Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State yesterday described Sunday’s attack on his convoy by a team of mobile policemen as “an attempt to assassinate” him.
He said the police action, which led to the killing of an All Progressives Congress (APC) member, Taiwo Akinola, was disrespectful of his office as the “Chief Security Officer of the state”.
The Commander of Police Mobile Force in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Gabriel Selenkere, allegedly fired the shot that killed Akinola during the symbolic sweeping of roads that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members passed through during their rally weekend.
Fayemi spoke to reporters in Ado-Ekiti before leaving for Abuja to lodge a formal complaint with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, over the conduct of the policemen.
He also spoke to reporters in Abuja after meeting with the police chief.
Fayemi said: “My immediate interpretation of what happened yesterday (Sunday) is that there was an assault on the government and the people of Ekiti State and if one were to be extreme in one’s interpretation, we could go on and say it is an assassination attempt against the governor of Ekiti State.
“That is why I am going to Abuja this morning to see Mr President and the Inspector General of police. I won’t like to jump into conclusions because I have spoken to the relevant people in authority and I believe appropriate steps will be taken”.
The governor explained that democracy needed the support of everyone to thrive, adding “The only way you can protect this democracy is to ensure that the security agencies, the electoral body and all state agencies must ensure that there is level playing field for all players. We don’t want a situation in which unprovoked attacks are levelled against innocent citizens.
“The death of Taiwo Akinola was entirely avoidable. It was an avoidable death. It ought not to have happened at all and I am saddened that this has taken place. It’s very unfortunate. However we must learn lessons from this. It is two weeks to the election so we cannot be back to the era of one day, one blood-letting, in Ekiti State.
“The peace that this state has enjoyed in the last three-and-a-half years must be sustained and I will like to think that all relevant authorities right from Mr. President, who is the chief of the security agencies, will not want the peace reigning in Ekiti State in anyway disturbed.
“We are not particular about any police officer being removed from Ekiti but when you have a situation when a police officer exhibits consistent bias in the discharge of his duty, then clearly the police authority should do the needful.
“In the case of the O.C mobile who was there yesterday, directing his men to tear-gas my convoy, I believe the police authority will take action on that because I don’t want to dwell on an individual. I think it is the structure of the police arrangement itself we should look into”.
Fayemi, who arrived the Louis Edet House Headquarters of the Nigeria Police at 2. 15pm and was granted audience by the IGP almost immediately, protested the assault on his person, members of his executive and APC supporters in Ado Ekiti.
Speaking with reporters after lodging his complaints with the IG, Fayemi said: “I have lodged a complaint with the IG and I believe the IGP will look at it dispassionately. He will investigate and take appropriate action. That is the least I expect.
“I think officers have to be restrained in their conduct. I don’t think any officer is paid by the tax payers to shoot and behave in an irresponsible manner.
“It is just not an assault on the collective cause that we have to deepen this democracy; it is also a denigration of the institution the officer represents. I do not believe the OC MOPOL ought to have behaved the way he did. He wasn’t professional.
“It was a peaceful rally; it was a traditional thing APC does. Anytime there is a rally by the PDP, we come out the next day and sweep. That is our tradition, it’s a very innocuous, harmless thing, you could see them just sweeping. They are sweeping off whatever dirt remains.
“The IGP was courteous enough to receive me and to also ask me to please expect him to act on the matter. That is the least one could expect from him. He is not going to take any precipitate measures until he has found out what exactly transpired.
“If a governor is not protected, then ordinary citizens should not even expect the police to act in their interest”.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Integration and Inter-government Affairs, Mr. Funminiyi Afuye, who was assaulted by policemen and driven away from the scene on Sunday, has been transferred to Zone 8 Headquarters in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, it was learnt.
His offence was not known and effort to get Ekiti police spokesman, Victor Babayemi’s reaction, was unsuccessful yesterday.