Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, Ademola Babalola, yesterday, condemned the pre-election violence, which claimed three lives with many injured in Ibadan, urging security agencies to step up security for the electorate and staff of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), during and after the gubernatorial and State Assembly polls today.
This is just as he called for the arrest of the perpetrators of the killings, stating that Oyo State should not be allowed to descend into “war of political thugs” and killing of innocent citizens and residents.
Babalola in a statement made available by the NUJ Secretary, Sola Oladapo, bemoaned the clash between supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday.
He described the development as reprehensible, ungodly and barbaric, which should not have happened at all, if the gladiators had prevailed on their supporters to toe the path of honour and embrace peaceful conducts before, during and after the elections.
While appealing to the gubernatorial candidates in the state to caution their supporters to stop violent attacks and counter attacks, he noted that violence could threaten voters turn out and suppress participation in the election.
According to him, “The senseless attacks and attendant killings of three people in Ile-Titun area of Ibadan South East local government area of the state ought not to have happened at all.
“This development has shown that our people are yet to learn their lessons that no blood of any individual is worth the aspiration of any candidate or their corresponding political party.
“It is a shame and highly reprehensible that despite the peace accord signed by the political parties and their gubernatorial candidates, supporters could still go overboard and engage in supremacy battle to the extent of shedding blood.
“The NUJ views this development as condemnable, ugly, and ungodly. The security agents should ensure perpetrators of this act are brought to justice. Every life matters and culprits of this despicable act should be made to face the music accordingly
“No candidate should be happy that those they plan to govern are being killed because of power tussle. We, in NUJ, think that politicians should allow electorate to decide their fates at the polls without threats of violence or killings”
Babalola also tasked his colleagues-the journalists, to be wary of their “mad rush to break unverified news,” filter and verify sources of their information and carry out diligent investigation before rushing to the press.