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    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Ekiti 2014: Nigerian Lawyers, Journalists, Clerics Decry Attitude Of Security Officials

    The Ado-Ekiti chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and the Ekiti State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, have condemned the huge presence of security agents ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
    They also condemned the prevention of Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and his Rivers State counterpart from attending the final rally of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday.
    No fewer than 12,000 security personnel, including the police, soldiers and men of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have been deployed in Ekiti State ahead of the governorship election.
    At a joint press conference on Friday in Ado Ekiti, the NUJ and NBA, under the aegis of NBA-NUJ Peace Initiatives, NNPI, on Ekiti Governorship Election condemned the conduct of the law enforcement agents.

    The conference was addressed by the Chairman of the Ado-Ekiti branch of NBA, Joseph Adewunmi, and the chairman of the Ekiti State chapter of NUJ, Laolu Omosilade.
    They claimed that the conduct of the security personnel could provide ground for rigging even though that was not the intention.
    “This is because if electorate are scared of coming out to vote, there will be surplus voting cards which unscrupulous politicians can use to the detriment of one another and more importantly, the credibility of the election,” the unions explained.

    They stated that depriving some state governors from entering Ekiti state to attend Governor Kayode Fayemi’s Thursday rally contradicts Sections 40, 41 (1) and 42 (1) a and b of the constitution which allows right of assembly and association, freedom of movement and freedom from discrimination within Nigeria . They said the denial was capable of unnecessarily heating up the polity.
    The two unions contended that “Nigerians never generally had it so bad,” during the military rule.
    “NNPI loathes to say that the Federal Government of Nigeria by its recent acts, is fast introducing fascism into governance,” they said.

    “Consequently, it may be an understatement that to say that, except Nigerians guard their constitutional rights and freedom jealously, they are having full dictatorial governance on hand.”
    The unions pleaded with President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that there was impartiality in the election.
    “He should therefore refrain from temptation of setting Ekiti State on fire and by extension the Federal Republic of Nigeria (God forbid),” they said.
    In the same vein, the Bishop of Ekiti, Felix Ajakaiye, has described the huge security presence in the state ahead of the election as a “war in a peaceful state.”

    The clergyman, in a statement on Friday, said within the past few days, residents witnessed the influx into the state and that with their presence the atmosphere had become that of war.
    He added that by their utterances, most of the security agents were already poised for war as if there was insurgency in the South West state.
    “Indeed, to have such a huge number of security agents in a peaceful state is an invasion,” Mr. Ajakaiye said.
    “The security agents are prowling round the state, and oftentimes, blaring their siren unnecessarily. Really, seeing the menacingly looking gun carrying Soldiers, Policemen and State Security Service Agents alone is intimidating and it is a show of raw power.

    “The question is, why this ‘massive deployment’ to one State when Nigeria is faced with Boko Haram insurgency? Honestly, I am sad and worried that this is happening at the same time that our over 200 cherished children (girls) from Chibok in Borno State are still with the Boko Haram insurgents since their abduction in their school on Monday, 14 April, 2014.”
    The clergyman said he would love a genuine action of ‘massive deployment’ to bring back the kidnapped children in the war against insurgency, rather than spending lots of Nigeria’s resources to prosecute election in a State.

    According to him, daily, Nigerians are being killed and houses destroyed by the terrorists.
    “A nation that continues to chase the shadow can never develop concretely and meaningfully.”
    He condemned the refusal by the security agencies to allow All Progressives Congress, APC, governors of Edo and Rivers State to attend the party’s final campaign in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, saying it was undemocratic, dictatorial, and a step towards anarchy.
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