…as APC thugs attack Saraki’s ancestral home in Ilorin
*Senate President visits victims, says attack gimmick to postpone poll, calls for calm
*Arrest, prosecute perpetrators in 48hrs – PDP tells police
*Police yet to make arrest as CP reacts
By Mumini AbdulKareem and Ahmed Ajikobi
Agbaji, Ilorin family quarters of the Senate President and national leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Bukola Saraki, came under severe attack yesterday as factional members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to its governorship candidate, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq unleashed mayhem on the residents.
The rampaging thugs, who were said to have invaded the community around 11:30am, caused pandemonium when they reportedly opened fire on residents. To avoid being hit by the bullets, motorists and passers-by were said to have scampered for safety.
It was gathered that the hoodlums, who also attacked a mosque in the area, went on a looting spree of shops and residential houses, carting away expensive phones, jewelry, cash, four motorcycles and other valuables in the process.
By the time the dust settled about three hours later, the attack left in its wake, two teenagers with gunshot wounds and 11 others seriously injured. Also, no fewer than 50 vehicles parked within the Agbaji quarters were badly damaged with several other properties destroyed in the process.
It would be recalled that suspected APC thugs last Thursday, unleashed terror on the people of Agbaji, Adewole and Pakata areas of the state capital, leaving four members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) injured.
When National Pilot visited the area, bullet holes were seen on the walls and glasses of a storey building in the quarters.
Speaking on yesterday’s incidence, an eye witness said the two teenagers hit by the bullets were subsequently rushed to the hospital as the suspected hoodlums also attacked residents of Ajikobi, Omoda, Ode Alausa and Popo Igbona areas of the metropolis.
The eyewitness, who simply identified himself as Tajudeen at Ode-Alausa, gave the name of one of the gunshot victims as Abubakar, adding that he is currently receiving treatment at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH).
Another resident of Popo-Igbona, who gave his name as Ladi told our reporter that the second victim was one Taiye Hassan.
Ladi said, “Taiye was watching the incident like every other residents when we saw them (the hoodlums) approaching; we took to our heels. In the process, Taiye was hit by the bullet. He tried to run but got weak and fell down. We thought he had died. He was however rushed to the hospital and currently receiving treatment at the intensive care unit.”
Those who spoke with this medium on the issue accused a gubernatorial aspirant, Amb. Yahaya Seriki and Kwara Central senatorial contestant under the APC, Comrade Musbaudeen Esinrogunjo of leading the onslaught.
The Senate President after being informed about the incident hurriedly returned to Ilorin from Erin-Ile, Oyun Local Government Area of the state where he had gone to address a political rally, to sympathise with the victims.
Saraki, during his visit to Agbaji quarters, assessed the level of damage done to property by the rampaging APC thugs and urged his people to remain calm and not be provoked into retaliation or reprisal attack.
According to Saraki, the attack was a ploy to cause the cancellation of the 2019 election in order to isolate it till a time that would be convenient for the presidency to use security apparatus to intimidate the people of the state.
The Senate President, who trekked long distance to assess the level of destruction, assured his people that their protection and safety is in the hands of God.
Saraki added that the unfortunate incident of yesterday had justified his earlier claim that there were threats to his life, his family and supporters.
He thanked them for remaining steadfast in their support for the Saraki political dynasty and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even as he announced the donation of N30million to the affected residents.
The Senate President had driven straight to the General Hospital, Ilorin from Erin- Ile to sympathise with the victims on their hospital bed.
Saraki was accompanied on the visits by the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad and other PDP stalwarts in the state.
Reacting to the incident, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed through a post on his Facebook page said he was disturbed by the action of the APC, noting that campaigns should be about ideas and not violence.
“I am disturbed by news of recent political violence in Ilorin. Campaigns should be about ideas, not violence. All concerned must avoid actions that can rupture peace of our state and threaten its security. Security agents are to secure lives and property and prosecute offenders.”
Also, in a tweet on his twitter handle @Atunwa_1, yesterday, the PDP governorship candidate, Razak Atunwa wrote; “The wanton violence unleashed by the APC in Ilorin today is despicable and utterly condemnable. The police and other security agencies should not be onlookers in this series of criminal acts where innocent citizens are shot and properties destroyed.”
Speaking on the incident, the President of Agbaji Development Association, Alhaji Musa Olanrewaju Yusuf, who also accused Seriki and Esinrogunjo of leading the attack described the incident as clear brigandage.
He said “The APC thugs came around 11:30am and shot sporadically into the air. In fact, they were provided cover by the DPO Adewole Division of Police. At least, 11 people received injuries from gunshots while about 50 cars including that of Imam Aliagan were destroyed.
“The thugs also carted away four motorbikes and stole money and jewelry from shops deserted by their owners”.
On his part, the Director General of the PDP campaign council in the state, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, who described the incident a sign of defeat by the APC said the orgy of violence was being perpetrated by the party leaders in the state to instil fear into the minds of residents ahead of the general elections, having discovered that Kwarans have rejected them.
In a press conference held at his Mandate Office, Olorunshogo, Ilorin, Prof Abubakar called on called on security agencies in the state to within 48hours arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of both yesterday and Thursday violence in Ilorin.
He urged the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar to protect the peace loving people of Kwara adding that any attempt to force the postponement of the election would not work.
Abubakar listed victims of the attack as “Alhaji Ambali Babatunde of Adeta area, Yusuf Ahmed of Kuntu area, Rasaq Agbaji of Ita-Ogungbo and Kamaldeen Adio who were macheted and Azeez Layeri of Ode Alfa Nda area who was knocked down with bricks.
Speaking further, he said, the defunct APC members carried out the inimical act as a way of intimidating the PDP adding that the party will not fold its arms and watch some dissident unleashed terror on hapless citizens.
He said the PDP is on ground and not scared of any election and appeal to security agencies especially the police to be on top of the situation adding that a situation where police will be escorting the hoodlums to raid houses and maim people is no civil.
Meanwhile the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Tunde Ashaolu, said the occurrence had validated the alarm raised by the Senate President on threat to his life, his family and supporters, “which the police made futile efforts to debunk”.
Police yet to make arrest as CP reacts
Reacting to reports that the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, led and provided security cover for the suspected APC thugs, who carried out the attack in Agbaji, the police boss denied the allegation.
In a telephone chat last night, Makama said that he was never part of the incident adding that he knows nothing about it. He however directed our reporter to the Police Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi who said the allegation was untrue.
He added that, “no arrest has been made in connection with the incident” adding that the command is working on that.
But in a statement last night signed by the Police Commissioner and forwarded to this medium, Makama warned political parties in the state of the consequences of not giving the Command 48 hours notice before embarking on campaigns and processions, “in order to prevent any untoward incident and from being hijacked by hoodlums.
According to the statement, “It is very disheartening to note that in spite of series of meetings held by the command and politicians where far reaching issues of security were discussed, especially the need to apply for security cover during campaigns, some political parties were still going about their campaigns and processions without such requirements.
“Parties are also advised to make use of opportunity provided by the law courts in enforcing any perceived court judgement rather than resort to self help in execution of such court orders.
“The Police Command will not fold its arms while some disgruntled politicians who through their actions try to truncate the peace and harmony currently being enjoyed in the state.
“Parents and guardians are advised to keep watch and call their children and wards to order from possessions of unauthorised fire arms and any other dangerous weapons during campaigns. Party supporters and loyalists should know that going around with fire arms during campaigns is a criminal offence and the Command is fully prepared to deal with any person or group of persons arrested in accordance with the law.
“Parties still moving around campaigning without applying for security are doing so at their own peril. Any person arrested in connection with disruption of campaigns of any opposing political parties will equally face the wrath of the law’, the statement added.
…attack on masses, portends security danger – Imam Agbaji
The Chief Imam of Agbaji, Sheikh Aminullahi Tantolohun said the attack on the masses incident is a very bad one and portends great danger on the lack of security pervading the land.
Speaking to National Pilot, the Imam described the APC thugs are enemies of the masses.
According to him “This is a very bad incident and the hoodlums engage on a looting spree on of shops and individuals in the area including Solagberu mosques.
‘This shows that we don’t have government and security as they were led by security agencies include the police and Civil Defense, They are telling us that they control the security apparatus in the country but God is our own security and we have reported the matter to Him, those perpetrators should wait for His judgment. This to us is even beyond attack on Saraki or the government of PDP government but the masses. The APC has shown that they don’t mean well for the people they said they want to govern.
…Kwara electorate berate APC
By Mathew Denis/Kayode Adeoti/Mike Adeyemi
The attack on the Agbaji family residence of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki by suspected All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs has continued to generate reactions from electorate in the state.
Speaking with our reporter yesterday, a resident of Asa Dam area of Ilorin, Ibrahim Olaniyi, lamented that the development is not health for the state saying politicians should caution their followers.
Olaniyi who claimed to be supporter of Bashir Bolarinwa faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appealed to the Federal and State governments to peep up security apparatus in Kwara state during the forthcoming election.
He said, “many of members are just too desperate about the election, to me, such will always bring about violence and crisis. Election could be done with shedding blood. Imagine what happened today, we learnt 2 people have been killed in what our leaders called rally. We’ve not entered into real campaign and we’re reaping all these, I fear for kwara state.
Similarly, Abdulhakeem Olanrewaju, who resides at Airport area of Ilorin, said, “It is so unfortunate such devilish act is manifesting before the 2019 general elections. This is a clear sign of security lapses for thugs to injure and vandalise several vehicles without any arrest made.
“I want to call on politicians sponsoring such miscreants to note that there is a greater reward from Allah either negative or positive depending on their deeds.”
For Suraj Abdulmalik, a resident of Pata Oloje area, Ilorin, he decried the development while calling for the APC to be disallowed from participating in the forthcoming election in the state.
” The APC has sworn to defeat the Saraki dynasty in Kwara State. If that will be possible, it can’t be 2019 because the APC is battling crisis.”
Also, a legal practitioner, Lukman Abdulsalam described the incident as unfortunate charged the police to do the needful by bringing the perpetrators to book.