By EricJames Ochigbo
Abuja – The House of Representatives has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to mandate the Police and other security agencies to apologise to Nigerians over alleged brutality on Ekiti Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance by Rep. Yussuf Tajudeen (PDP-Kogi) at the plenary on Thursday.
The police were said to have on Wednesday interrupted a rally organised by the PDP ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state, and shot guns and teargas canisters to disperse the crowd.
In the process, policemen were alleged to have attacked the governor, a situation that led to injuries on him.
The House condemned what it described as “unwarranted attack and assault’’ on the governor and people of Ekiti by the police and pointed out that it was uncivil and unconstitutional.
It stated that no candidate for election needed the permit of Police or any other agency to campaign within his constituency during the period allowed by relevant laws.
The green chamber urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the Saturday’s election in the state was free and fair.
Moving the motion earlier, Tajudeen had said that few days to Saturday’s elections in the state, policemen barricaded and took over the Ekiti Government House.
He said that the heavily armed security personnel prevented free movement of people in and out of the government house.
According to him, the police men were shooting sporadically with the aim to instil fear in the people ahead of the election.
The legislator said that the police was mandated under the law to prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, preserve and implement laws and protect lives and property.
He said that Nigeria was a democratic state and that the take-over of the government house was an assault on armless civilians.
He said that assaulting citizens did not fall under the duties of the police neither did it comply with the tenets of the Rule of Law.
The lawmaker said that state of affairs playing out in Ekiti portended danger for the country ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He referred to the actions of the police as illegality and constitutional breach which should not be allowed in democracy.
He expressed worry that the police would put a clog in the wheels of progress made by INEC after committing time and resources to ensure a credible election.
Tajudeen said that the actions of the police and denigration of the office of the governor had ridiculed Nigeria in the comity of nations.
He said that urgent steps had to be taken to halt the development and called on security agencies to order to prevent Nigeria’s democracy from failing.
In his contribution, Rep. Michael Adeniyi (PDP-Ondo) said that as representatives of the people, “politicians go to campaign every four years’’.
He said that what happened in Ekiti was an abuse of the people as it was not a crime for the governor to lead people on a rally.
Also, Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) said that the legislature should jealously defend democracy.
He said that the motion bordered on a topic that undermined the principle of democracy in the country.
Chinda said that the incident was a pity and should be condemned by all lovers of democracy.
Rep. Sunday Karimi (PDP-Kogi) said that if Ekiti election was not handled properly, it could spell doom for the country in 2019.
He said that INEC must be free and fair, adding that Ekiti people must be allowed to choose their next governor without fear or intimidation.
However, Rep. Mohammed Mongonu (APC-Borno) stressed the need to listen to all the parties before making judgments.
He said that all that was available to the house were comments in the media, and urged the parliament to investigate the matter.
The house, therefore, mandated all relevant committees to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the matter.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated the committee to report back in two weeks for further legislative actions.