Members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday stormed the main entrance of the National Assembly to protest the alleged brutality of the police on the party’s supporters in Ekiti State.
The group, led by the party’s National Chairman, Uche Secondus, said they were there to submit a petition the lawmakers against the police; but were stopped by security officers at the gate.
On Wednesday, armed police officers numbering over 50 cordoned off the entrance to the Ekiti State Government house, restricting movement in and out of the complex.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how dozens of police officers barricaded the venue of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rally, close to the Ekiti Government House on Wednesday morning.
Videos of the incident showed the police using tear gas to disperse the PDP supporters, including the Ekiti governor, Ayodele Fayose, who was also affected by the police action.
Presenting the petition, Mr Secondus made reference to Thursday’s incident in Ekiti, describing it as “a civilian coup.”
He said Ekiti State has been militarised and policed and its citizens are afraid.
“They are traumatised. They are harassed and they are being guided not to come out of their homes,” he said.
He called on international community to see and watch what is happening in Ekiti.
“If this is the type of democracy and election they tend to conduct by the APC and INEC, that means the 2019 election is under threat and we believe that if they continue in this manner and if they rig the election in Ekiti, there won’t be an election in 2019.
“The security agencies cannot be above the law. The executive cannot be above the law. We are aware that INEC has printed result sheet to do replacement by some security agencies. They did it in Edo, they are now ready to do same in Ekiti. Is that the type of democracy?,” he said.
He added that PDP is a peaceful party which believes in the rule of law.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekeweramdu, who was present to receive the petition, commended the protesters for the peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves.
He explained that democracy is about free speech and free expression and pledged that as representatives of the people, the lawmakers will not support anything anti-democratic.
“We have heard you and we will make contacts with all institutions of democracy as it concerns Ekiti state. We will make contacts with INEC, police and security agencies to ensure that they are neutral,” he said.
The Ekiti State gubernatorial election is scheduled to hold on Saturday, July 14, 2018.
The party, led by its national chairman, Uche Secondus, arrived on Thursday to petition the lawmakers against the police; but were, however, stopped by security officers at the gate.
The police explained on Wednesday evening that they dispersed the rally to prevent potential violence between PDP supporters and those of the All Progressives Congress (APC); who the police said also had a rally planned.
The APC, however, told PREMIUM TIMES they had no rally planned for Wednesday.