Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Five persons were reportedly killed in Lafiaji in Edu local government council of Kwara state weekend following the crisis that ensued between some irate youths of the town and the senator representing Kwara North senatorial district at the National Assembly, Senator Shaaba Lafiaji, over his alleged poor representation at the national assembly.
During the crisis, the residential building of Senator Lafiaji was reportedly burnt in the town while about seven persons were seriously injured.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state which confirmed the incident, told journalists in Ilorin yesterday that the incident happened when the senator was coming home on Friday night to participate in the local government council elections.
The state Public Relations Officer of the corps, Mr. Kunle Bilesanmi confirmed the death of three persons and the burning of the house of Lafiaji.
Irate youths of the town, according to THISDAY investigations, were said to be protesting against the alleged poor representation of Senator Lafiaji who happens to come from the town.
It was gathered that the youths of the town had written a lot of letters to Lafiaji on the need to do the culvert leading to the town but they were said to have been ignored by him.
Sources said the youths who got the information that the senator was coming home for the local council elections in the town decided to mobilise themselves to the entrance of the town in order to prevent him from entering the town.
The sources added that when the senator got to the main entrance of the town, the irate youths were said to have laid ambush for him and asked him to go back.
It was at this point that Lafiaji called the divisional police officer (DPO) of the local government who was said to have moved to the scene of the standoff, but all efforts to pacify the irate youths were said to have been in vain as they insisted that the senator should not enter the town.
However, the melee, according to sources, was said to have degenerated, which led to the security agents who followed the Senator to start shooting up in order to scare the youths, and the bullets were said to have hit five persons, who were said to have died immediately.
The development further made the remaining angry youths to mobilise other members and they allegedly burnt down the house of the senator.
As a result, palpable tension has enveloped the town as mobile policemen have been deployed to the town to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, voters trooped out enmasse yesterday to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in the local government council elections in Kwara state, which were conducted peacefully.
Residents conducted themselves in an orderly manner and complied with the no -movement order, while the election was also held under a peaceful atmosphere.
A visit by THISDAY to some of the polling centres in Ilorin metropolis showed large number of voters who came out to cast their votes without any hindrance.
At Ilorin East, Ilorin West, Ilorin South, Asa and Moro local government councils of the state, residents were seen in large numbers where they lined up to vote for the candidates of their choice.
According to reports from the Kwara South senatorial district of the state that comprise seven local government councils of Oyun, Offa, Isin, Irepodun, Ekiti, Ifelodun and Oke- Ero, voters were said to be out as early as 9 a.m. so as to enable them cast their votes.
Though voting materials arrived late to some polling centres in Ilorin metropolis, voting commenced as soon as such materials arrived. THISDAY gathered that the election results are expected to start rolling in by evening (yesterday).
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed cast his vote at Aponbiepo polling centre, Share in Ifelodun local government area of the state.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki voted at Opobiyi, Agbaji polling centre in Ilorin West local government area of the state while an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje voted at a polling centre in Baboko in Ilorin West local council.
The Speaker of the state house of assembly, Hon. Ali Ahmad cast his vote at his Balogun Fulani ward 3, and expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the poll.
The National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, who also voted at his Ubadanwaki ward, commended the state independent electoral body for providing a level playing ground for the election.
However, Saraki expressed satisfaction with the large turnout of voters for the election. He was particularly impressed by the peaceful atmosphere under which the election was conducted.
The Senate President thanked the people of the state for their orderliness; and for maintaining peace, before and during the poll. He expressed confidence that APC would emerge victorious in the council poll and assured the people of the state that the incoming council chairmen would strive to meet their expectations.
Baraje also lauded the peaceful conduct of the election. He noted that the initial hitches notwithstanding, the election went on smoothly with no traces of violence. He also thanked residents of the state for their constant support for the APC, assuring them that the Senate President and Governor Ahmed would continue to facilitate and implement programmes that would further improve their standard of living.