The people of Okun in the five out of the seven local government areas in Kogi West senatorial district of Kogi State, under the aegis of Okun Development Association (ODA), have accused law enforcement agencies of going beyond the bounds of the universally accepted minimum standards in their face-off with Senator Dino Melaye.
The association, which has also attributed the current face-off between Melaye and security agents to political differences between experienced stakeholders in the same political party, accused the security agencies of lack of respect for the dignity and person of Melaye.
The Yoruba-speaking Okun people, who also constitute a sizeable population of the remaining two local governments in Kogi West, also noted that the security agents ignored the provision of the constitution, which stipulates that government must not deploy extrajudicial and extra-legal methods in dealing with suspects.
They accused security agencies of violating Melayeâ€™s fundamental rights, in flagrant abuse of the 1999 Constitution.
President of ODA, Mr. Femi Mokikan, said in a statement yesterday that the constitutional provisions that presumes that an accused is innocent until he is found guilty, has also been violated in Melaye case.
Mokikan stated that the Okun people have justifiable reasons to be apprehensive at the recent ugly dimension that Melayeâ€™s encounter with the law enforcement agencies has assumed.
He said Okun people acknowledged and conceded that it is within the purview and prerogative of the government to maintain law and order.
Mokikan added that in doing this, the government must respect the dignity and person of her citizens, in addition to protecting their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
While noting that meaningful development initiatives that can improve the quality of the living standard of the people can only take place in an atmosphere devoid of crisis and violence, the ODA president argued that the people of Kogi State would benefit more from peaceful settlement of political differences than through any other means.
According to him, the face-off between Melaye and security agents is traceable to political differences between experienced stakeholders that were leading lights to their teeming supporters from the same political association
He appealed to security agents that were assigned the responsibility of Melaye challenge, to discharge this responsibility with due respect to the laws of the land, respect his fundamental rights and protect his dignity.
â€œThe Okun Development Association equally appeals to all peace loving citizens of goodwill in this country who are in a position to do so to step in and assist in the resolution of the problem and demand that the security and safety of Melaye be guaranteed in and out of custody. The ODA appeals particularly to the APC as the ruling party that produced all the contending stakeholders, to come out and see to the peaceful resolution of the crisis within its fold to fortify it further for the challenges ahead. The Okun Development Association is using the medium to appeal to all Okun sons and daughters to intensify their prayers and whatever else is legitimate within their capability for a quick, peaceful and fruitful resolution of this crisis and pray for the preservation of the life and health of Melaye.
Finally, Okun Development Association as a body will continue the on-going behind the scene efforts, and we are, in addition, ready to take on any additional role that can lead to a peaceful resolution of the matter at hand.