The Nigeria Police Force has reacted to Senate President Bukola Saraki’s statement that his life was in danger by declaring that the security detail attached to him, his office and family is intact, adding that the force is ready to accord him round-the-clock protection.
Force PRO, Jimoh Moshood, made this statement in Abuja yesterday in reaction to a comment in the media credited to the Senate President on the recent political developments in Kwara State where Saraki called upon “…the entire world to hold the IGP responsible if anything untoward happens to members of my family and myself”.
Saraki, who is the director-general of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO), had yesterday called an emergency press conference at the headquarters of the PPCO, also called Legacy House, where he raised an alarm on a threat to his life over continued police hostility and said the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, should be held responsible if anything happened to him.
But the Force has rejected such insinuation, noting that before now there had been no complaint from the Senate President to the police about any alleged plan to attack him or any member of his family.
Moshood said: “the Nigeria Police Force wishes to categorically state that all the allegations in the statement of the Senate President are incorrect, misleading and false and should be disregarded and discountenanced by the general public.
“The Nigeria Police Force did not give any protection to any political thug or shield any APC thug to go to family quarters of the Senate President in Agbaji, Ilorin, and vandalize houses, shops and inflict wounds with machete on three people as claimed by the Senate President. The Police did not receive any complaint or report of gunshot and wounding as claimed by the Senate President in other areas he mentioned such as Adewole/Adeta, Ile-otan and Ubandawaki/pakata.
“For avoidance of doubt, there was no complaint reported at any Police division within Ilorin metropolis or any other Police Division on the 10th January, 2019 to today 11th January, 2019 of any attack, wounding, shooting and destruction of any property by any individual(s) or any political party on their members. However, security within Ilorin metropolis and other locations in Kwara State has been beefed-up to ensure security of all Nigerians living in the state.”
The Force PRO added that the police authorities wished to correct the wrong impressions that must have been created in the minds of the general public and the international community by the misinformation and misleading comment of the Senate president.
He further debunked Saraki’s allegation that the Inspector General of Police tried to implicate him in the Offa bank robbery, saying the facts were well known to the public.
But speaking during the press conference, the Senate president decried the developments in his home, Kwara State, accusing security agencies of giving cover to people who were unleashing violence on the people for supporting the PDP in the state.
He said, “The police have continued to show undisguised hostility to me and my supporters in Kwara State, and this latest round of violence is part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine my personal security and that of my immediate and larger family.
“Three incidents will illustrate what I am saying to you. Yesterday, after the APC concluded their campaigns in Ilorin, some of their supporters and thugs moved around town and in areas like Adewole/Adeta, Ile Otan and Ubandawaki/Pakata where they saw our people gathered holding their weekly ward meetings. They disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded by mentioning our own slogan, they fired gunshots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta. They also inflicted machete cuts on some of them. As a result of this attack, two people suffered bullet wounds.
“Also yesterday, these same APC thugs shielded by policemen went to my family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin, and vandalised houses, shops and inflicted wounds with machete cuts on three people.
“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people.
“For me, personally, I believe the decision to attack people and properties in my family’s ancestral compound is a direct affront and attack on my person. And whatever signal these APC elements with support from the police believe they are sending is definitely sinister, uncivilized and unfortunate.
“Our people have filed reports of the incidents in relevant police stations in Ilorin but we have doubts that anything tangible and constructive will come out of these reports.
“The same Police under the directive of Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotum Idris yesterday commenced the transfer of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) out of Kwara State. While the police are free to take decisions on the deployment of their personnel, we found the postings in Kwara State strange and more than a mere coincidence.”
Saraki noted that the IGP had posted three different commissioners of police to Kwara State in the last six months, adding that the previous and current commissioner of police in the state got strict instructions from the IGP not to relate or engage with him (Saraki).
He remarked that the usual practice was that the commissioner of police personally ensured the security of the Senate president whenever he visited his home state, but that is not the case now.
Saraki went on: “We need to make it clear to the entire world that now that ward to ward campaign is about to begin in the state and I am set to participate in that grassroots campaign as I have always done, nobody is sure what instructions Mr. Idris has given to the police command in the state. Thus, the entire world should hold the IGP responsible if anything untoward happens to members of my family and myself.
“Do not forget that, before now, this same IGP has tried several tricks to implicate me in some criminal charges. First, he arrested some cultists and was about to compel them to claim they worked for me. We exposed the trick early enough and the media also pointed out holes in his story. He quickly withdrew that.
“Later, he went on to the Offa robbery case and politicized the investigation in order to rope me in. In the process of forcing suspects to implicate me, the principal suspect died in their custody. He has also not succeeded with that plot. Who knows what else he may have planned. Now, that full campaign is on, which requires my going round, I want the world to hold him personally responsible if anything happens to me.”
“It is important for Nigerians and members of the international community to note that this IGP, Idris Ibrahim does not believe his job is to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious and cultural belief.
“A situation where political thugs and operatives attack opponents of the APC under the watch and protection of law enforcement agents does not present Nigeria well in the comity of nations.”
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