The Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative (CRGI) has written a petition to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the violence that took place last weekend between supporters of the PDP and APC.
The petition signed by Nelson Ekujumi, executive director, reads: “We wish to draw your attention to a matter of urgent national importance as reported in most of the national dailies today Monday 9th June 2014 which is an area of your constitutional responsibility and should be of concern. The issue in question has to do with a publication in page 11 of today Monday 9th June 2014 edition of The Punch newspaper with the heading “One dies as Police attack Fayemi’s supporters”
“Reading through the publication, one is made to understand that the men and officers of the Ekiti state Police command led by one Mr. Gabriel Selenkere, the state Mopol commander attacked and assaulted the convoy of the governor and chief security officer of Ekiti state Dr. Kayode Fayemi and also disrupted a peaceful rally embarked upon by members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti state on Sunday 8th June 2014.
“According to the media report, the police not only fired tear gas at the convoy of the governor, but also undermined his security by assaulting his security detail that was manhandled and almost disarmed. We reliably learnt that the assault was not limited to the convoy of the governor alone as some members of his executive council like the Ekiti state commissioner for integration and civic orientation, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye was physically assaulted by the Mopol commander, Mr. Gabriel Selenkere who punched, kicked and dragged him on the ground and thereafter whisked him away. It was also gathered that one person was killed of which the Ekiti state Police Commissioner, Mr. Felix Uyannah without conducting any preliminary investigation, hastily exonerated his men of being culpable for the murder.
“Constitutionally, the Nigeria Police is empowered to protect life and property and ensure societal peace and orderliness, and so we wonder whose interest the police are serving by being at the forefront of causing breach of public peace and order in utter disregard of the constitution?
“We at the Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative (CRGI) are thus very much concerned that this breakdown of law and order in Ekiti state being precipitated by the Nigeria police Ekiti state command with less than two weeks to the gubernatorial elections portends grave danger to the peaceful and credible conduct of the elections and the safety of electoral officers, media, observers, party agents and the electorate.
“We are also not unmindful of the fact that Vice President Namadi Sambo who publicly stated only recently that the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun state will be war was in Ekiti state on Sunday and might have been the one who mobilized the police to attack and assault a sitting governor and a peaceful rally of a political party which was carried out in observance of the fundamental right to assemble as well as in obeisance to provision of Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended), which reads:- ‘For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.’
“In the light of this development, the Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative (CRGI) is saddened, disturbed and condemns in strong terms this criminal, crude, illegal, reckless and unconstitutional assault and attack by the Nigeria police as led by Mopol commander, Mr. Gabriel Selenkere on the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as represented by the office of the executive governor of Ekiti state and the flagrant violation of the fundamental right to assemble of members of a political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC). We hold the police respponsible for the injured and death of one person.
“We are hereby calling on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to immediately commence investigation into this illegal and unconstitutional assault on the constitution, the fundamental human right of the governor and people of Ekiti state to assemble as well as the right to life of the person killed as guaranteed by the law, with a view to recommending appropriate sanctions.