The Police and the Nigerian Army on Friday asked the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to strike out their names from the petition filed before it by the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The two security agencies also denied the allegations of being used by the PDP and the Presidency to intimidate voters and members of the opposition parties in favour of PDP’s candidate in the June 21 polls, Ayo Fayose.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, and Chief of Army Staff, COAS, through their counsel, told the tribunal that their officers were in Ekiti to perform their constitutional duties of protecting lives and property of Nigerian citizens.
The counsel said that the presence of the security agencies was contrary to the insinuation by the APC that they were drafted to the state to rig in favour of the PDP.
The two defendants were listed as 4th and 5th respondents in the APC petition before the tribunal.
They urged the tribunal to strike out the entire petition, describing it as “empty and lacking in substance”.
The counsel to the COAS, Abayomi Sadiku, told the tribunal that officers of the Nigerian army were not in the state on their own.
He said that the power to draft soldiers to maintain peace in critical circumstances solely resides in the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief.
He said the deployment of the troops actually gave rise to the peaceful conduct of the poll as hoodlums and party thugs were unable to perpetrate their acts.
The army, therefore, asked the court to strike out its name from the petition, since it is not a member of any political party, for lack of jurisdiction.
On his part, the IGP prayed the tribunal through police counsel, Olusola Oke and Femi Falade, to disregard the APC petition linking the force to its failure at the poll as frivolous and diversionary.
The IGP in a 15-page affidavit tendered before the tribunal, said the force acted on the orders of the President to deploy its personnel to provide security to the state to avoid bloodshed among contending parties.
He denied allegations that the deployment was used to clamp down on APC members or harass its leaders.
Besides, the IGP said there was no complaint from any quarter about acts of intimidation as raised by the APC.
He expressed regret that no party raised eyebrow about the issue of adequate security until after the APC lost the election.