Following the recent political violence that erupted in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, the state Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, yesterday banned political street rallies and processions in the state with immediate effect.
Besides, he said henceforth, only political rallies in designated areas with prior notification to the state police command would be allowed while a joint military task force comprising army, air force, police and civil defence has been set up to monitor various political campaigns and maintain peace across the state.
Ahmed stated this in Ilorin yesterday during a special state-wide radio and television broadcast to the people of the state.
Political thugs of the two main leading political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ilorin last Sunday clashed during a road show rally of the APC.
The development, however, led to the invasion of the homestead of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at Agbaji quarters in Ilorin which led to the vandalisation of over 50 vehicles while 30 people were injured.
On the APC side, one person was reportedly killed, 50 injured and 30 vehicles vandalised.
However, the state governor said: “Those who aspire to political leadership must conduct themselves in a peaceful and lawful manner while prioritising the safety of those they seek to lead.
“As your governor, I assure you that no effort will be spared by my government to protect the lives and property of all law-abiding residents of the state.
“I address you today on account of recent developments that threatened the peace and harmony of our state.”
“As you are aware, political campaigns have commenced ahead of the general election. In keeping with the tradition in our state, these campaigns were expected to be robust and peaceful.
“Unfortunately, what we have witnessed instead is an increasing resort to criminality as a result of heightened political activities with a consequent threat to law and order.”
Ahmed added: “Political parties and their supporters are also charged to campaign and solicit for votes in a lawful manner, and refrain from deploying divisive and inciting rhetoric or instigating violence against real or perceived opponents.
“Thuggery, vandalism, intimidation and other forms of criminality will neither be allowed nor condoned in any part of the state.”
He therefore urged the people of the state to remain calm, saying: “Your security and safety will continue to be protected and guaranteed by the security agencies.”