The face-off between Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, assumed a new dimension on Friday, as Saraki has accused the police boss of compromising his security.
The Senate President who said the police chief should be held responsible if anything happens to him, raised the alarm that APC supporters unleashed violence on PDP members in his home state of Kwara State.
Addressing a press conference on Friday at the PDP Presidential Campaign Office in Abuja, Saraki who doubles as Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, accused APC supporters of going to his family quarters in Agbaji, Illorin, vandalizing houses, shops and inflicting injuries on people.
While disclosing that reports had been filed before the police, he expressed doubts if anything tangible would come out of the investigation.
Saraki’s address comes on a day masked persons suspected to be policemen reportedly stormed the Police Clinic in Garki, Abuja, whisking away Saraki’s loyalist and senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye.
He was believed to have been taken to Lokoja, Kogi State, for interrogation over the alleged shooting of one Sgt. Danjuma Aliu by suspected political thugs.
Speaking at the press conference, Saraki 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 (Thursday), 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 meeetings, they disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded by mentioning our own slogan, they fired gun shots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta. They also inflicted matchete 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 vandalized houses, shops and inflicted wounds with matchete 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 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.
“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”.
The Kwara Central lawmaker also expressed concern that the IGP has posted three different Commissioners of Police to the state in the last six months.
He added: “The previous and current Commissioner of Police in the State got strict instructions from the IGP not to relate or engage with the Senate President. The usual practice has been that the Commissioner of Police personally ensures the security of the Senate President whenever he visits his home state. That was the practice during the period of my predecessor and in my first year in office. We need to make it clear to the entire world that now that ward to ward campaigns 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 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”.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja