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Kwara :ACN Ask IG To Call Policemen to Order

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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, to call his men to order in Kwara state, where the police are being used by the state government to instigate violence and harass innocent ACN members during  and after the Oct. 30th council polls in the state.   In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also warned the state government to desist from its current tactics of deliberately fomenting trouble in Offa local government to brighten its poor electoral chances in the area, ahead of a possible re-run council poll there.     The ACN said the current mass arrest and arraignment of its members in Offa, in the aftermath of the Oct. 30th local government poll, by the PDP using the machinery of the Kwara government, and the connivance of the police, has already created tension and panic in the area.  

  ''It is common knowledge that widespread rigging and violence were perpetrated by PDP thugs, led by the police, during the local government election across Kwara. In the process, lives were lost. But our people in Offa resisted them.  

  ''The election was subsequently cancelled and an inquiry set up, and our people rightly fingered PDP thugs and the police as being behind the ballot-snatching and mayhem. On Thursday, they (ACN members) were invited to Ilorin ostensibly to meet with the Commissioner of Police. But instead, they were arrested, arraigned in court and detained. The PDP thugs who perpetrated the violence and attacked our members were not even invited for questioning!  

  ''To make matters worse, the police, at the behest of the state government, have been going from house to house in Offa to pick known stalwarts of the ACN. This is to weaken our supporters and members in Offa and give the PDP an unfair advantage whenever the election is held again. Of course most of those arrested are those known to be planning to contest elections next year, This is a crude way of giving an unfair advantage to the PDP,'' the party said.  

  It wondered what message the police force was sending to all Nigerians about its role in the 2011 elections, if it can so easily allow itself to be used to harass and intimidate the opposition in Kwara.  

  ''Our party, the ACN, is known to be a peaceful party. We have set a precedence in using legal action, instead of self help, to resolve any electoral issue. But there is a limit to which innocent people can be harassed by a party seeking an unfair advantage in the polls. It is even worse off when the police force, which is expected to be neutral, decides to align with one of the parties.  

  ''We are therefore left with no option than to call on the police hierarchy to order its men in Kwara to act professionally and fairly, so as not to send a wrong signal to all Nigerians and the international community about the role of the police in the 2011 general elections,'' ACN said.