Members of the House of Representatives have condemned what they described as unwarranted attack and assault on the governor and people of Ekiti State by the police.
In a motion brought a a matter of urgent national importance by Tajudeen Yusuf (Kogi, PDP), the lawmakers described the alleged assault as repressive, uncivil and unconstitutional.
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 a venue of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rally, close to the Ekiti Government House Wednesday morning.
Videos of the incident showed the police using tear gas to disperse the PDP supporters, including the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, who was also affected by the police action.
Presenting the motion, Mr. Yusuf said Nigeria is a democratic state and the complete take over and barricade of Ekiti Government House and violent assault on harmless civilians do not fall within the contemplation of the general duties of the police.
He said the Ekiti incident portrays great danger ahead especially with the 2019 general elections around the corner.
“The above state of affairs playing out in Ekiti clearly portends great danger for us all, particularly in view of the 2019 general election and the heightened insecurity in the country.”
“The said action of the police is clearly an illegality and constitutional breach which must not happen or continue in a constitutional democracy.”
Contributing to the debate, Kingsley Chinda (Rivers, PDP), said there is freedom of association and movement in the Nigerian law and the electoral act says campaign can continue until 24 hours before election.
“The governor told us his side of the story, the police also did.
“The story is so clear that the governor led people without the permission of the police. It is indeed a sorry state.”
Another lawmaker, Sunday Karimi (Kogi, PDP) accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to rig the election.
“What we are witnessing in Ekiti is an attempt by APC to force their candidate on the people. It won’t work,” he said.
“Ekiti people must be allowed to choose who they want as governor under free, fair, credible and transparent election.”
Ali Isa (Gombe, PDP) stressed the importance for the lawmakers to concentrate on national issues rather than pursuing personal and political interests.
“We should speak for Nigeria and not our interest, even if it will affect our personal interest.”
On a contrary view, Aminu Fagge (Kano, APC) advised members of the opposition party to advise themselves first.
He said the PDP was having a taste of its own cake.
“The scenes reminded me of Ekiti in 2014,” Mr Fagge said.
“The governor of Ekiti is a nollywood player, everything that the governor said did not happen.”
The House after adopting the motion resolved that there was the need by politicians for permit or consent of the police or any other agency to campaign during the period permitted for campaigns by relevant laws.
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to cause men of the Nigeria Police and other security forces to render an apology to Nigerians and be civil in their actions to all citizens.