Ekiti Poll: Police to cut hands of ballot box snatchers


Ahead of Saturday Governorship Election in Ekiti State, the police have said anyone who attempts to snatch the ballot box will have his hands cut off.

A deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Habilal Joshak, stated this yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, while addressing journalists, adding that his men not to work for any political party, saying any police officer found doing so would be punished.

“Those who want to create votes where votes are going to be bought will be disappointed. We are not going to allow it,” he said.

“If you cast your votes, you can keep a distance and protect your votes, but if you snatch the ballot, we will cut off your hands, if you run with it, we will stop your legs.

“If you come out with masquerade on the day of election, we will get it arrested and unmask the man behind it.

“My men will be civil, so people are free to come out to vote. Nobody will be harassed, that is not part of our duties.

“Our duty is to secure not only the electoral materials but all the citizens. We are going to be professional and watchful, because we don’t want to be bedevilled with cases of hooliganism, ballot snatching and hate speeches before, during and after this election.”

In a related development, Joshak, said the security details of Governor Ayodele Fayose and the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi will be withdrawn ahead of the gubernatorial election in Ekiti State.

He said the security details of top politicians have been asked to report at the police headquarters in Ado Ekiti by 6am on Saturday.

“We have contacted them and they have to be here before election commences. This election must not be compromised,” Joshak said.

“They will be documented and whoever defies this will be sanctioned, because they have been contacted.

Joshak said he would work with H.H. Karma, an assistant inspector general of police (AIG), and three commissioners of police — Ali Janga, J.B. Kokumo and G.B. Umar — who he said, will man each of the senatorial districts in the state.

Commenting on the siege laid on the government house, Joshak said: “We are not here to usurp the authority of Governor Fayose. We are not here to rubbish him because he represents the people.

“But we are not going to allow any authorised rally that can trigger violence in the state. You can see that the state is tensed up.

“As law enforcement agent, we must be proactive and take actions that can prevent crisis rather than trying to quell it after it might have broken out.”

…Fayose tear-gassed, cries at rally, says ‘policeman slapped, shot at me’

Police have attacked the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, tear-gassing him yesterday as he attempted to attend a rally ahead of Saturday’s governorship election.

Fayose, who emerged with a neck brace while narrating his ordeal, burst into tears, saying he was slapped, kicked and shot at by the policemen adding that the Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Idris should be held responsible if anything happened to him before Saturday’s election.

“My people, the Lord will fight this battle. The COMPOL MOPOL of Nigeria Police and the AIG ordered that the governor should be killed. I was slapped by a policeman and shot at me but I want you to be of great courage. This battle must be won. This is an army of occupation. I want to stand and remain standing,” he said.

 Though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had secured permission from the police to hold the rally at the pavilion located by the entrance of the Governor’s office, Premium Times gathered the police mobilised its officers and equipment to barricade the venue.

The rally was organised for civil servants from level one to seven, and was billed to further shore up support for the PDP candidate, Kolapo Olusola.

A source who witnessed the exchange between Fayose and the police, said the governor went out and insisted he would enter the venue on the grounds that he had earlier received permission from the police.

“The governor walked to the place, insisting that the rally would hold,” the source said.

“It was then the police started firing gunshots and proceeded to detonate teargas to push the governor and his entourage backwards.”

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations, Habilal Joshak, has explained the role of his officers in the harassment of Fayose.

Joshak said no rally would be allowed any more in the state unless expressly approved by the police.

He denied blocking the entrance of the governor’s office, saying only the road from Fajuyi to the state secretariat was blocked.

“We are not here to usurp the authority of Governor Fayose. We are not here to rubbish him because he represents the people,” said Joshak.

“But we are not going to allow any unauthorised rally that can trigger violence in the state. You can see that the state is tensed up.

“As law enforcement agent, we must be proactive and take actions that can prevent crisis rather than trying to quell it after it might have broken out.”

In a related development, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar,  has admonished the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to douse the tension being generated over the governorship election in Ekiti State.

Abubakar, in a statement, yesterday, also called on the Federal Government to provide same immunity enjoyed by the president to governors.

The statement read, “Having been a beneficiary of such propriety, it is incumbent on the Federal Government not to deprive others of the ladder it was provided by its predecessors.

“Free, fair and credible elections are not a privilege. They are a right! The peaceful congregating of the good people of Ekiti State, be they members of the All Progressive Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or of any other party, must be allowed by the Federal Government.”

 … what we expect on Saturday – UK govt

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has expressed hope for a peaceful, credible and transparent governorship election in Ekiti on Saturday.

Arkwright made the call during a courtesy visit to Gov. Rauf Aregbesola yesterday in Osogbo.

He urged stakeholders not to see the election as a do-or-die affair.

Arkwright, who disclosed that he would be leading other foreign observers to monitor the election on Saturday, said politicians should allow peace to reign in the state before, during and after the election.

The envoy said that he was passionate about Nigeria and understood the terrain of the country well.

He added that the peace and progress of Ekiti during and after the election was important for progress and development of the state.

On the request by Aregbesola for British Government’s investment in agriculture, tourism and mining, Arkwright said UK would work toward supporting the Osun State Government in the sectors.

The British high commissioner, who noted that 90 per cent of cocoa in the world came from Africa, said it was sad that the continent could only enjoy 10 per cent of the production.

Speaking, Aregbesola, who noted that the state was the second largest cocoa producer in Africa, with huge cocoa plantation, sought for British Government investment in cocoa production.

Aregbesola also urged the British high commissioner to help the state to attract investors for gold mining and tourism.

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