- Party alleges police complicity, suspends rallies
- Akeredolu denies involvement
- Iâ€™m recuperating, not in coma, says Bamidele
Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Police Command has arrested a politician (names withheld) who brought the policeman that fired the shot at the rally organised by All Progressives Congress (APC) for Dr. Kayode Fayemi on Friday.
Bamidele and five others were shot at the APC Secretariat located at Ajilosun area of Ado Ekiti during a welcome rally organised for Fayemi, the APC candidate for the Ekiti governorship poll billed for July 14.
Bamidele, who was shot in the stomach, and those that were hit are currently receiving medical treatments in the hospital.
In a statement issued by the State Public Relations Officer, Caleb Ikechukwu in Ado Ekiti saturday, the Police admitted that the policeman accidentally shot Hon Opeyemi Bamidele and five others at the rally.
Ikechukwu however refused to mention the name of the politician in their custody. The police spokesman also claimed that only two persons were shot contrary to the APCâ€™s position that six victims were involved.
The PPRO said: â€œThe policeman is attached to 20 PMF, Ikeja, Lagos State where he was posted on bank guard duties somewhere in Ikeja. The policeman came on illegal duty to Ekiti State.
â€œA politician, who conspired and removed the said policeman from where he was posted by his squadron Commander and came to Ado-Ekiti with him for an unofficial reason, has also been arrested.â€
Ikechukwu said the victims of the policemenâ€™s accidental discharge are currently responding to treatment at the hospital, while the injured officer is equally responding to treatment in protective custody.
Meanwhile, governor Akeredolu of Ondo State has denied having anything to do with the shooting at the APC rally in Ekiti on Friday; while responding to allegations made by the campaign organisation of the Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party, Kolapo Olusola, linking him with the shooting which left five people injured with bullet wounds.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ajiboye, said none of his security aides fired a shot at the scene as being alleged. The statement said the allegations by the PDP campaign were malicious, as the governor was only in Ekiti to give support to Fayemi. â€œGovernor Akeredolu knew nothing about the identity of the suspect. It is nothing but a wicked lie from the pit of hell,â€ the statement said.
â€œGovernor Akeredolu was in Ekiti State to show support for the APC and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and none of the governorâ€™s security detail fired a single shot throughout the rally in Ekiti.
â€œMeanwhile, the Ekiti State Police PPRO, Caleb Ikechukwu, has disclosed that the policeman who handled the rifle was hired from Lagos. We hope this will put to rest dangerous allegation.â€
The PDP campaign organisation had earlier claimed that Akeredolu was mobilising thugs and funds to Ekiti State to help win the election for Fayemi.
The statement denied that allegations that the governor was earmarking funds for the Ekiti election.
In a related development, the Ekiti State chapter of the APC saturday blamed the shooting of five of its members, including Bamidele at the rally organised for Fayemi, on security lapses.
The party has also suspended electioneering campaign until the security agencies are able to guarantee their safety as they proceed to the July 14 election.
The party, through its State Chairman, Chief Jide Awe alleged that the police were complicit in many ways, including allowing a policeman from another state to provide security at the campaign rally.
Awe also blamed the police for granting Governor Ayodele Fayose permission to hold a separate rally with commercial motorcyclists after permitting APC to hold its rally that day, describing this as capable of igniting crisis in the state.
Briefing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, Awe insisted that the attack was a well-contrived assassination attempt on its candidate and on the hierarchy of the party. He stated that the party was not convinced by the claim of the police that it was a case of accidental discharge.
He said: â€œWe raise serious doubt over police investigation claiming that it was a case of accidental discharge.
â€œThe police must convince us that the policeman who fired the shot is not fake. They claimed that he came from MOPOL 20 in Lagos; what was a policeman from Lagos doing in our rally? What was his mission and who was his principal?â€, Awe asked.
He added: â€œWe are still maintaining our stand that it was an assassination plot on our candidate, because the shooting came from a close range to where Dr. Fayemi was.
â€œThe police must get to the root of where this emanated from. Lives were involved and our people were hit, so we canâ€™t fold our arms and be watching.
â€œThat is why we are suspending our rallies pending the time the police is able to convince us that they are going to be strict with permissions for campaigns. We donâ€™t want PDP to hide under any clash campaign to unleash terror on our peopleâ€, he said.
On the partyâ€™s claim that the state government was also complicit, Awe maintained that; â€œwe have not indicted the government, but the manner at which Governor Fayose conducted himself gave room for suspicion.
â€œBefore the incident, Governor Fayose told Okada riders and the people of Ikere Ekiti not to welcome Dr. Fayemi to Ekiti. When the incident occurred, the state government was the first to issue press statement reading meanings to the shooting. What was their concern about shooting in APCâ€™s rally?
â€œAll these issues prompted us to say that the PDP government was involved. Let me also clarify that we are not working at cross purposes with the police, but our approaches may be different.
â€œOur claim was that the man who fired the shot was a fake policeman and a paid agent with a mission to kill our governorship candidate and the police said he was from MOPOL 20 but on illegal duty in Ekiti. So, what the police need now is to convince us about the veracity of their claimâ€, he said.
Meanwhile, Hon. Bamidele, has dispelled the insinuation that he had been in coma since Friday evening when he was hit by bullets at the APC rally in Ado Ekiti.
In a statement issued by his Media Aide, Ahmed Salami on Saturday, Bamidele said though he immediately fell and passed out due to the trauma he suffered when the bullets suddenly pierced his stomach.
Bamidele, who appreciated his supporters and APC members across the state, said he had since regained consciousness even before leaving the venue of the rally and being hurriedly taken to the hospital.
â€œThe way I fell in the full glare of the crowd and party supporters fueled the insinuation that I am still in coma. Let me assure our supporters in Ekiti and other concerned Nigerians that I am not in coma. I have regained consciousness and fast recuperating due to prompt and intensive medical treatments I received thereafter.
â€œI have passed through major surgeries and the bullets have been removed from my stomach. I want our supporters to be calm and be law abiding. The situation is under control.
â€œI want to appreciate our people for the outpouring of affections since the incident occurred and this underscored the strong bond of unity among the APC members and Ekiti people in general.
â€œI want to say the shooting was very unfortunate and unwarranted in view of the decorous and peaceful ways our people comported themselves from Akure, Ondo State capital via Ikere and to Ado Ekiti.
â€œI charge the police authorities to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the shooting and bring whoever that was complicit to justice for a country that has respect for the sanctity of human lives to be attainableâ€, he said.
Bamidele specially appreciated Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State, Dr. Fayemi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Ayo Arise and other party bigwigs for the quick responses in saving his life and that of other victims.