by Ranti Joseph
The All Progressives Congress on Friday petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over alleged attacks on its members and supporters in Ekiti State by Governor Ayo Fayose and his loyalists.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Bem Angwe, while receiving a copy of the petition in Abuja expressed shock over the weighty allegations against the governor. He assured them that the allegations against the governor would be thoroughly investigated.
The party alleged that with the current wave of attacks on its members in the state, violence free elections could not be guaranteed in the forthcoming polls if the trend was not checked.
The petitioner accused Fayose using thugs to cause political violence in the state. It added that the thugs physically attacked and intimidated opposition personalities in the state. It also alleged that Fayose’s activities were undermining the peace pact recently signed by all presidential candidates in the forthcoming polls, including those of the Peoples Democratic Party, President Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari.
The party said this wave of violence had continued with attendant destruction of property despite the series of complaints lodged with the police for their intervention.
“We are here over the present political situation in Ekiti State. We all Nigerians are busy praying for peace, what we have in Ekiti State is a clear departure from that. As the commission (NHRC) is clamouring for violence free polls, we are aware of the determination of the commission to bring the perpetrators of violence in the polls to book. Unfortunately, the person who is supposed to be the Chief Security Officer in Ekiti State is the person unleashing this violence in the state. Fayose’s boys are always on the streets macheting people, scaring people, vehicles are being damaged, houses damaged in spite of various petitions to the police, nothing has been done,” Ayodele said.
The petition also said Fayose does his things with impunity and nobody challenges him. “With what we have seen so far, we can no longer guarantee violence free elections in Ekiti State. The activities of Fayose are undermining the peace pact signed by our Presidential Candidate Muhammadu Buhari and President Goodluck Jonathan,” he added.
He recalled that on January 21, 2015 alleged Fayose’s thugs and members of the O’odua Peoples Congress dressed in Army and police uniforms backed by policemen attached to the Government House ransacked and vandalised the APC Secretariat on Ajiloson Street, Ado-Ekiti saying that during the attack, the security guards on duty at the APC office were physically assaulted.
“On January 24, 2015, Adeleke Samsom, a student’s union leader who attended the APC Presidential rally in Ado-Ekiti with his colleagues was violently attacked by Fayose’s thugs. He sustained life threatening injuries on his head,” he said.
Angwe, however warned that the petitioner must be ready to face the consequences if its allegations turned out to be false assuring that nobody found wanting in the allegations would be spared if the allegations were true.
He also restated the resolve of the commission to bring the promoters of violence and hate speech during and after the 2015 general elections in the country to book. “The National Human Rights Commission is home for all Nigerians irrespective of religion, ethnicity and political affiliation. I want to commend you for taking this cause of action and not to take the laws into your hands. Your allegations are against a sitting Governor which has consequences, because if they are false, they portend serious consequences, and if they are true they still have consequences. We at the commission are saddened by these allegations, we are determined to ensure that people get remedy whenever their rights are abused. It will be sad if the allegations are proven against an Executive Governor who has sworn to an oath to protect lives and properties. Africa should move away from the days of President Idi Amin of Uganda where people’s rights are trampled upon with impunity. Nigeria has empowered the Commission to ensure that impunity is stamped out, by this singular act of empowering the Commission to do its job; we are committed to ensure that the culture of impunity is a thing of the past. We would ensure that the allegations are thoroughly investigated and ensure that appropriate sanctions are meted out to anybody found culpable no matter how highly placed. This Commission has the mandate to investigate and prosecute any person found to have violated the rights of others. The Commission has established a mass atrocities unit to prosecute all those found guilty of rights abuses during and after the elections, the Commission will obtain the necessary fiat to ensure the prosecution of all those that will be found culpable of electoral fraud and violence,” he said.