Police Arrest Kwara Senator over Campaign Violence


*CNPP condemns police action

By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Senator representing Kwara South, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, has been arrested by the Police in Kwara State.

Diisclosing this on Friday, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) in the state condemned the arrest of the senator who is also the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Kwara south in Saturday’s election.

CNPP wondered why Ibrahim was arrested , allegedly on the order of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, few hours to the presidential and national assembly polls.

The group however described the development as uncalled for, unlawful and undemocratic.

Senator Ibrahim is the senator representing Kwara south senatorial district of the state at the national assembly and Chairman, senate committee on Banking, Finance and other financial institutions.

Senator Ibrahim was arrested on Thursday in connection with Tuesday’s violence in his hometown, Ojoku, Oyun local government area of the state where the APC senatorial candidate, Mr. Lola Ashiru, had gone to campaign in the night. The campaign was marred by violence.

He had since denied any involvement in the mayhem, saying” how can I be involved in the attack against my own people.” Senator Ibrahim hails from Ojoku.

However, addressing a press conference, with international election observers in attendance in Ilorin on Friday, the chairman of the CNPP in the state, Alhaji Adebayo Lawal, said that the federal lawmaker arrest was part of plot to scuttle the electoral process in Kwara state and subvert the will of the people.

He called on the international community to intervene and not only ensure the release of Senator Ibrahim, but guide against unlawful arrest of opposition figures in the state.

Adebayo added:”Barely 24 hours to the Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, officers of the Nigerian Police Force, who were visibly acting on the orders of the presidency, forcefully arrested and detained Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the senator representing Kwara South senatorial district, and the candidate of the PDP for the election. Up till this moment, Senator Rafiu, who is a major contender for Kwara South senatorial district election like our other candidates, is yet to be released.

He said, “Similarly, in the past few days, more than 20 members of different opposition parties in the State have been indiscriminately arrested by security agencies and taken to unknown destinations up to the time of making this release.

” This is a repeat of what happened during last year’s bye-election in Irepodun/Oke-Ero/Isin/Ekiti Federal Constituency, where top members of the PDP and opposition Parties were unlawfully arrested on the eve of the election.

“We have received information that the high hierarchy of the Police has ordered that Senator Rafiu Ibrahim must not be released, which is a deliberate ploy to keep him out of circulation before and during the elections”.

Adebayo added, “This is unacceptable, unlawful, undemocratic and a primitive show of power by a party that is well-known for abuse of power, federal institutions and flouting of court orders with impunity. The desperation of the APC to win elections at all costs portends great danger for our nascent democracy.

“It is unfortunate that a serving lawmaker who is loved by his people for his sterling performance in the Senate can be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment on the unsubstantiated accusation from the APC.

” If the peace-loving Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is clamped upon in this manner, our other Candidates are also prone to such flagrant abuse of power. There is no feasible evidence to show that the detained Senator had any connection with the Tuesday’s political attack in Ojoku, which happens to be his hometown. We are not saying the Security Agents should not do their jobs, but to choose the eve of the general election to detain a strong contender is portraying the security agencies as being partisan to the clear advantage of the Candidate of the APC”.

He stressed that, “To assume that the lawmaker could have engineered violence against his own town and people is in the least untenable. Attempts to link him to the fracas are political and unfortunate.”

Police have yet to issue statement on the arrest at the time of writing this report.