By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday raised the alarm that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, is after his life and that of his family, saying Idris should be held responsible if anything happened to him or his family.
The Senate President made the allegations at a press conference in Abuja, where he cited an attack on his family quarters and also noted that IGP had posted three different Commissioners of Police to Kwara State in the last six months.
But in a swift reaction, the Force Public Relations Officer, Detuty Commissioner of Police, Jimoh Moshood, described Saraki’s allegations as unfounded.
Saraki lamented that the police had continued to show undisguised hostility towards him and his supporters in Kwara State, noting that the latest round of violence in the state was part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine his personal security and that of his immediate and larger family.
He said the previous and current Commissioner of Police in the state got strict instructions from the IGP not to relate or engage with him.
Saraki stressed that the usual practice was for the Commissioner of Police to personally ensure the security of the Senate President, whenever he visited his home state, saying it was the practice during the period of his predecessor and during his first year in office.
The Senate President said: “I called you today to bring to your attention the sad development in my home state, Kwara State, and the role of the security agencies in giving cover to people who are unleashing violence on our people because they are surprised and cannot understand how and why the people continue to give massive and overwhelming support to the PDP across the state.
“Three incidents will illustrate what I am saying to you. Yesterday (Thursday) after the All Progressive Congress (APC) concluded their campaigns in Ilorin, some of their supporters and thugs moved around town and into areas like Adewole/Adeta, Ile Otan and Ubandawaki/Pakata, where they saw our people gathered holding their weekly ward meetings, they disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded with our own slogan, they fired gun shots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta.
“They also inflicted machete cuts on some of them. As a result of this attack, two people suffered bullet wounds. Also Yesterday, these same APC thugs shielded by policemen, went to my family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin, and vandalised houses, shops and inflicted wounds with machetes on three people.
“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care, as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people.
“For me, personally, I believe the decision to attack people and property in my family ancestral compound is a direct affront and attack on my person. And whatever signal these APC elements with support from the police believe they are sending is definitely sinister, uncivilized and unfortunate.”
Saraki said that while his people have filed reports of the incidents in relevant police stations in Ilorin, he expressed doubts that anything tangible and constructive would come out of these reports.
He stated: “The same Police under the directive of IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, yesterday commenced the transfer of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) out of Kwara State. While the police are free to take decisions on the deployment of their personnel, we found the postings in Kwara State strange and more than a mere coincidence.
“We need to make it clear to the entire world that now that ward to ward campaigns is about to begin in the state and I am set to participate in that grassroots campaign as I have always done, nobody is sure what instructions Mr. Idris has given to the police command in the state.
“Thus, the entire world should hold the IGP responsible if anything untoward happens to members of my family and myself.”
The Senate President recalled that the same IGP had tried several tricks to implicate him in some criminal charges.
Saraki added: “First, he arrested some cultists and was about to compel them to claim they worked for me. We exposed the trick early enough and the media also pointed out holes in his story. He quickly withdrew that.
“Later, he went on to the Offa robbery case and politicised the investigation in order to rope me. In the process of forcing suspects to implicate me, the principal suspect died in their custody. He has also not succeeded with that plot.
“Who knows what else he may have planned? Now that full campaign is on, which requires my going round, I want the world to hold him personally responsible if anything happens to me.”
Saraki said it was important for Nigerians and members of the international community to note that this police boss does not believe his job is to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious and cultural belief. He emphasised that a situation where political thugs and operatives attack opponents of the All Progressive Congress (APC) under the watch and protection of law enforcement agents does not present Nigeria well in the comity of nations.
The police spokesman in his statement last night said that all the Police personnel attached to the person of the Senate President, his office and family were intact and that all the statutory security protection on the person of the Senate President were also accorded him all the time, “and there was no complaint from the Senate President before now to the Police on this.”
DCP Moshood added: “The Nigeria Police Force wishes to categorically state that all the allegations in the statement of the Senate President are incorrect, misleading and false and should be disregarded and discountenanced by the general Public.
“The Nigeria Police Force did not give any protection to any political thug or shield any APC thug to go to family quarters of the Senate President in Agbaji, Ilorin and vandalize houses, shops and inflict wounds with machete on three (3) people as claimed by the Senate President. The Police did not receive any complaint or report of gunshot and wounding as claimed by the Senate President in other areas he mentioned such as Adewole/Adeta, Ile-otan and ubandawaki/pakata.”