Ekiti lawmakers raise alarm over strange police deployment to state assembly

Ekiti lawmakers

Ogbonnaiye Francis – Ado-Ekiti

Lawmakers in Ekiti State has raised the alarm over alleged deployment of policemen to the premises of the state house of assembly without official request.

Addressing newsmen at the residence of the speaker, inside the government house, the Speaker of the state assembly, Rt. Hon.  Kola Oluwawole said the anti-riot policemen were deployed around  9 pm on Wednesday.

Oluwawole, who addressed newsmen in company of 17 other members alleged members who defected to All Progressives Congress (APC) before the July 14 governorship election as responsible for the act.

Investigation around the state assembly showed that there was no presence of policemen at the state assembly, but the assembly complex has been put under lock and key.

According to the speaker, one of the defected lawmakers allegedly forged a letter purportedly written by the Clerk, Mr. Tola  Esan and addressed to the  Police Commissioner, Mr. Bello Ahmed, calling for deployment when such was unwarranted.

The former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers; Hon GboyeganAribisogan,  Sunday Akinniyi and Ebenezer Alagbada, decamped to APC due to irreconcilable differences with Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Oluwawole, draw the attention of the public to the antics of the opposition and their alleged resolve to cause confusion in the Assembly, saying there is no legislative duty in the assembly until members resume in October 8, 2018.

The Speaker later ordered indefinite closure of the House pending the time security of lawmakers and staff of the hallowed chamber can be guaranteed.

According to the speaker, the Assembly in a letter dated July 26 and addressed to the police commissioner, CP, had lodged complaint of forgery against Hon Aribisogan, and his call for illicit deployment of policemen in the assembly, describing the action as not only shocking but a travesty in the country ’s democratic history.

He said the Clerk of the House, Mr. Tola Esan, had on July 26 written similar letter, dissociating himself from the letter purportedly written by him requesting police cover at the Assembly, urging the police authority to conduct unfettered investigations into the issue and bring the culprits to justice.

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The Speaker said: “This is strange in democracy, for lawmakers to wake up and see unauthorised police deployment in the legislative arm of government.  On Wednesday at about 9pm, police authority deployed two units of heavily armed policemen to the premises of the assembly.

This came to us as a shock, because we are in recess and such action was unwarranted.

“The Assembly and the Clerk had reacted to a letter purportedly written by the latter calling for police deployment. We have told police authority in clear terms that such document should be treated like a forged document because the Clerk could not have written any official letter without consulting with me, he worked closely with my office as a Speaker.

“Before now, we had it on good authority that police were planning to provide cover for the three defected lawmakers to perpetrate violence in the Assembly and cause confusion as well as endanger the lives of our staff.

“As we speak, the lives of our people are no longer safe, because the police and APC thugs have laid siege to Ekiti Assembly and under this circumstance, our staff are no longer safe and we declare indefinite closure of the Assembly pending the time security can be guaranteed.

“We have not recovered from the harassment and abduction of our members by police during the July 14 election. But let me say expressly that such strange police deployment was unsolicited, unwarranted and ultra vires,” he said.

Speaking later, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Samuel Omotoso, said 23 members of the assembly are behind the Speaker and Governor Fayose.

“As you can see, we have 23 members of PDP out of 26 solidly behind the Speaker and our governor. We hereby pass votes of confidence in their leaderships. We remain unshaken in our resolve to protect democracy.

“You can see that 18 of us are here, but the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Sina Animasaun and Hon. Dada Celilcia, are in Lagos on official assignments, while Hon Titi Owolabi has just lost her hubby, Hon Ojo Ade Fajana is out of the country and Hon Tope Fasanmi travelled with the governor to Abuja, so we are united and strong”.

Effort to get the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Caleb Ikechukwu, to speak on the matter, proved abortive, as his mobile phone was switched off.

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