwara state, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday lashed out at the Federal Government for keeping mum over the political tension in Ekiti state.
He said it is unfortunate that the Presidency has not deemed it fit to act on the development in Ekiti State, a situation he said has further confirmed that the leadership of this country has failed.
Saraki in a chat with Vanguard said if the symbol of a common man which is Court can be diminished and degraded, then the leadership of this country has failed us all.
“The current security situation in Ekiti State today is a big threat to our nascent democracy, political stability and judicial independence and above all, it is an affront to our peaceful co-existence in our immediate environment”.
He went further, “I am personally worried and concerned as a Nigerian and as a stakeholder in the Nigerian polity. Whether the Ekiti State cris is is APC or PDP driven or whether it is as a result of an act of commission or omission and or whether it is government, group of people or individually driven, I must say without any ambiguity that what has happened in Ekiti State in the last few days is totally unacceptable and should be dealt with immediately and decisively too”.
“A situation where the independence of our judiciary and its institutions and office of our respected judicial officials are no more secured and safe to discharge their constitutional responsibility and professional roles respectively is a signal that anarchy is about to set in to our polity and it is unfortunate that at a time when we as a Nation are battling high rate of insecurity and insurgency across the country such assault is being unleashed on a Judge of a High Court on official duty.
“It is appalling that since the attack on one of the High Court judges in Ekiti State, the Presidency and the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has either refused, neglected and or failed to make a formal pronouncement on this unwarranted attack, it is a sign of bad leadership. A precarious situation of this nature should not be sacrifice on political expediency. This is unacceptable”.
Fayose blasts Lai Mohammed over comment
Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has said the call by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that he be arrested over recent political developments in the state was baseless, spurious and came from an ignorant mind.
Speaking in Ado-Ekiti through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, he said Mohammed was fed with lies about the happenings in Ekiti State and that he had exposed himself by commenting in a manner only an ignorant fellow would do.
Adelusi noted that he was not surprised by Mohammed’s outburst because he, like other APC leaders, were sad as their efforts to launch a judicial coup failed woefully on Monday.
“We Yoruba people have a saying that ‘inu a bimo ku ki idun ( somebody who gave birth and lost the child would not be happy). Having snatched people’s mandate through the back door, not once but twice, to rule states where they did not win elections, the APC and its leaders thought that is the best way to secure electoral victory.
“They did those things in the past through ‘Salamic’ judgments and were hoping for a repeat performance in Ekiti State after the people rejected them with Mr Ayo Fayose trouncing their candidate. Their evil plan to use compromised judicial officers last Monday to steal the people’s mandate was scuttled by the vigilant voters who freely gave their mandate to Fayose. Their game plan was to do another ‘Salamic’ abracadabra and get the inauguration of the governor-elect aborted. They were planning to get the Speaker of the House of Assembly inaugurated as acting governor. People from Gboyin Local Government where Speaker Adewale Omirin hails from were already jubilating.
“God, in His mercies, exposed them and for Lai Mohammed to put the blame on Fayose smacks of ‘bad belle’ and malice,” he said.
The CPS opined that the two suits brought before an Ado-Ekiti High Court by a group, the E-11 were pre-election matters and that the issue of the jurisdiction of the court was being contested.
ARG accuses security agencies of ‘deliberate collaboration’
THE Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has berated the security agencies for allowing expressed concerned a needless and preventable violence to degenerate into anarchy in Ekiti State.
In a statement issued by its Chairman, Olawale Oshun, yesterday, it said there is no justification for the transition of the state within just one week, from a peaceful community to that of chaos.
The ARG said the two sequential attacks on judicial officers were pernicious in intent because the first incident ought to have served as premonition for a non-partisan security agency to take charge and arrest the situation.
Said Oshun: “Not in any report did we read that the hoodlums attacked security officers. Rather, the attacks were targeted against unarmed civilians and judicial officials, right in the presence of security operatives. These are clear indications of deliberate negligence, if not collaboration, by security operatives,” the statement said.
“That a handful of hoodlums, clearly under manipulation, successfully halted judicial proceedings in a lawful and legally-constituted court of law is appalling. It is a barefaced signal that ‘might is right’ and that hoodlums will now be the dispenser of justice in a civilised society. These acts are blatant disregard of the judiciary and an assault on the collective civility of all Yoruba people.”
The group continued: “Rumour has been rife that desperate politicians, with the backing of Federal Government, as part of their untoward plan to win 2015 Presidential Election by all means, are seeking any opportunity to foment mayhem in the South-west. The failures of security operatives to nip the courtroom crises in the bud lend credence to this rumour and it shows a different signal from President Jonathan’s recently publicised commitment to security at UN General Assembly.”
“ARG would like to remind these desperadoes that treacherous politicians have never amounted to anything good in Yoruba land, whatever their short gain may be. This disregard of a key element of governance has no place in Yoruba land; it shall be uprooted the same way previous attempts were resisted. We want to remind them that such intimidation and violation of Rule of Law have always made the Yoruba race stronger, resulting in substantial gain for the populace.”
“ARG reiterates that, for Nigeria to survive current besetting crises, national institutions must remain truly national, not only in structure, but also in operations. They must not become toothless or be rendered ineffective at the whim of those who may wish to deploy them for selfish purposes.”
It called on the Acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to take urgent steps to restore faith in the Police by bringing all violators of the peace of our people to justice.