KWARA DENIES CLAMPDOWN ON OPPOSITION
Aspirant alleges threat to life
THE Kwara State government yesterday denied claims by the opposition in the state that it is using the police to its advantage in order to gag the voice of opposition in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, Ben Duntoye, issued the denial in response to last weekend's claims by the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kwara, Iyiola Oyedepo, that the government wanted to silence the opposition using the police by way of arrest, intimidation and prosecution.
Meanwhile, a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Sunday Adebayo Babalola, has alleged a threat to his life, linking it with his bid.
According to a statement he issued yesterday in Ilorin, Babalola said the threat came through a telephone call he received on Monday at about 4:38p.m.
The aspirant stated that a female voice on the phone told him to beef up his security arrangements, as strange people would soon visit his hotel room later that night.
He added that his caller rebuffed his enquiries on the mission of the visitors and the identity of the caller as the female caller hung the phone on him.
The politician said he immediately reported the incident at the office of the State Security Service (SSS) in Ilorin, where he was asked to write a statement.
He has also lodged a complaint at the state police command headquarters where he received two policemen to guard him while he was advised to relocate from his current
According to Duntoye at a media briefing in Ilorin, the state government, which ordinarily does not have a control over the police, would not interfere in the daily operations of the police especially when such could involve breach of peace and security.
Following the violence that marred the conduct of elections into Offa Local Council on Saturday, October 30 this year, the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) announced the cancellation of the polls.
In the process many suspects were arrested by the police and are currently being prosecuted in court.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Kwara Assistant, Dabo Ezekiel, had justified the arrest as a way of 'ensuring peace and to serve as a warning that the police would not condone violence under whatever guise.'
But Oyedepo claimed that 'only the ACN members are being prosecuted while those who truly caused the mayhem in Offa are walking the streets free. I mean the members of the ruling People's Democratic Party. This is unfair because opposition is part and parcel of democracy.'
But the commissioner said: 'I wish to state unequivocally that the ACN's allegations are baseless and ridiculous as there is no iota of truth in the allegations and as such should be discarded by the public with all sense of responsibility.
'The arrest of the ACN members believed to have unleashed terror in Offa during the council polls had nothing to do with the state government. The police authority was only performing its duty by arresting and prosecuting electoral offenders.'
Duntoye charged residents on peaceful relationship irrespective of their political affiliation, stressing that the government would not condone violence in Kwara, especially 'now that the general elections are fast approaching.'