Don’t Link Me or Saraki to Crim­i­nal Sus­pects, Kwara Gov Tells IG

Po­lice move an­other eight youths to Abuja

THISDAY - - NEWS - Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Kwara State Gov­er­nor, Al­haji Ab­dul­fa­tah Ahmed, yes­ter­day cau­tioned In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris against link­ing him and Se­nate pres­i­dent, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, with the sus­pected cultists ar­rested in Ilorin, the state cap­i­tal, and trans­ferred by the Nige­ria Po­lice Force to Abuja.

The IG and Saraki last Wed­nes­day traded words over the re­cent or­der to move four out of 17 sus­pected cultists to Nige­ria po­lice force head­quar­ters in Abuja for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the al­leged ac­tiv­i­ties of the cultists in the state.

In a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day by the gov­er­nor’s me­dia aide, Dr. Muyideen Ako­rede, Ahmed said nei­ther him nor the Se­nate pres­i­dent or any of their aides have links with the sus­pected cultists or their al­leged ac­tiv­i­ties.

He also de­nied any knowl­edge of or in­ten­tion to harm any in­di­vid­ual as the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in the state has never used vi­o­lence as a po­lit­i­cal tool.

The state­ment re­ferred the pub­lic to the pa­rade of the sus­pects by the state com­mis­sioner of po­lice, Mr. Aminu Pai Saleh, on May 10, 2018, in Ilorin, dur­ing which he an­nounced that the sus­pects were ar­rested for al­leged mur­der and mem­ber­ship of cult groups but made no men­tion of any con­fes­sional state­ment link­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties to any spon­sors.

Ahmed de­scribed the al­leged killings as the out­come of clashes be­tween ri­val cults in the state as most vic­tims have been iden­ti­fied by se­cu­rity agen­cies as mem­bers of cult groups.

The gov­er­nor em­pha­sised that the grow­ing prob­lem of cultism and cult-re­lated crim­i­nal­i­ties formed the ba­sis of his charge to the new Kwara State Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Saleh, to fo­cus on end­ing the men­ace on his re­sump­tion last month.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the state gov­ern­ment sees cultism as a se­ri­ous se­cu­rity is­sue re­quir­ing ur­gent at­ten­tion.”

He said the gov­ern­ment has ac­cord­ingly amended the state cultism law to pre­scribe stiffer penal­ties for con­victs and those who aid and abet them, be­sides pro­vid­ing op­er­a­tional sup­port to all se­cu­rity agen­cies in the state in their fight against all forms of crim­i­nal­i­ties, in­clud­ing cultism.

Ahmed warned that cultism is a se­ri­ous se­cu­rity chal­lenge which should nei­ther be triv­i­alised and turned into a po­lit­i­cal tool nor be treated with lev­ity.

He urged well-mean­ing Nige­ri­ans to dis­re­gard any at­tempt to politi­cise the men­ace of cultism but fo­cus in­stead on join­ing hands with the gov­ern­ment and se­cu­rity agen­cies to bring the men­ace to an end in the in­ter­est of pub­lic safety while al­low­ing the rule of law and jus­tice to pre­vail in the mat­ter.

Mean­while, some All Pro­gres­sives Congress ( APC) youths in Kwara South se­na­to­rial dis­trict of Kwara State yes­ter­day raised the alarm over al­leged in­tim­i­da­tion of its mem­bers by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as a re­sult of the out­come of the just con­cluded ward con­gresses held in the state.

Al­ready, they claimed eight per­sons in­clud­ing the youths leader of the Ire­po­dun Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Coun­cil, Hon. Sam­son Bada, the Speaker of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment who is also Chair­man, Coun­cil­lors Fo­rum in the state, Hon. Habeeb Ab­dulka­dir, among oth­ers have been ar­rested, de­tained and moved to Nige­ria po­lice head­quar­ters, Abuja for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence in Ilorin yes­ter­day, the youths leader of the se­na­to­rial dis­trict, Mr. Tomiwa Ko­la­wole, ac­cused the min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture, Al­haji Lai Muhammed of the brain be­hind the ar­rest of his mem­bers.

He said the min­is­ter vis­ited the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice in Abuja on Mon­day where he al­legedly or­ches­trated the ar­rest of his mem­bers.

Muhammed, ac­cord­ing to him, was said to be an­gry over the dis­mal per­for­mance of his can­di­date in the last ward congress in the state where his can­di­date scored 36 votes while the Saraki’s can­di­date scored 453 votes dur­ing the Oro Ward 2 in Ire­po­dun Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Coun­cil of the state.

In his re­ac­tion yes­ter­day, Muhammed de­nied the al­le­ga­tion. In a state­ment is­sued and made avail­able to jour­nal­ists in Ilorin, the min­is­ter said, “the ar­rest has noth­ing to do with the ward congress in his home­town of Oro. Af­ter all, sus­pected cultists were also re­cently ar­rested and pa­raded by the po­lice in Ilorin.”

He said the po­lice, in the ex­er­cise of its con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity, do not need to be goaded by any­one to carry out ar­rests where nec­es­sary.

Con­cern­ing the out­come of the elec­tion in his Oro Ward 2, Muhammed stated that his ob­ser­va­tions on the con­duct of the elec­tion has been made known to the ap­pro­pri­ate party au­thor­i­ties in line with his strong be­lief in the rule of law.

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