Ekiti House of Assembly shut down over alleged police invasion

...Police threatens to arrest journalist

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The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole, on Thursday announced the indefinite shut down of the Assembly.

Oluwawole said at a press conference in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, that the decision followed Wednesday’s invasion of the Assembly complex by “strange policemen.”

Other members of the House at the Press Briefing

According to him, the decision became necessary because two units of heavily armed riot-policemen stormed the premises without official request.

The Speaker accused members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Assembly of being behind the police deployment.

He said the police acted on a letter “forged” by the three APC members using the name of the Assembly Clerk, Mr. Tola Esan and addressed to the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bello Ahmed, calling for deployment.

Oluwawole 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 9:00 p.m., police authority deployed two detachments of heavily armed policemen to the premises of the Assembly. This came to us as a shock because we are in a recess and such action was unwarranted.

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

“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.”

Meanwhile, the House has petitioned the police, demanding investigation into the alleged forgery of the letter purportedly by the Clerk.

The petition read; “I write to call your attention to the alleged forgery of a letter calling for deployment of policemen to the Ekiti State House of Assembly Complex purportedly by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Tola Esan.

“This came to me as a shock since the House of Assembly is officially on recess until the 8th of October, 2018.

“Remember that your good-self did say yesterday that you ordered deployment of armed policemen to the Assembly Complex based on a letter from the Clerk.

“The Clerk informed you on phone that he did not write such letter and went on to write a letter to you, dissociating himself from any letter and describing such letter as forged (See attached).

“Furthermore, the Clerk spoke with pressmen on camera, stating categorically that he did not write any letter to the police, seeking deployment of security men to the House of Assembly complex and that the House is on recess till October 8, 2018.

“With the clear and categorical position of the Clerk, Mr. Tola Esan, dissociating himself from the purported letter, it is clear that the letter you claimed to have received must have been forged.

“We suspect that this forgery must have been done with the involvement of Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan and others for sinister motives.

“Consequently, we demand an immediate investigation into this act of forgery with a view to bringing those involved to book.

“Please note that forgery is a grievous offence punishable under the law, most especially when it was done to mislead law enforcement agencies into carrying out illegal actions as done in this instant case.

“Your immediate action on this complaint is therefore important as that will clear your office from perceived culpability in the illegal deployment of armed policemen to the House as well as the sinister motives behind it.

“Also, as the Speaker of the House, herein the constitutional head of the institution, I wish to reiterate that there is no threat in the House to warrant any deployment of armed policemen and your good offices should always clarify from me before any action is taken concerning the House.”

Reacting, the Ekiti State Police Command  allayed the fear of the people of the state on the alleged deployment of armed policemen to the House of Assembly complex Wednesday night.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Caleb Ikechukwu, said there was nothing wrong with the alleged deployment which he described as a security matter.

Ikechukwu said: “Anytime you see deployment of policemen it is to ensure the safety and security of that place and the people there.”

The police spokesman who spoke in a telephone chat said there was no need for anybody to panic about the deployment of security men in the quest to ensure security of life and property except for those who have some form of crime to hide.

Ikechukwu added: “Anytime you see us doing deployment, it’s for a reason, it is to ensure safety of that place at a given time. That means there must be information which we are working with and that shows how proactive the Nigeria Police Force is.”

On the alleged letter seeking for police deployment, Ikechukwu said: “Are you now meddling into our internal affairs? Anybody that disclosed that information is disclosing secret information and that person should be arrested and prosecuted.”

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